While Stan Dammann has spent a lifetime of drawing attention to himself, many may not even know it is actually him they are meeting on the street — it is not Dammann they have met but Stan the Clown, a character he has developed over the decades to help entertain and bring a smile to people, especially the children.
For Stan Dammann of Lamberton, being the center of attention is nothing new. Then again, maybe it is.
While Dammann has spent a lifetime of drawing attention to himself, many may not even know it is actually him they are meeting on the street.
When he meets a crowd, it is not Stan Dammann they have met but Stan the Clown, a character he has developed over the decades to help entertain and bring a smile to people, especially the children.
It is that life of laughter and joy that was celebrated recently when Dam-mann, a member of the American Legion, Andrew Peterson Post 41, was recognized by his peers with the James Olden-burg Award.
The Minnesota Ameri-can Legion Award recognizes those who have demonstrated a life of service to helping im-prove the lives of children, and those who know Dammann see that exhibited consistently.
Dammann served a little more than two years in the Army Air Force during World War II as an airplane hydraulic mechanic, a motorcycle mech-anic and an MP.
He has been a member of the American Legion for 67 years, and is a lifetime member of the veterans’ organization.
“Throughout that time, Stan has been entertaining, educating and serving children and youth in the Lamberton area and throughout southwestern Minnesota,” stated the nomination application for the award.
Dammann’s service to the community began in 1949 when he started portraying Santa Claus for community events, and he continued to do that until the 80s when he began spending time in Arizona during the winters.
According to Floyd Kumer-ow, who, along with members of Dammann’s immediate family, nominated him for the state award, his service as “Stan the Clown” began in 1952.
It all started that year when the circus came to Lamberton and was in need of another clown, said Kumerow.
Now in his 90s, Dammann continues to ride his bicycle in community parades, such as Sanborn, Tracy, Lamberton, Springfield, Morgan, Windom, Canby and as far away as Glenwood. He even was once in the Department of Minnesota Legion convention parade.
Kumerow talked about Dammann at the Redwood County Council of the Ameri-can Legion Veterans Day program held Nov. 10 at the community center in Wabasso.
Although entertaining children has become a second career for Dammann, he also had a more practical side, as he has been one to help kids fix their broken bicycles for more than six decades.
“In his backyard, he has a double garage and three sheds for fixing and storing many bicycles. He has fixed hundreds of bicycles over the past 60 years – teaching many the trade and also donating them to local children,” stated the award nomination.
Dammann’s impact has not been limited to the region, either, as he has donated bikes to kids as far away as the Catholic Mission in San Lucas Toliman, Guatemala.
Dammann’s education of kids was also connected to his career with the Interstate Power Company, as he often talked to students in area schools about electrical safety.
He also is committed to his community as the caretaker for the Lamberton cemetery, and Kumerow said if anyone has trouble finding a grave they can talk with Dammann. He can point them in the right direction.
He also sets up the crosses in the cemetery for Memorial Day each year.
“I have enjoyed all of it,” said Dammann, after being presented an award from the Second District recognizing his state award. “I believe this was the right thing for me to do.”
Dammann also recognized the role his wife of 65 years, Marcella, played in his community service, adding there was so much he would not have been able to do without the support of his family.