Sanders selected as 2013 'Good Neighbor'

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The identity of the recipient of this year's "Good Neighbor" award didn't remain a secret for long after Roberts Lions Club President Mike Bowman began his speech.

"He's dedicated his last 30 years to this community as a great leader, a great mentor," Bowman said. "It's amazing what this guy's devotion has been to the community."

Steve Sanders, St. Croix Central Elementary principal, received the 2013 "Good Neighbor" award.

As he announced Sanders as the recipient, Bowman praised Sanders' leadership within the Roberts community. Bowman acknowledged the recent difficulties the St. Croix Central School District has faced, especially with the April 30 fire that closed SCC Elementary, forcing the district to relocate the elementary students to "Panther Camp," located at Rolling Ridges Girl Scout Camp near Hudson.

"Through it all, Steve, you've been a guiding light to this community, a beacon of hope," Bowman said. "Mr. Sanders, you've taught the kids, you've coached lives and you've taught this community how to be a leader. Thank you."

Sanders made his way up to the stage, to receive the award, pausing to shake the hands of people wishing to congratulate him.

"It's quite a surprise," Sanders said after the award presentation. "I'm just overwhelmed."

Sanders is retiring at the end of this school year after 29 years working in the St. Croix Central School District.

Sanders received the Good Neighbor Award Plaque and quilt Thursday, May 30, at the Community Appreciation Dinner. He rode through the 2013 Good Neighbor Days Parade Sunday, in a convertible, tossing bubble gum to the children watching the parade.

In his speech, Bowman referenced an article in the May 23 edition of the New Richmond News, in which Sanders was quoted saying what he will miss most after his 29 years in the district will be the hugs he gets from the elementary students.

"Amazing," Bowman said. "That's what a leader in this community should be like."

Sanders has spent the past 13 years as St. Croix Central Elementary School principal.

"This is, I guess, a culmination of my career at St. Croix Central," Sanders said. "This is very touching."