Orrin Estebo has consistently said “education opens doors,” and he not only says it he is one who lives it, which is why he is the 2012 Gazette Person of the Year.

Orrin Estebo is not the kind of person who enjoys attention.
What he does enjoy is helping others, and over the years he has demonstrated his willingness to help through so many venues from the local library and hospital to the park.
One of the major beneficiaries of Estebo’s benevolence, however, has been the Redwood Area School District and its foundation and Dollars for Scholars chapter.
“We have been so blessed by Orrin’s gifts,” said Rick Ellingworth, RASD superintendent.
In fact, the gifts presented to the local school district hit a major milestone this past year when Estebo made a $50,000 donation to the school. That gift meant his donations have topped $1 million – all for the benefit of local students.

“I’m blessed to be able to do it,” said Estebo during a recent school board meeting.
At that meeting, two new podiums built by Scott and Joyce Goodyear were presented, with the funds to pay for those pieces of equipment coming from Estebo.
Rather than just cover the cost of the podiums, Estebo presented a donation of $50,000 with the additional funds being added to the Dollars for Scholars Chapter – which was also significantly impacted in its early years by donations from Estebo who is also the namesake of the Orrin S. Estebo chapter in the local school district.
According to Ellingworth, the donations to the school began several years ago when Estebo donated funds in memory of his wife, Nancy, who had passed away. Her passion was education, and those dollars helped to develop the state of the art media centers at Reede Gray and RVMS/HS.
Donations have also helped to erect the sign now located outside of the school and community center, and the school’s performing arts center also bears the Estebo name due to the dollars he has provided to the school.
According to Tami Riley, Redwood Area Education Foundation executive director, his donations have also been used to provide special education tools and resources, gifted and talented programs, non-athletic extra-curricular activities and more than 100 scholarships.
“His generosity has truly made a difference in the lives of the students of the Redwood Area School District,” said Riley.
According to Jennifer Gilk, one of Estebo’s colleagues, he has a real heart for the community, adding his support for things he feels are important is ardent.
“He has always been someone who puts his money where his mouth is,” said Gilk.
Ellingworth said Estebo’s generosity has helped so many students realize their dreams, adding he feels blessed to be a witness to one who is so giving.
“Orrin has always been about substance,” said Ellingworth, add-ing he doesn’t just give for the sake of giving but makes sure what he is investing in as part of the community is something that is truly going to benefit its recipients.
“In my opinion when you think of Redwood Falls you can’t think about much of the community without thinking of Orrin Estebo,” said Ellingworth.
Estebo has consistently said “education opens doors,” and he not only says it he is one who lives it.
It is for these and many other reasons Estebo has been named the 2012 Gazette Person of the Year.