“The Hertzog Legacy: when people talk about my family, you talk about people that build quality relationships, who care about other people and who want other people to succeed” Lee’s Summit West Principal Chad Hertzog said.
Whenever a big change in administration happens, it turns heads and raises predisposed thoughts. However, rest assured, the Hertzog family has been a part of this community before most people in this school were even born. Even originating specifically in what is now the Longview Farm area.
The city of Lee’s Summit is no stranger to the Hertzog family. The Lee’s Summit High School football stadium is named after Chad Hertzog’s grandpa, Bud Hertzog. Who continues to practice Veterinary medicine at his practice in Lee’s Summit. The auction house in greenwood is named after Bud’s brother. One could say they have made a name for themselves.
Other than having stadiums accredited to the Hertzog name, the family has had a profound impact on Lee’s Summit’s history. Chad Hertzog, Todd Herzog (Chad’s cousin), Mark Hertzog (Chad’s brother), and Bob Hertzog (Chad’s dad), all cited Bud as where the family fame comes from.
However, Bud does not seem to think so. “That’s an exaggeration,” said Bud laughingly, “I’m not famous or anything. I’ve just been around a long time.” Bud grew up on a farm in a family of 6. He graduated from LSHS and was active with FFA (agriculture and leadership) and went to the University of Missouri, when he was there he was admitted into the College of Veterinary Medicine.
Following 8 years at MU. he came back and practiced veterinary medicine in LS at the same location for 61 years. He served on the school board and politics as well as lots of civics organization and the chamber of commerce. However recently he has shifted his focus to the Lee’s Summit Historical Museum.
He has also involved himself in economic development, emissions, and chamber of commerce.
After his accomplishments in Lee’s Summit, Bud does not have any regret. “We grew up here and if I were to imagine starting my life over, I would want to do the same thing again. I am absolutely thrilled by the community” Bud said.
Throughout all of the success, Bud has consistently put education at the forefront. “Education is such a vital part of this community. Our schools are second to none. From the years I served in public office at different times serving on the school board is the most satisfying thing i’ve ever done. I am proud of the district and what we have accomplished”
He does not discredit the other things that Lee’s Summit prides itself on, but continues to put education at the top. “The community is great but our education is what holds and glues everything together. The one reason people move to Lee’s Summit is because of our school system.” Bud said.
He continued, “Public education made the american dream come true for me. It is the catalyst and propels community. Public education made it possible for me to fulfill a lifelong dream of becoming a vet and practicing medicine. It makes the grass green and dreams come true. I think that school system really tops, so proud of what we have been able to accomplish.”
When hearing that West was where his grandson Chad was going, he was not only proud of his grandson but thrilled that it was West. According to Bud, “I was on the school board and was able to help negotiate the land for West which at the time belonged to the Yost family. They were long time friends and we were able to make a substantial contribution to the school district. Which saved the district a lot of money that way. West has been on fire since day one.”
The Hertzog family has gone through LSHS throughout history, living by the anthem“Once a tiger always a tiger.” Despite this, he knows Chad will do fine.
He summed up Lee’s Summit as a unique community. A town that went from 2500 to 100,000 people but yet was able to retain the same values as when the city was first starting.
“If you go downtown, you can see the highlight of the whole community. Most downtowns become forgotten. It really is a great community and a great place to raise kids” Bud said.
Bud does not think of himself as a humble man, but does think that, “All of the things you go through life, but the one thing we don’t do enough of is say thank you to people and is what I would like to continue doing, saying thank you to this community for all they have done for me.”
Bud’s father, Bob, graduated in 1973. And who like his fellow Hertzog’s, is very proud of his family and the city they have lived in, “It’s kinda of a unique town in this area. It’s become a large city but there’s still a lot of country in the area. Lee’s Summit I believe is the 3rd largest city in the state by square miles.”
Bob takes pride in the foundation that Lee’s Summit was built on. “That’s what’s unique about Lee’s Summit there’s not a whole lot of the old timers left here. But a lot of the guys I grew up here lived out in the country. Even though it’s a town of 100,000 people and 3 high schools there’s still a lot of farming going around close by. That’s what I’m involved in. Raising crops and cattle. We do a lot of that right here in jackson county” Bob said.
Bob proclaims that Lee’s Summit has been the best place for him. “Lee’s Summit district which is one of the best around. Best people around. We’re glad he’s apart of it and we’ve been apart of it.
Like Bud, Bob has carried down the same ideals of community involvement. “Our family has been around the Lee’s Summit area forever and we have always tried to involve ourselves” he said. He’s particularly proud of his son, Chad. “ My wife and I feel real proud of him and proud of what he accomplished. We are proud that he was able to accept that job and be qualified. It’s a great honor. The Tiger to Titan shift is part of the growth of the community and being part of a big school district. There’s a lot of schools that need good people and we’re glad Chad could help,” said Bob.
Bud’s Brother had a family of his own, but instead of focusing on Veterinary and Political offices, it was auctioning and livestock. Today, Todd Hertzog is a part of running that side of the family business. Him, his grandpa, brothers, and sisters were all born in Jackson County Lee’s Summit.
“My grandfather, who is Buds brother got into the auction business 45 years ago. Just sold lots of real estate, household auctions and farm machinery sales. My dad and my brother built a livestock market which is an auction market for cattle. Owned that 25 years then me and my brother came aboard that evolved to us getting to the family business. Took it another step and is backgrounding stocker cattle operation with the sale barn,” said Todd.
Despite not doing a lot with the Hertzog auction anymore, Todd and his family are “always involved in the community” and focus on the livestock business.
LSW principal, Chad Hertzog, wants to carry down the same values as his family that came before him. Chad himself has spent all but 6 years of his life in Lee’s Summit (2 in Gladstone, 4 at Mizzou). Despite being from a family that was primarily farmers to this day, he has still been able to apply the traditions and values that make up the Hertzog name.
These values being ones that make up the essentials to a community. “My big piece is to focus on relationships, focus on culture, and focus on treating everyone with dignity and respect at all times” Chad said.
With being part of such a large family, it may seem hard to stand out in such a long line of successful people, however this does not affect Chad. “I’ve never lived my life in anyone’s shadow, everything my grandfather did was so successful because he just wanted to do things for others for his community to be successful.”
Chad continued, “He always thought that having good quality schools and community people are just gonna want to come here and to make that happen. I’m the same way i want our schools to be tremendous. Professionally and personally love lees summit schools and i just want to make this part of Lee’s Summit as great as I can” He proclaimed.
He knew that when he came into West, that it was a tremendous school as it is. “Lee’s Summit West is a tremendous school already. The academics, the athletics, the activities; it all speaks for itself. Keeping in mind that tradition of excellence and to bring in my pieces as well,” said Chad.
When Chad looks to add or further develop that tradition of excellence, he would like to set one thing as top priority. “I think culture is extremely important. The tone we set as a faculty and the tone our students set is what will drive this school forwards…If you don’t take the time to look at the culture and make sure its what you want it to be to make sure it’s a positive culture, it builds itself. You kind of just ignore it and things can start to go downhill pretty quick,” said Chad.
Chad Hertzog’s goal is to continue the values he learned from his family and apply them to Lee’s Summit West, “My grandfather has helped other people like vets, politicians to make them better and further their careers. What I hope I do is to help teachers and students become better at what they do. So I think helping others is the legacy we all leave behind.”