Posted on Mar 15, 2020
Pete Justen
President of Schaumburg AM Rotary
when the club was chartered on March 20, 1990
Photo by Joe Lewnard | Daily Herald Staff Photographer
The following was written by Eric Peterson of the Daily Herald
March 14, 2020
How military background inspired five decades
of community service for Schaumburg veteran
When Pete Justen moved his young family to Schaumburg in August 1968, the 11 years of military experience he brought with him inspired a need to serve his adopted community.
Now at 83, Justen's service to Schaumburg and fellow veterans continues in a variety of ways.
"You're used to doing something and you want to carry on," Justen said of the personal philosophy that's guided him through nearly 52 years in town. "As you get older, you should be even more active."
A native of Iowa City, Iowa, he completed two years in the Air Force ROTC before entering the Army Reserve in January 1957 and continuing until 1966.
Though never entering active service, Justen nearly was part of the call-up surrounding construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961.
He credits many of the characteristics that have served him well in both his ongoing career in the insurance industry and his community activism to the military training he received. Among these he includes discipline, being on time and following through on commitments.
"If you say it, you do it," he said.
Beginning with Allstate in Skokie in 1962, he worked for several other insurance companies and brokerage houses until he started his own Just 10 Insurance Group in 1987.
The Schaumburg Justen first encountered was quite different from the one of today. But he was among those who encouraged its development and sought the sort of services more established communities like Arlington Heights and Palatine already had.
One of his early roles was as a member of the Jaycees, and he soon fell in with a crowd that included an existing friend on the village board: then-Mayor Bob Atcher.
Justen became a village trustee in 1972, but soon found politics an aspect of community involvement he didn't enjoy.
Instead he devoted more time and energy to the establishment of the Campanelli YMCA and Spring Valley Nature Center to Schaumburg.
His service today includes work with the Schaumburg A.M. Rotary Club Foundation, for which he is the charter president, American Legion Post 1983, the Schaumburg Park Foundation, and the village's fire and police commission that interviews and evaluates candidates for both departments.
“The quality of the personality to fit in the community is what we look for," Justen said.
The result has been a diverse group of employees, which he said the commission is proud of.
The fundraising conducted by the American Legion post directly benefits the Veterans Affairs hospitals in the area, while the park foundation financially assists the Schaumburg Park District beyond what it receives from taxpayers.
"It's my hometown," Justen said of his continued involvement with Schaumburg and. "You're proud of it. You want it to be the best it can be."
Among the changes he's most looking forward to seeing is the redevelopment under way on the former Motorola Solutions office campus.
"It's been exciting living here," Justen said. "I want to live here forever."