Holtey remembered as youth expo nears

FAIRMONT – As organizers of the Youth Activities Expo prepare for Thursday’s event, their thoughts have turned to Roger Holtey.

Holtey spent years of his life devoted to encouraging local youth. With a unique style of leadership, he brought people together and kept them on task.

Holtey died last month at age 75.

He spent years of his life dedicated to various service organizations focusing on youth in Martin County. Fairmont Police Chief Greg Brolsma said Holtey was a founding member of Healthy Youth, the organization that puts on the expo.

After his retirement as an accounting teacher, Holtey became involved in Kinship, Services for Challenging Youth, Success Academy and Early Risers Kiwanis, whose focus is serving youth. He also was active in Boy Scouts, the Respect Initiative, Kidlink and the 24-Hour Relay Challenge.

Holtey wasn’t interested in the limelight, only in making a difference for students.

“I don’t know too many people who can set so many things in action,” Brolsma said. “When Roger wasn’t able to do it any more, some things didn’t continue.”

What made Holtey so successful in his endeavors was his management ability.

“He was ultimately organized,” said Kinship director Char Kahler. “He would do the things the rest of us [didn’t want to do].”

One of those things was maintaining the policy and procedures for Kinship, where he served as a board member. Julie Grunewald, who works on Healthy Youth, said Holtey could keep people on task and effective in their work.

“Roger had a really subtle way of holding us accountable to deadlines, because he always made his,” she said.

The Youth Activities Expo is a way to put into action one of the goals of Healthy Youth: to connect kids to safe and structured activities. It was an event Holtey always helped with, offering his services for setup, to greet students and to tear down.

This is the event’s seventh year, with 19 vendors signed up. Youth from communities outside of Fairmont are welcome to attend. Local organizations, including Fairmont Soccer Association, CER, Martin County Mentoring, Boy and Girl Scouts, and more will offer information to students.

Those students who register and visit at least eight booths will be registered to win a Kindle Fire HD.

The expo will feature a recital by the elementary orchestra, a book fair, silent auction and pizza fundraiser for Parents and Educators Together, and registration opportunities for various sports and activities.

The expo is 5-7 p.m. Thursday at the Fairmont Elementary School main gym. Admission is free.