Rotary honors super servants
In the eyes of Red Wing Rotary Club President Lisa Marty, public service is an area that receives less recognition than deserved.
Each year, Red Wing Rotarians gather to recognize three individuals – one from the city of Red Wing, one from Goodhue County and one from Red Wing Public Schools – who have exemplified “service above self,” one of Rotary’s mottos.
City engineer Jay Owens, RWPS head custodian Al Harteneck and Sara Ousky, Goodhue County Health and Human Services social worker, were all honored with the award Tuesday afternoon at the St. James Hotel.
The three, selected by their peers for the award, have a combined total of 92 years of public service in the area. Owens has 20 years with the city, Harteneck has 37 with RWPS and Ousky has 35 with the county.
All were lauded for their depth of knowledge and their unselfish use of their time.
“Jay Owens personifies the Rotarian ideals and spirit of service to others and is one of a distinguished few who has made exemplary service to others a way of life,” Red Wing Financial Director Marshall Hallock said. “I can’t think of anyone who would be more deserving than Jay.”
Those sentiments rang true for all who were honored Tuesday.
“Al is always willing to lend a hand, and he truly cares for the building, its staff and especially our students,” said Kevin Johnson, buildings, grounds and technology director for RWPS. “I’d love to be able to clone him. He’s easily one of the best, most caring people I’ve ever had the good fortune to work with.”
Recipients thanked the club for the award, as well as those who came out to support them, saying it was an honor to be recognized.
“Wow, that really kind of stuns you when you hear that about yourself,” Ousky said upon receiving the award. “I guess we never think about all the things that we do.”