People who know Cindy Hidde are used to seeing her giant smile. Wide eyes matched that smile when Hidde learned she is the 2019 Greater Pequot Lakes Area Citizen of the Year.

“Wow, I wasn’t expecting that,” Hidde said upon learning of the honor Monday, July 15, as she was gathering the ingredients that go into the secret recipe beans for Bean Hole Days.

Hidde has been helping at the Pequot Lakes mid-week event since 2014, taking over as co-chair since 2015. That’s just one of many hats this busy wife, mother and co-owner of Stonemark Land Surveying wears.

In his nomination letter, Kirk Schnitker called Hidde a “truly honorable and ethical businesswoman” and “extremely active in community, youth and business related activities.”

Following is a list of those activities, in addition to Hidde’s involvement in Bean Hole Days: chair of the Pequot Lakes Stars & Stripes Days from 2011-14, and on that event’s committee in 2010; longtime Pequot Lakes Chamber Advisory Board member; active member of the Pequot Promoters group; board member at Gloria Dei Church, where she has taught youth religion classes; mentor for the STRIVE program for at-risk students at Pequot Lakes High School; longtime member of the North Country Networking group; active with area Toastmasters groups; and a volunteer with the Miss Pequot Lakes Scholarship Pageant, where she’s helped candidates with public speaking skills, and with the Black Bear 4-H Club.

“Cynthia M. Hidde is an exceptional model citizen and volunteer who gives of herself to others,” Schnitker said. “Those others include youth, students, people in need and her fellow Pequot area folk. Additionally, she simply works to promote Pequot and be a good citizen.”

The nomination included six supporting statements from community members.

“Cindy volunteers countless hours for our town events and traditions with proudly being the (co-)chair for the Pequot Lakes Bean Hole Days celebration,” one reads, praising how Hidde helps Miss Pequot Lakes candidates. “She will go out of her way and schedule extra time outside of our pageant rehearsals to help the girls with their presentation.”

Another said, “She is a great role model for our citizens and youth on how to be a great community member.” And yet another said, “Cindy is always looking for ways to improve her skills set, then in turn educate clients, friends, family about the importance of knowing your boundaries. Above and beyond her career, however, she is a dedicated community leader and volunteer that embraces our small town.”

Hidde strongly believes in volunteering to help a community be strong.

“I just think strong business and strong community helps build strong families,” she said. “That’s why I do what I do - not only to help my business and my family, but the community. It feels good to give back and not always take.”

Nomination statements recognized the smile Hidde always has on her face, her love of helping others and supporting her community, her dedication and drive, her positive attitude, community-mindedness and can-do spirit.

“Her passion and positive attitude she brings to countless committees, action groups, clubs and others have truly made the Pequot Lakes area a better place to live,” a statement said.

Hidde volunteers in the community while running a business full time and while she and her husband, Tim, support their children - Tyler, 16, and Amber, 14 - in their activities, which include sports, 4-H and church events.

“She understands that a thriving town benefits everyone and she often is one of the first people to volunteer her time and talents,” one statement said.

The Echo Journal sponsors the Greater Pequot Lakes Area Citizen of the Year award.

Past winners

Past winners include: Renee Anderson, 2017; Clarice Blaeser, 2016; Susan Mathison-Young, 2015; Dave Badger, 2014; JoAnn Weaver, 2013; Tina Grewe, 2012; Dick Wilske, 2011; Wini Kristufek, 2010; Dave Guenther, 2009; Bob Spizzo, 2008; Forbes and Germaine Martinson, 2006; Cathy Malecha, 2005; Joe and Barb Bergquist, 2004; Ron and Darlene Schaefer, 2003; Erik Loge, 2002; Bernice Rohde, 2001; Dan Frank, 2000; Dorothy Yund, 1999; Kathy Trees, 1997; Laine Litzau, 1996; and Ed Larsen, 1995.

There was no 2018 winner because the award changed from a December announcement to July to coincide with the Pequot Lakes Chamber’s Bean Hole Days community picnic, when other community leaders are recognized.