This is the second year the chamber requested nominations from the public for outstanding farmer, young person, boss of the year, employee of the year and community service award. Steve Brisendine, president, said they received between 30 and 40 nominations for the five categories.
Winners were: Outstanding Young Person, Josh Mueller, son of Butch and Bev Mueller. Josh is a senior at Paynesville Area High School. His nomination form read: Josh is a very pleasant person to be around. He uses a sense of humor and a smile to brighten other peopleís day. He is very involved in activities in the school and community. He attended the National Youth Leadership Conference in 1995 in Washington, D.C., and he bags a mean sack of groceries.
Community Service Award was presented to Dean Hanson. His nomination read Hanson is a long-time business owner as well as a concerned community member. Our award recipient goes above and beyond volunteering his time. He uses all resources available to him to make life better for all residents of the Paynesville area. His main belief is that young people are a great asset so let's nurture them to their greatest potential. This belief has led to years of service on the local school board.
Boss of the Year honors went to Willie LaCroix. LaCroix has shown great foresight and drive to achieve what is best for the community. He is very caring towards staff (238 employees) and others; community, church and family are all important to him. Without him, Paynesville Area Health Care System would not be what it is today.
Employee of the Year honors went to Donna Coulter. She has been the kind of employee every business dreams of. She is very efficient, reliable and responsible; learned to adapt to change. She has been an involved community member. Her employer, H.F. Paul, says he wouldn't know what to do without her.
Keith and Roman Schaefer were named Outstanding Farmers. They were known for quality and production with a small herd. They have turned that small operation into one of the larger farms in Stearns County. They took their time and researched their growth plan, meeting with industry professionals while carefully planning this expansion over a three-year period. They have proven that you can expand a dairy to a large scale operation and still keep it a "family farm."
Under the business portion of the evening, Brian Klingman and Rosie Lieser were elected to two-year terms on the board and Bev Mueller was elected second vice president.
Outgoing president Lee Landsteiner outlined some of the events of the year. The new event for 1996 was Breakfast with Santa at 700 Stearns. French toast sticks and sausage links, milk and coffee were served to about 80 children and 50 adults. The children were given the opportunity to get their picture taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus.
The children were also able to watch a movie and listen to stories told by Kim Kloster, Miss Paynesville, and Erin Pelton, her princess. Every child was given a bag with an activity book, crayons, note pad and an apple.
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