75-calendar year-old Paynesville lady potential customers regional ‘Good Neighbor Club’ all over the world

As coordinator for the “Good Neighbor Club” at Lake Location Bank for approximately three decades, Marthaler has led excursions to Africa, Italy, Cuba, Japan, Germany, Peru, Switzerland, Eire, New Zealand, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Peru, Vietnam, Cambodia — to title just a handful of of the countries she’s frequented while foremost about 100 global excursions.

She’s organized at minimum 70 cruises, which includes trips to the Caribbean, riverboat journeys on the Rhine River in Europe and the Snake and Columbia rivers on the West Coastline.

She’s taken club associates to New York City to see Broadway performs, and to Nashville and Branson to pay attention to place songs.

They’ve witnessed the horses run the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, witnessed the polar bears in Churchill, Manitoba, been to Alaska 9 occasions — and a 10th vacation is in the functions — and toured a lot of other tourist hotspots all throughout the state, which include common excursions to Twins games, nearby casinos and videos and plays shown in Minnesota theaters.


“I’ve been almost everywhere,” she reported. “Except China.”

As she begins her 29th 12 months primary teams of “neighbors” on journeys all over the earth, the 75-calendar year-previous Marthaler is established to maintain that route nicely-trodden.

Despite the fact that COVID canceled most of the excursions she had planned for 2020, Marthaler has excursions in the operates for this year and subsequent yr, and she even has outings penciled in for 2023.

She’ll be 78 by that time.

Marthaler claimed she has no intention of quitting.

“I like what I do,” she claimed. “I like it.”

For the duration of COVID, Marthaler had to function from home for a although, relatively than driving five days a 7 days from her house in Paynesville to the business in Willmar.

She hated remaining absent from individuals, and the hustle of the career, and she became even a lot more established than at any time to hold organizing and leading Great Neighbor Club trips.

“COVID taught me I’m not prepared to retire,” she stated.

“Hopefully my overall health holds out,” claimed Marthaler. “I’m just not completely ready to gradual down.”

As a tiny, relatives-owned financial institution with workplaces in New London, Sunburg and Willmar, Lake Area Lender — originally Farmers Point out Bank — looked for a way to set by itself apart from its opponents, stated Clark Vollan, who took above as financial institution president about 20 years back from his father, Paul Vollan. His father landed on the thought of producing a journey and action club that would reward loyal customers, and provide new clients to the bank.

Vollan stated the Great Neighbor Club aided brand name the financial institution by making associations with prospects, who then made friendships with each individual other by performing entertaining points jointly that ended up arranged by the lender.

Staying a member of the club, which is presently available to persons aged 50 and more than, is open to active Lake Area Lender clients who keep specific fiscal balances, or by shelling out a regular membership rate.

The rewards involve reductions on thoroughly prepared visits all around the region and around the environment, as perfectly as cost-free neighborhood “lunch and learn” activities.

With a continual membership of about 1,900 customers enrolled in the club each yr around the final three many years, Vollan stated the Good Neighbor Club has been effective on quite a few amounts.

But to be obvious, Vollan explained that achievements is all since of Marthaler.

“She’s the energizer bunny,” who “runs laps around” her youthful co-workers at the bank, claimed Vollan.

He mentioned she’s barely property from 1 worldwide excursion and she’s back on the bus or airplane with a team for an additional tour a handful of days afterwards. “She’s acquired a tremendous amount of money of electrical power,” mentioned Vollan. “And she just likes relationships and friendships and being in contact.”

Marthaler experienced been doing the job as a receptionist at the bank for a 12 months when she was asked to just take on the complete-time job of spearheading this new club. At that time she hadn’t traveled much, but she swiftly figured out the ropes of deciding on primary spots, lodging and itineraries.

Marthaler said she does not always program the lowest priced vacation, but makes ordeals that will give the contributors extensive-lasting reminiscences. She claimed most of the members who indication up for the visits are from the New London and Willmar communities and have developed friendships around the many years by getting excursions with the club.

Vollan said Marthaler is an astute negotiator when it will come to obtaining what is greatest for club users, especially when organizing sophisticated excursions, such as the Passion Participate in in Oberammergau, Germany, that only will take spot once each and every 10 decades. She’s using a nearby tour to the future enjoy in 2022.

Of all the visits Marthaler has led, the excursion in 2019 to South Africa was in all probability her favorite. They saw Victoria Falls and went on five big activity drives for “up close and personal” views of lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos and Cape buffalo.

Scoring tickets for “Hamilton” in Minneapolis in 2019 was a sweet offer and she’s having a different group in August. Because she’s manufactured numerous contacts above the decades and has been a responsible tour coordinator, she’s able to get tickets to locations some others could not.

“You have to get on the cellphone and make cellphone phone calls,” she explained. “If you are superior to them, they’re great to you.”

There have been some troubles around the several years, which includes situations when customers of the team turned very seriously unwell through a vacation overseas.

She broke her arm at the time even though main a tour. “But that didn’t sluggish me down,” she mentioned.

At the conclusion of one cruise, a labor dispute with ship stewards resulted in quite a few suitcases getting dumped in the harbor. All but Marthaler’s suitcase have been pulled from the consume. She got teased that her bag was much too significant to be retrieved.

But the largest problem came in 2020.

It was early March and Marthaler was just returning from a Caribbean cruise with a group from the Fantastic Neighbors Club — mostly folks from Kandiyohi County — when COVID-19 became large information and she did not know if their cruise ship would be permitted back into port.

“It was sort of frightening,” she said. “I was praying.”

She obtained all people household safely and securely and “a week later every little thing was shut down,” she reported. “We have not accomplished anything at all considering that March.”

After that, Marthaler expended a great deal of 2020 canceling outings and returning deposits — and then rescheduling visits and gathering new deposits for excursions for the following few many years.

But as journey constraints little by little elevate and far more people get vaccinated, Marthaler reported she’s hopeful the trips planned for this 12 months will transpire, which include a vacation to Yellowstone Park in June and a riverboat cruise in July on the Snake and Columbia rivers. Participants need to show they’ve been vaccinated for COVID to go on the river cruise, she claimed.

The excursions, which are ordinarily confined to 30 to 40 people, generally entice people 60 and more mature.

Vollan stated it’ll be appealing to see if journey teams like the Fantastic Neighbor Club will charm to the subsequent era of customers.

And if Marthaler at any time does make a decision to retire, Vollan explained the lender may have to assess how the club evolves and who could fill Marthaler’s sneakers in the long run. “The bar has been set quite large,” he mentioned.

Coming function:

A journey show will be held at 10 a.m. Could 20 at Lake Location Bank in Willmar that includes particulars about the Nashville State Xmas trip and a Fantastic Lakes river cruise scheduled for this year and a vacation to Hawaii planned for 2022. Reservations for the travel show are encouraged as room is restricted. Contact 320-214-3009.