Employee profile: Kari Sherman

Kari Sherman

Kari Sherman is a new teller at Grand Rapids State Bank; her first day of employment was December 3, 2013.  While most of us have been hunkering down this winter, bracing ourselves for another onslaught from the “polar vortex” (and we just thought it was a harsh winter), Kari is helping her brother, Nathan Schroeder, prepare for a run at the world-famous Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.  The race, slightly more than 1,100 miles through Alaska’s interior, is run from Anchorage to Nome beginning the first weekend in March and can last anywhere from nine to 16 days.

“I’ve been helping my brother raise money to enter and then compete in the race,” explained Kari.  “It really is an activity that has consumed my dad, brother and our whole extended family.  Nathan had to register for the race in person, attend a musher’s training meeting, and then will drive up there with our dad and the sled dog team.  And this will happen after he runs the Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon on the North Shore.  These three trips, plus the registration fee, plus two weeks of living on the trail, will cost $50,000.  It is quite an adventure!”

Kari grew up in rural south Warba, Minnesota.  (Warba is the original home of the bank that later became Grand Rapids State Bank.)  She lived near Shallow Lake and would spend summers biking to one of her grandparents’ homes to go swimming and “hang out” on Grandma's and Grandpa's pontoon boat.

“I was fortunate to grow up in an area where nearly all of my relatives lived,” said Kari.  “Within three miles of my childhood home lived both sets of grandparents and even great grandparents.  They’re not all alive today, but as I grew up I knew them all really well.  Looking back, I’d have to say my childhood was pretty fun.”

Kari graduated from high school in Grand Rapids and attended Itasca and then Hibbing Community Colleges to become a dental assistant.  She never worked in that occupation, though.  She was married after finishing her coursework, but an unlucky fall three weeks after their wedding in which she broke her tailbone, a lot of plans were put on hold for a while.

“My dad retired from Blandin Paper Company and with some of his retirement nest egg bought an RV campground in Sturgeon Lake,” continued Kari.  “My dad needed the help in the summertime, so my husband and I would work for him in Sturgeon Lake.  We worked long days, but it was fun. In fact, our first child was born in Sturgeon Lake.”

After Erica was born, however, Kari and her husband, Zach, moved back to Grand Rapids.  After her second child was able to be left with day care providers, Kari decided it was time to return to the work world.

“I had experience at Burger King, Wal-Mart and the campground,” Kari said. “My mom’s cousin, Tanya Finken, had been hired here at GRSB, and she was very encouraging of me applying here.  I was delighted for the chance to be interviewed and even happier (and surprised) when I was hired.

“I’m proud to say that I work at a bank and this bank in particular,” Kari added.  “The hours are normal, the wages are decent, and it’s a job that has potential.”

Kari and her children (Erica, 6 1/2, and Kemper, 4) still love to spend as much time as they can during the summer at the Sturgeon Lake camp-ground.   Zach is working full-time at Slumberland and also earning a degree in computer networking.  He is looking forward to finding a job where he can use his computer skills, and they’re looking forward to buying a home in the near future so they can move out of their apartment.

“Our kids are just school-age, and both of us are working hard in hopes to stay here near our families,” said Kari. “We love this area and want to stick around.”

sherman family  new puppies

Kari Sherman's family (clockwise from left), including Kari,  Zach, Erica and Kemper.  Right: new puppies are welcomed by Kemper and Erica.

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