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Votrubas named Pea Soup grand marshals

Carol and Chuck Votruba are this year's Pea Soup Days grand marshals.

Chuck and Carol Votruba met at a carnival in Oconomowoc in 1964 and got married in 1968. The couple recently celebrated their 44th wedding anniversary. Soon the Votrubas will celebrate Somerset's Pea Soup Days as this year's grand marshals.

The Votrubas moved to Somerset in 1969 and they have always been involved in the community.

Chuck said growing up on a farm, he learned at an early age the importance of helping others.

"Everybody helped everybody else, it was just automatic," he said.

Over the years the Votrubas have been involved in various community groups.

They were involved in the schools when their children, Christopher and Cindy, were growing up and St. Anne's Catholic Church has always been important to them.

Today, Carol is on the funeral committee at St. Anne's Catholic Church, is a blood mobile volunteer, volunteers at the health center and is part of the American Legion Post 111 Auxiliary.

Both Chuck and Carol have been chaplain for the American Legion and Auxiliary and Chuck taught religion at St. Anne's for many years.

Chuck said he's always been social and has strived to help others, whether it meant offering someone a ride home or mowing someone's lawn.

His diagnosis with Multiple Sclerosis in April of 1996 and suffering a stroke in September the same year put a damper on Chuck's ability to get out and help in the community. But by the looks of her continuously busy schedule, Cindy seems to be making up for what Chuck isn't able to do.

Since having a kidney transplant in 2006, and receiving an outpouring of support from friends and community members, Carol says it's important for her to continue to give back to others in whatever ways she can.

"Everyone in the Somerset community is so friendly and giving," Cindy said. "We appreciate all the help people have given us over the years and it feels good to give back. I have a hard time saying no to people who need help."

St. Anne's Deacon Dick Peterson says the Votrubas are very deserving of the community recognition.

"They're both really good folks who are active in the parish and community," he said.

The Votrubas have attended and volunteered at the Pea Soup Days celebration for many years, and they say it's a privilege to be named this year's grand marshals.

The Votrubas say there are a lot of great people in Somerset, so they were surprised and honored to find out they were nominated as this year's grand marshals.

In addition to trying the pea soup varieties, Chuck says his favorite part of the weekend celebration is seeing people he doesn't see on a regular basis and supporting the local organizations.

Chuck's hoping he'll meet some new people at Pea Soup Days and Cindy feels the same.

"It's nice to get down there to socialize with people in town," Cindy said.

Chuck and Carol say they've always enjoyed going to Pea Soup Days, but this year's celebration is one they surely won't forget.

The Votrubas will ride in the Pea Soup Days parade on Saturday, June 9. The parade starts at 11 a.m.

Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

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