KELO shines spotlight on local sports announcer

MIKE HUETHER (left) speaks with Tom Farrell while Keith Bundy listens when "On the Road with Mike Huether" was filmed in Madison on Thursday afternoon. The segment will air on March 24.

When Mike Huether comes to town in his white Subaru Outback, he comes with an agenda. The host of KELOLAND's "On the Road with Mike Huether" has a story to tell.

Someone -- in the case of his visit to Madison on Thursday afternoon, that "someone" was Michael Roach, assistant professor of management at Dakota State University -- had given Huether a tip about an individual whose story could be an inspiration to others. In Madison, that was Keith Bundy -- a familiar voice to fans who attend Dakota State athletic events, amateur baseball and American Legion baseball.

"I have a God-given voice for announcing and radio," Bundy said, not with pride but with an open acknowledgment of his gift.

It's not surprising that he would make reference to God. Bundy is currently serving as the interim pastor at Madison Church of the Nazarene, a small church nestled in a residential neighborhood off S.W. 1st Street. That same church brought the Indiana native to South Dakota 30 years ago.

His wife Peg said the move was made in faith after they had prayed about the call her husband had received.

"We were moving away from everything we knew," she recalled, mentioning specifically their families, but also noting cultural differences between Indiana and South Dakota.

The first time she was asked to bring a hotdish to a potluck, she had no idea what to bring. She had asked if a hotdish was a casserole and had been told it was not. She said she had to pull out a dictionary to find out what was expected.

"I'd never heard of it, and who would have thought that Jello would be a salad?" she asked.

However, it was not that story which most interested Huether. He was intrigued by the rich and full life that Keith, who was born blind, lives. For Keith, his blindness is just a fact of life; it's not something he dwells on.

"When I wake up in the morning, my first thought isn't, `I can't see'," he said. "My first thought is, `I hate the alarm'."

Because his blindness is as much a part of him as his faith, his love for his wife -- whom he describes as his right hand and best friend -- and his passion for sports, he doesn't allow it to be a barrier.

"God helped me to develop the attitude, `I'm going to do what I want to do'," he stated. In his interview with Huether, he elaborated. "Instead of saying, `I can't do this,' I say, `How can we do this'?"

The "we" of whom he speaks is himself and his wife. Trained as a nurse, Peg worked in a variety of settings, including a hospital NICU, before they moved to Madison, where she worked for a time at a nursing home. However, with four growing boys, they determined she was needed to provide transportation to their many activities as well as to meet the boys' other needs.

"Keith has always worked two jobs for us. It's just routine for us," she explained.

Currently, in addition to pastoring the Madison Church of the Nazarene, he is an accessibility consultant for Siteimprove, a company which helps companies to create fully accessible websites which are usable by everyone regardless of their disabilities.

Keith told Huether he does most of his work remotely but travels to Minneapolis every month or six weeks for his job. In March, he will speak at a conference on accessibility.

For a number of years, he served as the assistant dean of student development at DSU, where he ran the counseling center and acted as the ADA coordinator. He said he worked two jobs primarily because his small church could not afford to pay a full-time salary with benefits which he, as a husband and father, needed. However, he was not willing to simply walk away from pastoring the church.

"When I was a child, I sensed deep down inside a call to preach the Gospel," Keith said.

He admits he didn't immediately answer that call although he was a man of faith. In fact, he and Peg met through InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at the University of Evansville, a private, liberal arts university in Evansville, Ind.

"We started taking walks together and fell in love," Peg said.

Keith was 23 when they married and 28 when he finally answered the call he had received as a boy. The delay wasn't entirely due to hesitation on his own part, Peg explained. He had been told that no church would hire a blind pastor, which did not prove to be true.

"God does the impossible," she stated.

In his story about Keith, Huether delved into the couple's personal life to touch on the loss of their son Ben, who died in 2010. The young athlete had a brain aneurysm from which he did not recover.

"That was the biggest thing Peg and I faced," Keith said. "Kids are not supposed to pass away before their parents."

He, personally, found comfort in a story he had heard about another pastor who had suffered a similar loss. When asked why he preached on the following Sunday, the pastor said -- according to Keith -- "The same God who was God before he died is God today."

While Huether was interested in Keith's faith, family and professional life, it is his role as a sports announcer that delighted him most. Bundy began by announcing American Legion baseball with Peg's assistance. Now, with the assistance of longtime friend and former DSU colleague Tom Farrell, he also announces football and basketball games at the university.

"He tells me what he sees and I do the announcing," Bundy said.

The first part of that winning formula began long before Bundy began announcing. It began when their boys were growing up.

"Tom and I had boys that played football together," Keith said. They would sit together at games and Tom would tell him what was taking place on the field.

Now a story familiar to Madison residents will be told across KELOLAND when "On the Road with Mike Huether" airs at 6:30 p.m. on March 24. The program, which focuses on inspirational stories from small towns in South Dakota, is in its second season.