Eight Brainerd lakes area residents will be honored for their volunteerism and service to community Thursday at the sixth annual Distinguished Service Awards Banquet at Madden's Resort Town Hall in East Gull Lake.
The banquet, sponsored by the Brainerd Jaycees, the Brainerd Dispatch and Brainerd Community Action, will begin with a 6 p.m. social hour. Dinner and entertainment will begin at 7 p.m. with the awards ceremony to follow, hosted by master of ceremonies Ken Thomas. Last year about 300 people attended the awards banquet.
Honorees this year include: Caitlyn Cross, Outstanding Youth Volunteer of the Year; Eryk Haapajoki, Outstanding Young Citizen of the Year; Betty Johnson, Outstanding Senior Citizen of the Year; Charles Dunemann, Outstanding Firefighter of the Year; Clare Sinner, Outstanding Educator of the Year; Brian Brewer, Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer of the Year; Cindy Peterson, Outstanding Child Care Provider of the Year; and Steve Esser, Outstanding Citizen of the Year.
Keynote speaker will be Rick Cole, area manager, Dale Carnegie Training.
If you go
The 2004 Distinguished Service Awards Banquet will begin with social hour at 6 p.m. Thursday at Madden's Resort Town Hall in East Gull Lake.
Dinner and entertainment begins at 7 p.m.
Individual tickets may be purchased at Brainerd Community Action or the Brainerd Dispatch for $30 in advance or tickets are $35 at the door.
The event is sponsored by the Brainerd Jaycees, the Dispatch and Brainerd Community Action.
Cross, 14, is a ninth-grader at Mississippi Horizons and is the youngest daughter of Mark and Nancy Cross of Baxter. She was 4 years old when she began volunteering in the community and her most recent volunteer work has been with Operation Interdependence, a program that supplies each deployed soldier with a care package and a note from home once a month during their deployment. As a result of her efforts, Cross this year brought in enough donated items for 2,000 soldiers and more than $1,000 to cover the cost of postage.
Haaapajoki is a member of the Brainerd Jaycees and active in the community. He took over the annual Brainerd Men's Softball Tournament, which raises funds for Camp Sertoma at Camp Confidence for hearing-impaired children. He also is active in Business Networking International and is a board member of the Brainerd Youth Athletic Association and helps to coach his son in Brainerd amateur hockey.
Johnson is a retired Brainerd School District teacher. She volunteers at her church and has served on the Christian Ministry Board for three years. She volunteers at church garage sales. Johnson was the historian for Community Gardens from 1973-2002, served as the secretary for Rollin' Rangers camping group for seven years and has helped to serve at the lutefisk dinner at the Brainerd Elks for 31 years. Last year she worked at the Elks' bake sale and children's Christmas party. She is an active American Legion member and volunteers at Legionville. She also worked at the Moose Lodge on Thanksgiving in addition to volunteering at the Lakes Area Senior Activity Center.
Dunemann joined the Brainerd Fire Department as a paid on-call firefighter in July 1991 and in July 1999 was hired full time by the city of Brainerd. He currently holds the rank of lieutenant. As a member of the fire department, Dunemann has helped implement a Specialty Rescue Team, Bomb Squad Support Team, Dive Team Support and a Hazardous Materials Response Team.
Sinner has taught special education for seven years at Garfield Elementary School in Brainerd. She is a member of St. Andrew's Church, a guitarist for the Kid's Choir, a member of St. Clare's Guild and a Relay for Life team member. She is a past recipient of the Minnesota Jaycees Presidential Medallion for Community Involvement.
Brewer has been a Drug Abuse Resistance Education instructor in the Brainerd School District for the past 10 years. Brewer has coached YMCA football, served on the YMCA program committee and served as den leader for the Cub Scouts and as an Awana leader.
Peterson and her husband, Jeff, moved to the Brainerd area from Shakopee in 1998 and shortly afterward opened her day-care center. Peterson is a member of the Daycare Association, Day of the Young Child and a member and volunteer at her church and school.
Esser has been a director with Brainerd Savings and Loan since 1988, a member of the Brainerd Rotary Club since 1979 where he has been a board member and president since 1986 and a director with the Lakes Area Senior Activity Center board in 2003 where he currently serves as board president. In 1975 he moved back to Brainerd with his wife, Linda, to join his father, Mel, and brother, Dick, in the retail liquor business. He and his brother sold the business in 2001.
Entertainment at the annual awards banquet is provided by the Harmony Engineers and the Civil Air Patrol serving as color guard for the event.
JODIE TWEED can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5858.
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