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Gus Kroos honored as Victoria Chamber's Citizen of the Year

By ALLISON MILES
Jan. 26, 2012 at 8:03 p.m.
Updated Jan. 25, 2012 at 7:26 p.m.

Gus Kroos was honored Thursday by the Victoria Chamber of Commerce as Citizen of the Year.

OTHER AWARD WINNERS

In announcing the other awards, Randy Vivian, Victoria Chamber of Commerce president and CEO, had these words to say about the recipients.

Ambassador of the Year: Jean Hahn, with Crossroads Home Health

"As an ambassador, we ask a lot of these folks to take time out of their day to help us in events. This year she has gone over and above whatever we dreamed and expected of her. She has helped us with events, been to ribbon cuttings, groundbreakings and more."

Small Business Partner of the Year: VCS Companies

"They've been in our community more than 25 years and are truly a company that really gives back to the community. We partner with them at events and in different things and they always step up to the plate for the chamber. We're lucky to have them as a member."

Corporate Business Partner of the Year: AEP

"They continually and constantly step up and not only sponsor events, but also do great work for the chamber. They trace their roots back to 1960, with Central Power and Light in Victoria, and a lot of those employees who were there then are still here with AEP."

Volunteer, husband, former grocery man and more, Gus Kroos holds many a title in Victoria. And, on Thursday, he added another to the list: award winner.

Kroos received the Citizen of the Year award at the Victoria Chamber of Commerce's annual banquet.

The recognition came because of the work Kroos put into both his company and the community through the years, said Randy Vivian, the Victoria chamber's president and CEO.

A Dutch native who moved to the United States with his father's military career, Kroos was naturalized and later enlisted in the Navy, Vivian said. He made his way to Texas when he was stationed in Corpus Christi.

Kroos maintained a longtime grocery career, working 35 years with H-E-B, 25 of which he spent as unit director for Victoria's 1505 E. Rio Grande St. store.

That made him the longest unit manager H-E-B has ever had in one location, Vivian said, and earned him a spot in the company hall of fame.

Kroos retired in early 2011.

Michael Greenly has worked with Kroos on and off five times, moving his way up from grocery manager to his current position as unit director.

He described Kroos as a down-to-earth person who offered assistance and support without micromanaging.

"The partners in the store, especially the long-term partners, looked upon him more as a father figure," Greenly said, explaining they could go to him for both work and personal issues. "He was always there to lend an ear and give advice."

Kroos also guided employees and trained them, doing what he could to help them grow to their full potential.

"I'm a perfect example of that," Greenly said.

Kroos also did his part for the community, Vivian added, noting he has coordinated H-E-B's Feast of Sharing since its inception and goes out of his way to help neighbors and friends whenever possible.

"It's our honor to be able to give him some of the accolades definitely due to him," Vivian said. "He doesn't do it because he wants to be known for it. He does it because it's in his heart."

Even after retirement, Kroos, 62, continues to do his part, said Cheryl Kroos, Gus's wife of 40 years.

He told H-E-B he would continue with the Feast of Sharing as long as he was physically able and the company would allow it, she said. He also keeps involved with the Victoria Education Foundation.

"He just enjoys doing what he can for the area," she said. "He really loves Victoria."

As for her, she said she's proud both of the work her husband has done and of his recognition by the chamber.

"I am tickled to death about it," she said. "He works hard. He deserves it."

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