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When asked to describe Roger and Kay Strand, friends and acquaintances use words ranging from modest, gracious and generous to dedicated, smart and welcoming. The list is long, but it barely begins to hint at the fuller picture of the Willmar couple and their lives of accomplishment and service to the greater Kandiyohi County community.
The Strands local roots run deep, beginning when young Roger eagerly awaited the end of each school year, when the family could depart Minneapolis for their cabin on Green Lake in Spicer, MN. Those formative days would be spent hunting and fishing and exploring the surrounding woods, helping build Roger’s abiding love for and dedication to preserving the natural world.
It was during medical school that he met and later married Kay, a junior high social studies teacher. They moved to Willmar in 1969, where they raised a family and Roger served the community at Willmar Clinic and Lakeland Medical Center for 22 years.
In 1991, the couple “retired” to Stoney Ridge Farm, which includes the original family cabin at Stoney Lake, and which has now grown to 400 acres of woods, sloughs and small lakes. “We love this land,” says Roger. “And we would like to see it loved by others as the years go by.”
As practical expression of that love and commitment, the Strands have donated a permanent conservation easement on the land to the Minnesota Land Trust, meaning it can never be developed by future owners. The land can be used for conservation projects, wildlife preservation, and hunting. The landmark event on the property is Prairie Pothole Day, held each September.
Roger and Kay Strand, through Prairie Pothole Day and more, provide a living legacy of support to the greater Kandiyohi County community.
The Willmar Area Community Foundation recognized the Strands with 2012 Award in Philanthropy.