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Vogt's Notes: We are surrounded by stellar people

There are so many people in the lakes area who qualify for a citizen of the year title. No one thinks he or she deserves it, and that's part of what makes it so fun to surprise people with the honor. They always say there are other people more deserving.

The most recent residents recognized as citizens of the year or distinguished business people in our communities are Renee Anderson, of Pequot Lakes; Ray Schrupp, of Pine River; and Lynn Fairbanks, of Nisswa. Read about Anderson in this week's Echo Journal.

All are deserving of the accolades for very different reasons. None considered herself or himself worthy.

Believe me, all deserve the recognition received.

Also worth noting are the citizens who nominate fellow residents for these awards. Considering busy schedules, it does take a concentrated effort to nominate someone. You can't just send in a name. You have to explain why you think the person deserves the award.

The Nisswa Chamber of Commerce sponsors the Nisswa Citizen of the Year award, and the Pine River Chamber of Commerce presents the Distinguished Service Award each year. The Echo Journal highlights a Pequot Lakes-Breezy Point-Crosslake area Citizen of the Year each December.

Speaking for the Echo Journal, we appreciate the time people devote and research they undertake to submit a nomination. Please know we do keep these nominations for future consideration. It's a difficult decision each year as we'd like to recognize everyone who is nominated. Quite honestly, they are all deserving and have contributed much to our lakes area communities. We have yet to receive a "dud" nomination.

Many other organizations and clubs honor people who exceed the call of duty. It's a great way to show that people's efforts — no matter how big or small — are appreciated.

Let's hope we are all doing our best to make our communities great places to live. I know we can all rattle off at least a dozen names of people who have gone above and beyond in some way to make our world a better place. And they do so without wanting or expecting any special recognition or awards.

That's part of what makes our communities such wonderful places to live. We are surrounded by hard-working and caring people.

Congratulations to our most recent citizens of the year and distinguished business people. You're all humble, but also well deserving of the awards you've received.