Dynamic duo

26 Sep

Kelli Cameron and Steve Servantez are cheerleaders for Iowa State University – and for each other. How they came to meet is a story with many twists and turns.

Kelli (’02 ag education) and Steve (’89 DVM) grew up in different decades and in different states. Kelli is originally from Milton, Wis.; Steve was born and raised in Mason City, Iowa. Steve attended Iowa State in the 1980s for his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine; Kelli was a farm girl who attended Iowa State right around the turn of the new millennium.

Their paths crossed briefly when Kelli decided to attend Iowa State. By this time, Steve was living and working as a veterinarian in southern Wisconsin, and he learned of Kelli’s interest in Iowa State. As an ISU Alumni Ambassador for the area, Steve wrote Kelli a letter and enclosed a check for $100 to help with tuition.

Kelli never forgot this act of kindness from a complete stranger. However, years passed before she and Steve would cross paths again.

In 2010, Kelli had moved back to Wisconsin and was involved in raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

“I was doing a fundraiser in Milton, Wisconsin,” Kelli says. “We were doing haircuts for $20 a person. Steve and his wife, Julie, were photographing the event.”

Steve continues the story: “Kelli came up to me and said, ‘Do you know who I am?’ She had just moved back to the area.”

Even though Steve has been an ISU Alumni Ambassador for 20 years and has written many, many letters to prospective students, he did remember Kelli. “I remember that she thanked me,” he said. “It was so nice for a high school student to do that.”

It didn’t take long for the two to reconnect. Steve supported Kelli’s Leukemia and Lymphoma Society work by writing a check for $1,000.

“He donated his time and also financially to the fundraiser,” Kelli said. “It was really nice to have that support.”

So now that Kelli and Steve are living in the in the same area, they “keep running into each other.” They have many of the same friends and the same interests. They’re both involved in Rotary and see each other every week. Steve is good friends with Kelli’s fiancé, Jon.

When I met with Kelli and Steve in Janesville in early August, they could not stop singing each other’s praises:

“Kelli is community minded,” Steve says. “She’s a fantastic person.”

“I never forgot Steve’s support,” Kelli says.

Steve and Kelli remain closely connected with Iowa State, too. Steve continues to recruit students – especially veterinary students – to go to Iowa State. He and Kelli both talk to parents of college-bound students. Kelli always encourages families to visit the ISU campus.

“Parents have to support kids to go out of state,” Kelli says. “But it’s a different experience that they can’t have anywhere else.”

“I tell parents it’s an investment,” Steve adds.

Kelli and Steve both come back to campus regularly to attend Cyclone football games (when Kelli’s fiancé surprised her with tickets to a game and took her campaniling, she “knew he was a keeper.”) Steve just bought a 1978 Volkswagen bus and plans to drive it to campus for the Homecoming game.

In their professional lives, Steve is a small-animal/exotic-animal veterinarian with Badger Veterinary Hospital in Janesville; Kelli is the director of the Foundation and Alumni Association for Blackhawk Technical College in Janesville.

Janesville – and Iowa State – is lucky to have them.

One Response to “Dynamic duo”

  1. Sherry servantez September 26, 2012 at 2:23 pm #

    That’s why I’m so proud to call Steve my brother, he’s always striving to make a change in someone’s live and keep me focused to do the same. Just one act of kindness goes a long way. Love ya Steve.

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