STAPLES -- The Staples Community Foundation will hold a community celebration and awards event that will honor favorite son Duane R. Lund.
The event is 6 p.m. May 6 at T Maxwell's Restaurant. Tickets are $25 at First Integrity Bank in Staples. Ticket reservations can be mailed to the Staples Community Foundation, P.O. Box 101, Staples MN 56479.
In the future, the event will honor and recognize those who have enriched the community in a variety of areas, but in its first year the foundation will present only its highest award -- The Dr. Duane R. Lund Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Staples Community -- and the winner will be the award's namesake.
"Many folks in the community have visited about the need for our community to celebrate its successes and to honor those who have given back to the community and enriched it with their gifts," said Ray Gildow, event chairman. "As we began to formalize those plans it became obvious to us that there was no better place to start than with our own community legend, Dr. Duane R. Lund."
Lund grew up in Brainerd and first arrived in Staples as a social studies teacher in 1948. He left Staples for Washington, D.C., to become chief of staff to Sen. Edward J. Thye. During this time he made many contacts, which proved valuable to his work for the Staples community. He returned to the Staples Public Schools as a counselor, principal and ultimately as superintendent of schools for 25 years. He received his bachelor of arts degree from Macalester College and his master's and PhD from the University of Minnesota.
From the onset of his service as superintendent, it became obvious Lund's tenure was going to be different. Before it became fashionable, he expected his staff to take ownership of their programs and to run them in an entrepreneurial manner. He encouraged the school staff to become involved in the community and took the lead by becoming involved himself.
He took active roles in the Chamber of Commerce, United Methodist Church, Rotary and the Staples Arts Council among others, and stressed economic development by having the school pay half of the salary of the an economic development officer, under the theory what was good for the community was also good for the school.
For more than 20 years major employers in the community and prospective employers were entertained on his island on Lake of the Woods, at no cost to the school district. During his tenure the Minnesota Education Association honored the Staples School Board as the outstanding board in the state. Also during that time Staples High School had more merit scholar winners and finalists than any other school in a 50-mile radius, regardless of size; and Lincoln Elementary School was reopened as the Model Elementary School, creating a school choice option that was a harbinger of things to come.
He enthusiastically took the school into the newly developing area of vocational education. He justified this, not only on educational grounds, but also as economic development, an argument born out by the hot bed of machine shop activity that later developed in the Staples area and softened the blow of the railroad's gradual departure from the community.
After his retirement, he served as senior consultant to the Blandin Foundation of Grand Rapids and helped to develop its hallmark Blandin Community Leadership Program that puts leadership growth and tools for self development into the hands of small rural communities. He served as a founding Board member of the Staples Community Foundation.
Lund's hobbies include oil painting, hunting and fishing. He is the author of 36 books. Representative titles include "Lessons in Leadership," "Early Native American Recipes and Remedies," "The Historic Upper Mississippi," "Lake Superior, Yesterday and Today," "Our Historic Boundary Waters," "The Indian Wars," "White Indian Boy," "Youngest Voyageur" and a variety of cookbooks. He was named Minnesota Author of the Year in 1985 by the Minnesota Association of Librarians and Media Specialists.
Lund served two terms on the National Advisory Council for Vocational Education by presidential appointment (Nixon), was appointed by the Secretary of Interior to the National Advisory Council on Trails, was appointed by the vice president (Mondale) to the White House Conference on Education and by Minnesota governors to the Boundary Waters Advisory Committee, the Minnesota Manpower Commission and the Minnesota Professional Teaching Practices Commission.
He also served on task forces for the National Academy of Science and the National Institute of Education. He was a consultant on vocational education to the Washington, D.C., school district and to the U.S. House of Representatives. He was awarded an honorary American Farmer degree by the Future Farmers of America.
Lund serves on the Rosenmeier Board of Central Lakes College and served on several U of M committees.
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