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Everyday Heroes: Ely volunteer firefighter ready to help, no matter what

Always looking to provide a helping hand, Ely volunteer firefighter Scott Ladwig changed his career around after gaining full custody of his daughters and now enjoys being an asset at the YMCA of the Greater Cedar Rapids Metropolitan Area. (Submitted photo)
Always looking to provide a helping hand, Ely volunteer firefighter Scott Ladwig changed his career around after gaining full custody of his daughters and now enjoys being an asset at the YMCA of the Greater Cedar Rapids Metropolitan Area. (Submitted photo)

Editor’s note: This is part of an occasional series on Everyday Heroes in Eastern Iowa. They will be honored Nov. 1 at the Everyday Heroes Breakfast Awards Ceremony at the The Hotel at Kirkwood Center, 7225 Kirkwood Blvd. SW, Cedar Rapids. Tickets are available at hooplatix.com.

Scott Ladwig was a workaholic. He has no trouble admitting that. He loved his job at General Mills and embraced his 24/7 schedule.

That changed five years ago.

Ladwig gained full custody of his two daughters, now ages 13 and 10. The new living situation had a learning curve, but Ladwig was certain of one thing: he had to alter his life to provide a stable one for his girls.

Ladwig accepted an offer from General Mills to remain with the company for two years in order to receive his retirement benefits. The deal came with a change of job duties — instead of acting as a project engineer and analyst for the company, he’d be using those skills at a nonprofit entity: the YMCA of the Greater Cedar Rapids Metropolitan Area.

“Growing up as one of five kids raised by a single mom, the YMCA was my stability,” Scott says.

Giving back was always something Scott enjoyed doing. Name a holiday figure and he’s gladly wore the costume to work celebrations. He enjoyed organizing food drives at work and embraced the idea of doing more. It was such a good fit, in fact, Ladwig continues to work for the YMCA despite passing the two-year requirement.

“There’s no job Scott won’t do,” Robert Carlson, president and CEO of the YMCA of the Greater Cedar Rapids Metropolitan Area, wrote in his nomination letter. “Whether it’s helping alongside the various executives at the downtown Y with fundraising and compliance, or assisting with safety issues that may arise, he’s always there to help and protect our staff and members.”

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Ladwig is also a volunteer firefighter for the Ely Fire Department, where he serves as the department’s medical coordinator. Some days he shows up at the YMCA on little to no sleep, depending on what emergency calls he answered the night before, but Ladwig wouldn’t change a thing.

“I’m very humbled by this honor,” Ladwig says. “Being an everyday hero, it’s not what I am. It’s more of my passion for caring for others.”

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