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Editorial: Seven salutes for distinguished community members

The community honored four more of its own this week. A couple weeks ago, three public servants were recognized.

The Red Wing area is blessed to have many people who go above and beyond, whether in their jobs or personal lives or both. And typically it is both, because that's the sort of person each one of these individuals is.

The Republican Eagle Editorial Board joins in saluting these seven individuals:

Bob Behrens, Red Wing Neighbor of 2017. The Noontime Kiwanis member is fundraiser extraordinaire when it comes to the mission of improving the world one child and one community at a time. His leadership to purchase a concert grand piano (dedicated with a grand concert) for Red Wing High School is just one example. Of late, he is working with the city on a plan to create a national park-like overlook at Memorial Park to replace the one that is eroding.

• Ethan Seaberg, Service Above Self award. His official title is Goodhue County right-of-way agent program manager — a post he holds with distinction. He's perhaps best known outside of work, however, for leading the summer lunch program that feeds kids who otherwise would go hungry and for the Salsalicious fundraiser that helps so many nonprofits in turn help people.

• Ron Rosenthal, Service Above Self. He's Red Wing's city engineering director. Think Highway 61/Main Street reconstruction. Think "century infrastructure legacy" projects. Need anyone say more?

• Chris Rodgers, Service Above Self. Many students identify the social worker as the heart of Red Wing High School. Now on permanent leave, he created a news wall to share students' successes. Most important of all, his presence in the hallway and his open door created a sense of belonging and acceptance. Some kids do better simply knowing someone cares.

• Lisa Bayley, Red Wing Women's Hall of Fame. The lawyer and former City Council member ran for the Minnesota Legislature last year, but more importantly several organizations have benefited from her involvement and legal know-how. Currently she is assisting the growing Hispanic population.

• Evy Wedde, Women's Hall of Fame. She put in 39 years at what today the community calls Minnesota State College Southeast, joining the team when the former vocational school entered its fourth year. No one knows how many women and men she helped in a variety of ways take steps toward professional success.

• Finally, Ruth Nerhaugen, Women's Hall of Fame. She is one of the Republican Eagle's own, so editorializing about her makes the traditional journalist a bit uncomfortable. After all, she covered the news — not made it — and continues in retirement to write occasionally for the RE. Once a reporter, always a reporter. Still, she is so much more now that she is free to take all that she learned while covering the community and turning her time and talents to bettering our community, through the arts, Red Wing Heritage Preservation Commission, Goodhue County Historical Society, Lions, AAUW and a host of nonprofits.

The region is blessed indeed to have seven individuals worthy of recognition. We know there are many more out there working every day in big and small ways to make this a wonderful place to live, work and play.

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