Grand marshals chosen for Good Neighbor Days
This year's Good Neighbor Days co-grand marshals are both active military members.
Mike Gunderson and Eric Fisher have been named the 2011 grand marshals.
Roberts Lions President Gerilynne Wood said the Lions are thrilled to have the servicemen as Roberts grand marshals.
Not only do Gunderson and Fisher serve their country, but the Roberts community as well.
Both Gunderson and Fisher have lived in Roberts for 11 years and have been active in the community when not deployed.
Gunderson said he moved to Roberts from River Falls 11 years ago because he'd always liked the small-town feel.
Gunderson works full-time for the Minnesota Army National Guard as a readiness noncommissioned officer. Gunderson has been in the guard for 24 years and has been full-time at the Army Aviation Support facility at the St. Paul, Minn. airport for 15 years.
"On top of the office job, I'm also a Black Hawk crew chief, so I get to fly a lot. It's a fun job," Gunderson said.
Gunderson was deployed to Iraq in April 2007 and returned home Aug. 1, 2008.
In addition to serving time in Iraq, Gunderson has participated in missions locally including wild fires, looking for lost people and flood support.
"In 2005 I spent a month down in New Orleans for Katrina and Rita support," said Gunderson.
Gunderson has two children with his wife, Kim; 9-year-old daughter Anna and 7-year-old son Ryan.
Gunderson's duties as dad in Roberts include being a Cub Scout den leader and a member of Cross Lutheran Church.
Gunderson said he really does have good neighbors.
"We're very lucky, we have the greatest neighbors you could ask for," he said.
To Gunderson, being a good neighbor means, "helping your neighbors out when they need anything and being involved in your community as much as you can," he said. "I've never had any trouble in Roberts. It's been just a great place to live. Our kids love the school. It's quiet, that's my favorite thing."
Gunderson said he's been able to attend three or four of the Good Neighbor Days since he's lived in Roberts.
"I wish I could be here for it more often," he said.
Gunderson said he enjoys going to the Good Neighbor Days activities to spend time with his children.
"It's always fun to see how they react to the events, playing the games or watching the trucks and tractors," Gunderson said.
Gunderson almost wasn't able to make it to Good Neighbor Days this year.
"I'm actually not going to be there for much. I'm actually supposed to leave for Camp Ripley (in Minnesota) on Friday. We have our two-week annual training. I called my first sergeant and he's going to let me take part in the parade," Gunderson said.
Gunderson said it was important for him to try to make time to attend Good Neighbor Days because, "It's quite an honor. It doesn't happen to everybody. I'm very honored that they'd select me and Eric (Fisher)."
Gunderson said his wife and kids were also pretty excited about his Good Neighbor Day recognition.
"I'm honored to be able to represent Roberts and the good neighbor theme," said Gunderson.
Fisher said his family moved from Hudson to Roberts to be closer to work, when he was a police officer in the village.
Fisher has three children with his wife, Carrie; Ashley, 22; Krysta, 18; and David, 15.
Fisher has been in the military 25 years. Currently he works in transportation with the Air Force in the 934th Airlift Wing, 27th Aerial Port Squadron.
"Basically we move anything and everything that needs to go anywhere. From people, to machinery, to vehicles; whatever needs to be done, we get it there," Fisher said.
Fisher has been deployed six times.
"I've been all over the northern hemisphere in my entire career, I used to be in the Navy," he said.
Fisher is a member of the Lions Club and New Richmond VFW. He is currently the local Scout Master of Boy Scout Troop #161, is the Church Youth Group Leader at the Roberts United Church of Christ and has worked as a special education paraprofessional at the St. Croix Central High School.
Although he's been around the world, Fisher says he likes coming home to his "small quaint community."
Fisher said everyone in Roberts is easy to get along with.
To Fisher, being a good neighbor means "helping your neighbors out and by being friendly and courteous to others."
He said it's important to always say hello to your neighbors, even if they don't say it back.
Fisher will be saying a lot of hellos this weekend at various Good Neighbor Days activities.
Fisher said he's especially looking forward to watching the demolition derby and kids' tractor race and spending time with people he hasn't seen in awhile, since he has been gone so much.
Despite multiple deployments, Fisher says he's been to every Good Neighbor Days since the family moved to Roberts.
One of his favorite Good Neighbor Days memories was when he emceed the kids tractor race a few years ago.
"That was hilarious. That was fun," he said.
Fisher said he was shocked to be named a grand marshal.
"I was taken off guard on that. It's quite an honor," he said. "I never thought I'd be asked to do that."
Fisher and Gunderson will both be in the Grand Parade this Sunday afternoon.
The parade will start at 1 p.m. on Sunday, June 5.
UPDATE: Gunderson will no longer be able to attend the parade on Sunday, as he needs to attend military training.