Distinguished Service Awards Banquet Honors Community Members In Brainerd Lakes Area
On Thursday night, the Brainerd Jaycees paired with Brainerd Community Action to host the 2019 Distinguished Service Awards. 12 individuals along with the Brainerd YMCA were honored for their service in the community at The Woods in Brainerd.
“In our community, everybody just comes together to make something amazing and tonight is just a great opportunity for us to celebrate that,” said Brainerd Community Action Executive Director Casie Carey.
The awards given out by the Brainerd Jaycees and Brainerd Community Action all revolve around giving back to the community.
“There are so many people out in our community making a difference, we had so many letters come in this year for nominees and it was fantastic to read through all of the letters from everyone in the community that wanted to nominate people,” said Brainerd Jaycees Distinguished Service Awards Chair Cassandra Clarken.
After those letters were read through, the selections were made and the award recipients received an emotional surprise.
“Tears were shed at every single one of them, tears of joy, happiness, and when you get the chance to surprise people who don’t always get that recognition and really don’t do it for recognition, it makes it even better,” said Carey.
For some Distinguished Service Award winners, something as simple as volunteering can go a long way.
“It can be a smile, it can be helping someone rake their yard, or you can volunteer like I do for non-profits,” said Jeanne Larson, 2019 Outstanding Female Senior Citizen.
With members of the community being recognized for their service, the hope is that other members will be touched by their actions and want to help out as well.
“I think what happens is when you’re recognizing the good work that goes on, you get a sense of empathy, you put yourself in their shoes going, ‘oh my gosh, I didn’t realize there was an opportunity to do that in the community,'” said Carey.
“I’ve lived in Brainerd for 67 years and I love it; everybody is so kind and people do appreciate any effort that you make,” said Larson.
“If we could measure it, what would be the collective impact of just totally normal people, like I’m just a totally normal person and they are too, we’re all just sort of putting our shoulder into making this community something amazing,” said Cori Reynolds, 2019 Outstanding Educator Of The Year.
This year’s Distinguished Service Awards banquet was another success, and the tradition of honoring members in the Brainerd Lakes Area plans to continue for years to come.