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Paynesville Press - April 13, 2005

Three to be honored with Distinguished Alumni Awards

By Michael Jacobson

Gladys Deadrick (Class of 1925), Joe Pung (Class of 1961), and Dr. Jim Hess (Class of 1971) will be honored with Distinguished Alumni Awards from the "Keep the Quality" Education Foundation this month.

The Distinguished Alumni Award intends to recognize the accomplishments of Paynesville graduates. Qualifications for the award are loose; it is meant to honor PHS graduates "who have distinguished themselves in their careers, in public service, or through other significant contributions to society."

"Too often, we overlook the achievements and accomplishments of those 'ordinary people' who grew up in our community and graduated from our school," said Paul Bugbee, the president of the "Keep the Quality" Education Foundation. "In reality, there are many PHS alumni who have made a positive impact on our world through their contributions, their success, and their commitment to others. These are people of whom we can be proud, knowing that their origin and education started right here in our hometown."

Last year, the 'Keep the Quality" Education Foundation bestowed its inaugural Distinguished Alumni Awards to Ken Olson (Class of 1963), Ron Olsen (Class of 1966), and Bruce Stang (Class of 1977).

The "Keep the Quality" board selected this year's trio from dozens of successful PHS alumni.

Gladys Deadrick graduated from Paynesville High School in 1925. She worked at several restaurants, including in Minneapolis and Chicago, and owned and operated a steakhouse in Paynesville and operated a resort on Rice Lake.

In retirement, Gladys was an active advocate for seniors and established a home-delivered meal program for local seniors. This program was the only in the state to be supported solely by local donations.

Joe Pung grew up in St. Martin and starred as an athlete at PHS, where he graduated in 1961. He played football at the University of Minnesota under Murry Warmath, serving as captain and being named team MVP in 1964.

His teaching career also started at the Unversity of Minnesota, as he earned a master's degree in education and started teaching business classes at the University while also serving as an assistant football coach. He taught for 32 years in the Osseo School District and also worked for over 30 years for the Chisago County Sheriff's Department as a summer water patrol deputy.

Jim Hess graduated from PHS in 1971. After attending the University of Minnesota, he went to optometry school in Illinois, where he was introduced to foreign mission trips. He has operated a private practice in Chaska, Minn., for 25 years, during which time he has taken or led 35 mission trips to the Third World. He has served as president of VOSH (Volunteer Optometric Service to Humanity)-Minnesota since 1983 and has served on the board of VOSH-International for 11 years.

These three Distinguished Alumni Award winners will be recognized at a banquet at Northern Lights Dining and Lounge on Friday, April 22. Social hour starts at 6 p.m., dinner at 7 p.m., and awards program at 8 p.m. Tickets - available at the Press - are $20 in advance or $25 at the door.

(Editor's Note: Jacobson is a board member of the "Keep the Quality" Education Foundation and helped organize the Distinguished Alumni Award for the foundation.)

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