Jeff Boll knew when he returned to the community he grew up in, he would do whatever he could to make it an even better place to live and work.
The 2003 Sauk Prairie High School graduate left the Sauk Prairie area as many young adults do to attend college and pursue a career. Not long ago, opportunity knocked for the native son to return to his roots and he has been working to fulfill his desire to do whatever he can to keep the Sauk Prairie community strong.
Boll majored in broadcast journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, but his career path took a different turn and he ended up in the finance and insurance industries, following in the footsteps of his father who worked for Modern Woodmen of America.
“I was working in logistics and transportation for a company in Madison,” Boll said. “My dad was looking to retire and was worried about his clients. At the same time his company had a new regional director who began to actively recruit me. I ended up starting at Modern Woodmen in February 2013 and took over my father’s client base.”
Modern Woodmen has a philosophical business model aimed at improving the quality of life for members and the communities they live in, which was a perfect fit for Boll’s burgeoning desire to serve. Now, while still having a hand in Modern Woodmen, Boll works as an account executive with Schwarz Insurance in Prairie du Sac.
To recall all of the things Boll is involved in, he even has to double-check his profile on his LinkedIn social media page.
As a youth, Boll was involved in the Modern Woodmen’s Kids Club, which promotes education through volunteerism.
“Both my parents were very volunteer-oriented,” Boll said. “I think it was just learned behavior from my parents. I tried to stay semi-active in college by doing things like donating blood or other small, easy things I could work into my schedule.”
While in Madison, Boll became a part of the Big brothers, Big Sisters organization, volunteering as a Big Brother and also serving for many years on the board for the group’s largest fundraiser, Bowling for Kids Sake.
As youth, Boll also attended some of the Optimist Club programs and fundraisers his father, Ken, was a part of.
“My dad was an Optimist Club member for years,” Boll said. “I went to a random meeting one morning as Ken’s kid; I knew it was one organization I wanted to be a part of. It went really well.”
Now “Ken’s kid” is president of the Optimist Club. “I guess now I have a formal title,” Boll said. “I’m not just a volunteer anymore.”
Also following in his mother’s footsteps, Boll has helped breathe new life into the Sauk Prairie Relay for Life group. Boll’s mother was an active volunteer and supporter of the Relay, but lost her battle to breast cancer in 2005, said family friend Marsha Miller.
“I’ve known Jeff since the day he was born,” said Miller, who was Boll’s mother’s best friend. “I had been involved in the Relay before but had tapered off with volunteering. Then Jeff got involved and called me, saying the group could use my experience.”
Miller said Boll did a super job, coming up with fresh ideas and called the event a success. “It was his leadership skills,” Miller said. “He is a very open-minded, all-inclusive, very solid, good leader. It was my privilege to see him do so well this past year.”
It’s that type of attitude and leadership that won Boll the Sauk Prairie Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professional of the Year award in 2016.
In addition to time spent between the Optimist Club and Relay for Life, Boll helps out wherever he can, at the Sauk Prairie Food Pantry, 6:8 events like the recent Food Pack event, and through Graceway Church, where he is a member.
“I knew when I moved back, I really wanted to be a part of community that I always felt was special, and make it as good a place as I can,” Boll said. “I just know I always feel better helping others. People get caught up in the idea that they are not suited to serve, but everyone has talents and can hopefully find time to help. The attitude of service is really important.”
Fellow Optimist Club member Ellen Paul said she’s known Boll since he was in middle school and she was the principal there.
“The qualities I saw in him at that young age have just magnified since he’s gotten older,” Paul said. “He’s a very positive person with a great and wacky and sense of humor. Most importantly, he is very giving and has an ability to have and show empathy.”
Boll said serving his community has become a hobby as of late. While he doesn’t have as much time to do things like read for pleasure, Boll said helping out always is worth his time and encourages others to find their own way of giving back.
“It doesn’t have to be a long-term commitment,” Boll said. “It doesn’t even have to be tied to an organization. You can do it on your own. If you see an elderly neighbor having trouble raking and you are physically able, help them out. Those small acts of kindness go a long way.”