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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)

It’s a tie! 2014 Good Neighbor awards announced

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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.

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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.

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Sarah Young
Sarah Young joined RiverTown Multimedia in October 2013 as a news reporter for the New Richmond News. She covers primarily Hammond, Roberts and Somerset. 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. Before working at the New Richmond News, she was an assistant manager at Philander's Grill & Bar in Prescott. She lives in Prescott with her husband Mike and daughter Carolina.  
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