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Rotary honors selfless service

Red Wing Planning Director Brian Peterson (left), Sunnyside Elementary School Principal Patti Roberts and Goodhue County Veterans Service Officer Bob Davis pose with Red Wing Rotary President Jerry Olson at an award ceremony Tuesday. The Rotary Club honored the local officials for their service to the community. (Republican Eagle photo by Michael Brun)

The recipients of Red Wing Rotary Club’s Service Above Self award all have something in common: They helped shape the foundation of the community, both now and for the future.

“We have three terrific members of our community who are exemplifying Rotarian’s ‘service above self’ motto,” Rotary President Jerry Olson said at a luncheon Tuesday in the St. James Hotel.

For 2013, the club honored Red Wing Planning Director Brian Peterson; Goodhue County Veterans Service Officer Bob Davis; and Sunnyside Elementary School Principal Patti Roberts.

The winners received a certificate and traveling plaque, as well as a donation from the Rotary Club to a charity of their choice.

They also will be grand marshals in the River City Days parade this August, Olson said.

Red Wing

Peterson was chosen for nearly 30 years of work with the city, including recent plans to renovate Main Street and replace the Highway 63 Bridge.

City Council Administrator Kay Kuhlmann praised Peterson for his legacy of making Red Wing what it is today.

“That legacy is what surrounds us,” she said. “It’s what makes downtown special.”

Kuhlmann added that Peterson’s job as planning director is only half the story.

He also has been an active member in civic organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Red Wing Youth Outreach, Live Healthy Red Wing, Friends of the Bluffs and the Environmental Learning Center.

“He just constantly gives,” Kuhlmann said. “He has a tremendous heart.”

Goodhue County

County Administrator Scott Arneson recognized Davis as an “aggressive” advocate for veterans.

In the past 15 years, Davis increased benefits for county veterans from $3.8 million to $9.8 million, and lead reintegration efforts for returning soldiers through the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program, Arneson said.

As with Peterson, Davis is someone who wears multiple hats beyond his primary duties, overseeing the county insurance program and serving as legislative liaison.

“He has been very instrumental in legislative efforts,” Arneson said, including securing funding for Highway 52 interchanges at County Roads 24 and 9.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better county to be a part of,” said Davis, who will retire next month.

“I’m going to miss it, but Arizona looks a lot better,” he joked.

Red Wing Schools

When it came time to honor Roberts for her 34 years as a Red Wing educator and active volunteer, Burnside Elementary Principal Sheila Beckner revealed a bucket full of heart-shaped messages.

She said the idea was based on the children’s book “Have You Filled a Bucket Today?”

“The idea being we all have this invisible bucket inside of us,” Beckner said. “We use it with kids to try to teach them how our kindness helps fill somebody’s bucket.”

Beckner asked Robert’s staff to use the bucket to share how she helped them over the years.

“It was so easy for them to think about how she filled their bucket, how she enriched their life,” Beckner said.

Roberts, who will retire later this year, said she has enjoyed watching her students find success in a number of careers. “But I think closest to my heart are the students I’ve seen grown up and become teachers,” she said. “That to me is the greatest honor of standing here and representing public educators in this community.”

Michael Brun

Michael Brun joined RiverTown Multimedia at the Red Wing Republican Eagle in March 2013, covering county government, health and local events.  He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls journalism program.

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