If these past two weeks have shown us anything, it’s that a lot of great people call the Brainerd lakes area home.
Starting with the Distinguished Service Awards and running through the Brainerd Public Schools Distinguished Achievement Hall of Fame, an exemplary group of people have been honored for what they’ve done locally and across the globe. We join in congratulating them on their accomplishments.
It started Sept. 28, when Carl “Fert” Faust was named 2021 Outstanding Citizen of the Year.
Faust is truly a deserving recipient of the award, and it was gratifying seeing him receive it on the heels of Brainerd’s sesquicentennial celebration.
Faust, a local historian, was front and center during the city’s 150th anniversary festivities, giving regular tours of historic downtown. His knowledge of our city is indispensable, and probably only matched by his desire to continue to learn more.
The naming of Faust as 2021 Citizen of the Year was followed by several other Distinguished Service Award winners: Nikki Lyter as Young Citizen of the Year, Pat Pickar as Community Service Provider of the Year, Carrie Allord as Agribusiness Person of the Year, Mitchell Neumann as Outstanding Youth Volunteer of the Year, The Alex & Brandon Child Safety Center as 2021 Nonprofit of the Year, Julie Jedlicka as Child Care Provider of the Year, Erin Karlgaard as Educator of the Year, and Donna Wheeler and Kenneth Saumer as Outstanding Senior Citizens of the Year.
This week, four alumni were honored with induction into Brainerd Public Schools Distinguished Achievement Hall of Fame. Elsa (Hasch) Garrison is a trailblazing photographer who takes photos across the globe; Jessica (Kramer) Ryan, an attorney and tribal court chief judge who now serves as an advocate, mentor and role model within the Native American community; retired Brig. Gen. Mark Ness, who served with the Minnesota Air National Guard for 27 years; and Elizabeth “Betty” (Nolan) McGowan, a pioneering journalist.
We also note Visit Brainerd’s Mary Devine Johnson, who was honored by the Brainerd City Council as Community Member of the Month for October for her work on the sesquicentennial; Baxter City Council member John Ward, who returned to city meetings after battling serious health problems; longtime Brainerd Warrior football coach Ron Stolski, who is being honored Saturday; and Dave Maras, former longtime Brainerd Warrior gymnastic coach, and Crosby-Ironton’s Neil Tesdahl, both of whom are being honored at the Minnesota State High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame Banquet.
All these people, and numerous unnamed others, are among the reasons so many of us are proud to call this area home.
In these difficult times, when people seem to be constantly at odds with each other, it’s nice to be able to take a step back and see all the good that is happening in our community.
Congratulations to all those honored these past two weeks. You are all examples of what is great about the Brainerd lakes area.