As news spread on Wednesday that Bonnie Cumberland had been selected as the 2001 Brainerd Citizen of the Year the reaction of many people was "Hasn't she won that award already?"
Indeed, the Brainerd High School teacher has won a raft of awards for professional and volunteer activities, but the citizen of the year honor somehow escaped her.
She's been involved in so many worthwhile activities for more than 30 years, that it's almost possible to overlook the fact that the former Brainerd mayor is also a full-time teacher.
Even a partial list of her awards is enough to put most resumes to shame: 1985 Business Economics Education Foundation Teacher of the Year, 1994 DECA Outstanding Marketing Service Award, Brainerd Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Layperson Award, 1987 BLACC Athena Award, 1988 Creative Leadership in Women's Rights Award, the League of Minnesota Cities C.C. Ludwig Award and the Brainerd Tower Award.
And those awards are just the tip of the iceberg in Cumberland's busy schedule. She also devotes time to her church, Brainerd Public Utilities Commission, the Friends of the Library Committee, the Brainerd Parking Commission, the Kids Vote Committee, Camp Ripley Citizen's Committee, The Central Lakes College Advisory Committee, Sexual Assault Services and others.
It's almost easier to list the worthy causes she hasn't worked on. It would probably be a shorter list.
Her life brings to mind the old adage that if you want a job done find a busy person to do it. Some folks whine that they're too busy and they never seem to accomplish anything. Others roll up their sleeves and go to work with enthusiasm.
Cumberland's willingness to work and her ever-present graciousness, even in trying circumstances, makes her a deserving recipient of the Brainerd Citizen of the Year award.
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