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It’s a tie! 2014 Good Neighbor awards announced

Mary Ellen Johnson and Tom Peterson tied for the 2014 Good Neighbor Award Thursday night at the Roberts Good Neighbor Days community appreciation dinner. (Photo by Sarah Young) 1 / 3
Mary Ellen Johnson makes her way to the stage among cheers and applause in Roberts Village Park after she was announced as one of the 2014 Roberts Good Neighbor award winners at Thursday night’s community appreciation dinner. (Photo by Sarah Young) 2 / 3
Tom Peterson of Roberts Towing accepts congratulations from friends and community members after he was announced on the recipients of the 2014 Good Neighbor award at the Roberts community appreciation dinner Thursday night. (Photo by Sarah Young) 3 / 3

Mary Ellen Johnson and Tom Peterson were obviously surprised when they were both announced the 2014 Good Neighbor award winners at the Good Neighbor Days community appreciation dinner Thursday night. This is Good Neighbor Days’ 50th year.

Johnson had tears in her eyes as she made her way to the stage in the big tent at the Village Park in Roberts.

Both Johnson and Peterson received loud applause and whistles when their names were announced.

Roberts Lions Club President Ronda Bierbrauer said she realized it was a tie when she was counting out the ballots collected from boxes around the community.

Neither Johnson nor Peterson had a clue, Robert Lions Club member Geno Hanson said.

“It was a little tough getting Tom down here,” Hanson said.

Bierbrauer said if Peterson’s wife couldn’t get him to come down, they were going to have to fake a towing emergency to lure him down to the park. Peterson owns Roberts Towing & Repair, Inc.

Bierbrauer said both are extremely deserving of the honor because they are both caring individuals.

“Whenever you see Mary Ellen out in the community, she has a smile on her face,” Bierbrauer said. “She looks out for a lot of people.”

She spoke highly of Johnson’s extensive work helping the elderly in the community, from taking them to doctor appointments, grocery shopping or just keeping them company.

As for Peterson, Bierbrauer said the most common phrase on ballots voting for him was that he “does the unknown,” meaning many of his acts of kindness are seen by the people he does them for, but maybe not by the community as a whole.

“He does so much for everyone, and much of it is not known by all,” Bierbrauer said. “Whether it’s pulling someone out of a ditch, or helping someone’s kids, he cares about everyone.”

Both recipients were given an engraved plaque by the Lions Club. Johnson was also given a quilt, and Peterson was given a gift certificate.

Sarah Young

Sarah Young was appointed the editor of the Pierce County Herald in February 2015. She joined RiverTown Multimedia in October 2013 as a news reporter for the New Richmond News, where she covered community events, spot news and education in Hammond, Roberts, Somerset and St. Croix County Circuit Court. Previously she free-lanced for the River Falls Journal, Hudson Star-Observer, RiverTown special publications and the Superior Catholic Herald. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Spanish and French in 2001. She completed a minor in journalism in 2004. 

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