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Editorial: Van De Walker is fine citizen

Larry Van De Walker is always ready to help a cause or help with a project that benefits fellow citizens.

Sometimes the Wanamingo resident leads the way. Sometimes he provides the manual labor. Sometimes he raises the funds. He's always "there."

Every community should have a Larry Van De Walker.

The Goodhue County Editorial Association honored Van De Walker last week by naming him the 2012 Goodhue County Citizen of the Year. The four member newspapers -- Cannon Falls Beacon, Kenyon Leader, News-Record of Zumbrota and Red Wing Republican Eagle -- made the announcement public today by simultaneously publishing front-page stories in our respective editions.

Van De Walker considers himself a typical small-town resident: you chip in to make things work. He says his parents incorporated the value of public service into his upbringing, so he tries to live up to their example and that of his mentors over the years.

Among the things that make him special, however, is that Van De Walker often doesn't have a personal stake in the projects. The point isn't that one of his children -- they're grown -- will benefit from better ballfields, for example, but that any local child benefits. He gets other people involved and committed as a result. And serves up many a spaghetti dinner.

"I should have brought tickets tonight!" he quipped when accepting his citizen of the year honor.

Van De Walker is never one to miss an opportunity to help others.

The Goodhue County Editorial Association is pleased to take this opportunity to recognize him for all he does.