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Hansen wins Pine River Chamber Distinguished Service Award

Steve Hansen had two surprises Monday night, May 12, at the 39th annual Pine River Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Service Award Banquet at Bites Grill & Bar in Pine River.

First, he learned he won the Distinguished Service Award this year. When he walked up to receive the plaque, he registered delightful surprise when his grandson, Eli, came running up to give him a hug. Hansen’s children, Joel and Jody, along with Joel’s wife, Rebecca, and their son, Eli, paid a surprise visit for the award reception.

“I’ve always been proud to serve and never wanted recognition,” said Hansen, a retired financial planner who recently established an office in Mike Clayton’s Pine River accounting office so he could continue serving people. “I never wanted to be rewarded. This is just my game.”

Chuck Nelson, the 2013 Distinguished Service Award winner, presented Hansen with his award. Nelson read from a prepared script, saying Hansen has served many communities over the years, has proven to be a person who could be counted on and has always been a positive force in whatever community he lived in.

Hansen was born and raised on a small farm in Madelia and was involved early in life with 4-H, where he won many awards and enjoyed other farm-related activities. He took over farm work after his father suffered a life-threatening heart attack.

Hansen served in the Minnesota National Guard, attaining the rank of sergeant before being honorably discharged. He attended Mankato State College and graduated from a college of business in 1969.

Hansen has been active in church, teaching confirmation, serving on the church council and singing in the choir. He has served on many boards and committees over the years, including the Pine River Library Board; the Pine River Chamber of Commerce board, where he served as president; the Pine River Area Foundation; the Lakes Bluegrass Festival Committee; the Miss Pine River Committee; the STRIVE and Interact programs at Pine River-Backus School; the Longville Community Choir; the Pine River Sportsmen’s Club; the Pine River Area Economic Development board; and

the Emmanuel Lutheran Church Education Council.

Hansen has been especially active in the Central Lakes Rotary Club, where he represented this area and was group leader on a study exchange to Finland last year. He has also served as Rotary president.

For 20 years, Hansen was active in the Farm Credit System and served as president and CEO of the Redwood Falls branch. He later was regional vice president in the Willmar region. He has worked as a bank consultant for many small, rural banks until becoming a certified financial planner. He joined Pine River State Bank in 2004 and recently retired from that position.

“When he finally finished his wife’s ‘honey do’ list after retiring, he decided he needed to keep active,” Nelson read, so established an office.

Hansen and his wife, Pat, have been married for 45 years.