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EDITORIAL: Real citizens make a community work

The list of nominees for this year's Citizen of the Year award was impressive.

People think it's a cliché to say that everyone nominated for an award deserved to win. This year, we think a strong argument could be made for any of the award nominees to be chosen the honoree.

Among the long list of people who have done their community proud were business leaders, longtime governmental leaders, volunteers, school leaders and more.

While Vernon Conrad was a great selection for this year's honor, others in the field deserve a hearty pat on their backs for their past, present and future endeavors on behalf of the New Richmond area.

Of few notes of praise are in order for all.

Morrie Veilleux, who will retire from his administrator post with the New Richmond School District, has guided the local educational system admirably over the past seven years. When he came on board, there was certainly an atmosphere of controversy hanging over the district's collective head. All that has faded away under his humble leadership.

John Soderberg has been an incredible workhorse when it comes to advocating for the proposed new Stillwater bridge. Much of the work he did was under the radar, but his efforts truly go beyond the call of duty. His commitment to the project shows his commitment to this city and region.

Irv and Mary Sather have long served as the community's historians. Their tireless work to preserve and display this community's past, even while they enjoy their retirement years, is amazing.

Linda Skoglund, through her involvement with the Vitality Initiative, Community Foundation and other efforts, has proven to be a valuable mover-and-shaker that likes to see things of importance accomplished. She'll be the last to blow her own horn, but she is to be commended for all that she does on behalf of the local area.

Heather McAbee is another example of someone who works hard to get things done. The leadership she's provided to the Rotary Club of New Richmond and the New Richmond Area Chamber of Commerce over the years has resulted in much progress on many fronts.

Troy Boe was the engine behind much of the success of this past summer's Feed My Starving Children meal pack event, coordinated by the Rotary Club. If there's a project to be done, Boe can be counted on to get right to the task. He's a true citizen who has nothing but the betterment of the community at heart.

Warren Bader served on the Richmond Town Board for more than 40 years, while also manning the recycling drop-off center for many years. He has always been a civic-minded individual whose sole reason for helping out has been to serve the public.

Jill Schreck is one of those important volunteers who is ready to help whenever she's called upon. She, too, doesn't look for public recognition of her efforts, just the satisfaction from being a part of charting a course to a better tomorrow.

Another Jill -- Jill Luken - has many of the same attributes as a volunteer and community booster. The person who nominated her for this year's award also pointed out her smile and positive attitude as attributes that other citizens-in-training can emulate.

And Linda Aton is another local volunteer who accomplished a lot on behalf of her community and its diverse population. And anyone who works in the challenging personal care field these days is certainly deserving of an award.

Thank you to all of the nominees this year. You are shining examples to all that a little extra work and a helping hand can pay huge dividends for businesses, individuals and the entire community.