Waypoint Bank’s Al Svajgr is recognized by Cozad’s American Red Cross for donating 228 pints of blood

He is a roll-up-your-sleeves kind of guy

At an early age, Al Svajgr learned the Nebraska way of getting the job done: rolling up your sleeves and going to work.

Al also learned that you need to roll up your sleeves to give back to your community. In his case, it also means donating blood to help people in need. Lots of it. In fact, the Cozad American Red Cross Bloodmobile recently recognized Al for donating a record 228 pints over the past 47 years.

Svajgr has been donating regularly since 1957 when he was in high school. That’s when his dad first brought him along to donate blood near Al’s hometown of Fairbury, about three hours southeast of Cozad. From his father, Al learned that there was a need for blood donors. He began paying attention to the essential actions that help to connect people to their communities – or as Al puts it, “The things that help make us who we are.”

Growing up on his family farm, Al was involved early on with 4-H cattle and hog projects. After finishing high school, he graduated from Fairbury Junior College (now Southeast Community College) and then earned his bachelor’s degree in animal science from the University of Nebraska Lincoln. While working on his master’s degree in animal science nutrition at UNL, he became enamored with Cozad’s Judy Smith, and the couple married in 1966.

Al earned his Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky in 1971, then went to work for Continental Grain in Chicago. In 1977, Al and Judy moved to Cozad, where he joined his father-in-law, Juhl Smith in the family’s cattle feeding and ranching business. Juhl bought what is now Waypoint Bank in 1968, and Al has been affiliated with the bank since 1983; he has been the chairman of the family-owned bank’s holding company since 1995. Judy passed in 1997.

While Al shies away from his personal honors – which include being named to the Nebraska Hall of Agricultural Achievement (2019) and the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Hall of Fame – he says, “What is important to me is to give back to the things that helped make me who I am. For example, I honored my parents in Fairbury through a gift to the Diller Community Foundation, made donations to UNL, and I give back in Cozad, including serving on the hospital board for 22 years.”

Donating blood is part of that same personal code of conduct.I donated through my college years and have donated at the Cozad drives for 47 years. It’s kind of my thing. It gives me satisfaction knowing I might save a life.”


Photo courtesy of the Cozad Local

You are leaving WaypointBank.com