Getting to know the ‘under 40’ professionals in the community
This week features Ben Meyer
BY EILEEN PERSIKE
The Rhinelander advocacy group Forward Rhinelander recently selected 10 individuals from many nominations to represent the “Top 10” under the age of 40. As a way to get to know them, the Star Journal is taking a closer look at one of the 10 each week.
This issue features someone who may be familiar to many in the Northwoods. Ben Meyer is the managing editor and senior reporter at WJFW-TV. He also is president of Rhinelander Partners in Education and serves as a board director for ArtStart and the YMCA of the Northwoods. Ben also volunteers at WXPR radio, the Never Forgotten Honor Flight and plays baritone in the Rhinelander Area Community Band. In his free time, you might hear Ben calling Hodag sports on the radio or see him officiating WIAA basketball; he also enjoys cross country skiing and competing in triathlons.
How would you encourage other young people to get involved in their communities?
I’d encourage young people to get involved by finding their passion, then finding a local outlet for it. Just about every organization in every place is delighted to see new members, new volunteers and new people interested. I’d also encourage people to get in touch with others already heavily involved in the community, and ask for their input on involvement. People love being asked for their opinion!
Who are your mentors?
My primary mentors are my mother and father, who exemplified a life of service through their vocation – a middle school teacher and a conservation biologist. My career doesn’t reflect a life of service, but I hope what I do in the community makes up for part of it. In Rhinelander, I look to people who care deeply about the community – and show it with their actions. People like Leah Van Zile, Dave Havel, Lynn Feldman, Lara Barbour and Jon Koch set a great example for how to play a positive role.
To date, what are you most proud of accomplishing?
I was humbled and honored to be selected by the Rhinelander Area Chamber of Commerce as the 2016 Male Community Volunteer of the Year at age 27 and after just four years in Rhinelander.
What is your favorite thing about Rhinelander?
My favorite thing about Rhinelander is the strong sense of community here. It’s not always the easiest place to live – other areas may be more prosperous and have more forgiving weather, but people in Rhinelander care about each other and take great pride in their city.
If you could change one thing about Rhinelander, what would that be?
If I could change one thing about Rhinelander, it would be its layout and physical setup. Other cities along the Wisconsin River take great advantage of this resource with downtowns on or near the water, long riverwalks, and waterfront restaurants and businesses. Growing up as a mill town has made that a challenge for Rhinelander, but I’d love to see the city seize the unique opportunity of its geographic placement.