Elly Stremsterfer of rural Fairfield has made a mark on the town since moving to the area with her nine years ago.
Stremsterfer is involved in volunteer programs such as Carry On Bags, which provides meals for school children on the weekends and is active in 4-H.
She founded her own club called Four Leaf Clover Kids, and leads another that she started with Kristin Miller called Future Leaders.
Stremsterfer is employed as the youth director at the First United Methodist Church in Fairfield, and she’s a substitute teacher in the Fairfield Community School District.
“Moving here without knowing anybody, the best way to get to know people was through our kids and who they were hanging out with,” Stremsterfer said. “I also wanted to know what type of school system our kids were going into.”
Stremsterfer grew up in central Illinois in a small town called Ashland. When she and her husband Wade were living in the town of Polo, Ill., they noticed the Methodist Church was just a couple of blocks from their house. Though neither of them was raised Methodist, they started attending. They found the people warm and welcoming. Before long Elly was teaching Sunday school and serving on fellowship committees.
The Methodist Church hosts the Carry On Bags program, which Stremsterfer joined in 2015, first serving on its board of directors and for the past two years she’s been in charge of ordering all the food.
Though Elly was not in 4-H herself as a child, she thought it would be a great activity for her daughter Sydney, 9, and son Jackson, 8. The two youngsters raise cattle, goats and pigs to show at the fair.
“I just want to make the world a better place, whether that’s making kids want to come to Sunday school, my substitute teaching room or walking into a Clover Kids meeting,” Stremsterfer said.
— Andy Hallman