For those of you who know me well, or have known me over my 20-plus years here at The Reporter and The Democrat, you know I don't really like being out in the spotlight. I'm a lot more comfortable behind the scenes, getting things done I always have been.
But on to the matter at hand.
A little background is in order. Every year, the Emmetsburg Chamber of Commerce sponsors several annual awards to recognize people in the community for their contributions and efforts. There is the Catalyst Award, an award for those under 40 and the Citizen of the Year. The awards are based on nominations by local residents to the Chamber Board, who review the nominations and make their selections. The winners of these awards are notified in advance and then recognized at the annual Chamber Banquet.
I've been to several of these banquets over the years, providing the sound system for the evening's program and sharing in the celebration of the accomplishments of so many great community-minded people.
Anyhow, a week ago, I left Emmetsburg on Wednesday evening the 15th, after a school board meeting, to head to Des Moines for the State Wrestling Tournament. I spent all day Thursday and until 6:30 on Friday evening at the tournament, and then returned home for a few hours of sleep, only to rise at 4 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18, to travel with the High School Show Choirs to competition in Pella. It was around 10:30 or so Saturday morning I received a text message from Deb Hite "I need to visit with you sometime today about the Chamber Banquet, whenever you can."
About 2:15 in the afternoon, I was able to call Deb back, and found out there was a letter waiting for me at the Post Office, informing me I had been selected as the Citizen of the Year by the Chamber. By the way, as of Thursday, I?still haven't seen that letter in my mailbox. Go Figure!
Needless to say, I had a hard time processing that bit of information it seemed surreal to me. Besides, there was still a show choir performance to take place a couple of hours later to focus on.
Getting home from Pella about 4 a.m. Sunday, the enormity of this honor began to really sink in as I got back into the "regular" lifestyle after a hectic few days.
And then, of course, Mother Nature steps in on Friday with a snowstorm, forcing the postponement of the Chamber Banquet until Friday, March 10.
So now, I've got more time to think on this whole situation. The one thing that keeps running through my mind is that I don't deserve this honor. There are so many other people in this community who do so much more they are more active on boards activities than I am. There are countless people who give of their talents to coach Little League, serve as Foster Parents, teach Sunday School, serve as 4-H club leaders and such.
I am just blessed to work in a community that has so many wonderful opportunities available to its people. To not take advantage of such opportunities is a shame.
Growing up on the family farm, I learned that you help others whenever you can because that's what neighbors did.
If a farmer was ill, his neighbors brought their combines and harvested his crops. The standard response of any farmer was, "Well, he'd do the same for me."
I saw my father do this many times, helped him often with events like that, and I just understood that this was part of the Golden Rule "Do unto others as you would have done for you."
Maybe it sounds corny in today's world, but it's still a basic rule in my life and I'll keep on doing what I do as long as I?am able. My biggest personal failing is that I can't seem to pronounce that "N" word NO!
But yet, I still don't feel as though I should be recognized for this. It's who I've been for a long time, who I am, and who I hope to continue to be for a long time to come. I'd much rather see all of you share in this honor because without your support, your encouragement and your friendships, I wouldn't have stuck around so many years. So, to all of you, this award is truly yours, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing it with me.
But if I?could ask one thing of you - if you are asked to volunteer or lend a hand for an event - be brave- take a chance. Say "yes"?and roll up your sleeves.
Now, let's all gear up for the Show Choir Invitational, St. Pat's Weekend, Ag Outlook, Auction Fest, Track and Field season, Golf Season, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Palo Alto County Fair,