Hometown: Rapids City, IL
Current Location: Quad Cities, IL
Current Role: Technical Editor/Writer
Nominated By: Brandon Wilkerson (a previous Ray of Light)
Reason for Nomination: Kevin is by far the most positive person I know. He is a great friend and a wonderful person. I first met Kevin when we were freshman in college, and I felt like we immediately clicked. We both like to find the bright side of situations that may not always appear to have one. We both like to laugh. Kevin’s positivity could brighten whoever came in contact with him that day. It is so powerful and I think your readers should get to know him.
A Short Bio.
Having spent his entire life between the Mississippi River’s only East-West bend, Kevin Claus is a lifelong Quad Citian. He was raised in Rapids City, IL, a town of nearly 1,000 people on the river. Growing up, Kevin quickly gravitated towards sports and physical activity. “[I] spent almost all of my youth outside. I never really liked video games or sitting still, so you could catch me playing baseball and basketball, fishing, riding my bike, etc. with almost any free moment I had,” Kevin writes. Early on, Kevin often played baseball, but that would quickly change.
On his first day of high school, Kevin followed his friend’s request, and joined the cross-country team. The effects of this change might not have felt immediate, but over time, they have proven significant and lasting. In the years since Kevin picked up his first pair of running shoes, Kevin has embraced a runner’s lifestyle and mentality across areas of his life. Put another way, Kevin strives to eat healthy, exercise frequently, and to grow continuously—physically and otherwise. Since Kevin began running, he has “gotten to know some really incredible people,” too.
After graduating from Riverdale High School, Kevin attended Black Hawk College and, then, Augustana College (“Augie”). At Augustana, Kevin studied Public Health and Communications, while running on the cross country and track teams. While Kevin’s athletics did not lead to realizing his childhood dream of becoming a professional athlete, Kevin greatly appreciated the comradery, personal growth, and character building that running at Augie came to inspire and embrace.
Since graduating college, Kevin has worked as Technical Writer and Editor at an engineering and technical publications company in Rock Island, IL. Outside of work, he enjoys—you guessed it—running! In fact, during the fall of 2019, Kevin even began his tenure as a cross country coach at his former high school. There, he enjoys being surrounded by dedicated and passionate youth and, hopefully, leaving a positive influence on their lives. Kevin hopes to continue coaching indefinitely.
Kevin deeply loves his younger sister, Cate. “She means the world to me,” he explains. “To this day, I don’t think we’ve ever had a single argument,.” Moving forward, Kevin hopes to continue traveling, exercising, and staying close with loved ones. He also loves dancing, though claims that he’s “terrible at it,” and aspires keep traveling and “liv[ing] as simply as Ron Swanson.” For Kevin, life is meant to be enjoyed every day. Kevin’s glass always seems to be half-full. And with his big heart and smile, he tries to assure that your glass is at least half-full as well.
Q & A: The [Not So] Serious
BB: If you could only eat one dessert for the rest of your life, what would you choose?
KC: Ice cream without question, and cookies n’ cream if I have to pick a flavor. I’ve recently fallen into the habit of eating a small cup of ice cream every night after dinner. I don’t think it’s a bad habit, just something to keep in check. TREAT YO SELF.
BB: Aside from your alarm clock, what gets you out of bed in the morning?
KC: The opportunity to live and enjoy life. Each day is an opportunity to progress yourself, work toward something, and make memories. The wealth of life is boundless. I’m also intrigued by the mystery of each day. We never know exactly what is going to happen and that’s kind of exciting.
BB: In what important ways do you see that you have grown since graduating college?
KC: I’ve become much more Zen since graduating from college. Uncertainty made me anxious and uneasy in college; now I’ve kind of found a sustainable balance. I’m also much more understanding of people and how the world works.
BB: When looking to laugh, what and/or who do you turn to?
KC: I usually try to get together with friends when I need a laugh. Otherwise, my mom and I really like “Parks and Rec” and “The Good Place,” so we watch these shows from time to time. “Pardon My Take” is a lighthearted sports podcast I listen to 3x a week that’s pretty hilarious.
BB: Kevin, you are known for smiling often and bringing light to the lives of others. What brings joy to your life?
KC: Spending time with people I love doing the things I love. To me, that’s what life is all about. Progression, and/or the thought that you’re doing the best you can with what you have, or what you’ve been given, is a satisfying feeling as well. Ice cream also REALLY gets me going. I cannot emphasize this enough.
BB: What advice do you have for someone who is looking to feel more joyful?
KC: I wholeheartedly believe that trying to be a genuinely good person (having good intention, doing things for others unconditionally) is the best way to empower yourself and others. Simplify everything, don’t force anything. Be grateful for the things and people you have in your life. Don’t blame or complain — find compromise. Always give yourself something to look forward to every day. “Life is what you make it” — Hannah Montana.
BB: You are an avid runner. In what ways does being a runner allow you to see the world differently?
KC: Running is a fantastic teacher of life balance. Since I started running, my diet has become much better; I routinely dedicate myself to solid sleep; and I never feel like any task is too much to handle. I’ve fallen in love with the lifestyle. Health is one of my top priorities, and our health is largely what determines what we can and cannot do. One of my favorite thrills is getting to see places and things not very many people get to see. My ideal vacations are ones that include long, strenuous hikes to beautiful places not routinely seen by a large population of people. My dedication to running and being in good health helps allow me these opportunities.
BB: When looking to have a game night with friends or family, what is your go-to game?
KC: Scrabble is my go-to game. It’s my mom’s favorite game and we play it whenever we get a chance.
BB: If you could time travel, what advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
KC: “Just chill out, man. Everything is going to be ok, BUT don’t give up or switch directions when things get tough.”
BB: Whether through your vocation, your relationships, or your passion projects, how would you like to change the world in the foreseeable future?
KC: I’d like to promote being more gentle and understanding. I don’t hate a lot of things, but I hate when people blame others or make excuses to protect their pride—own your mistakes and actions. Figure out how to make it work; figure out the best solution for everybody as a whole by including others and listening to their perspective. Life is about making things work, working together, and progressing as people.
BB: With modern technology and social media, it seems really easy to perceive others’ lives differently than they occur. Given this phenomenon, what do wish the world knew about you that they might not already know?
KC: I’m just a simple guy trying to live a simple life. I work out almost every day, love to cook, have some awesome friends and family, and I travel whenever I get the chance.
Author’s Note: Rays of Light is a blog dedicated to spreading positivity, recognizing everyday servants and role models, and allowing others to be vulnerable and share more of their stories. All responses are present as they were written, except when subtle rewriting was done to improve narrative flow. Kevin has approved this content as it is published.