Every time the City of Minot seeks public input on recognizing residents who go out of their way to help the community, we’re reminded of the countless selfless acts that often go unnoticed.
At last week’s State of the City event, we honored Eric Locken as the Citizen of the Year. Eric has worked in many ways to help families in need and put books in the hands of elementary students, among others good deeds. Eric exemplifies what we wanted in a Citizen of the Year, and we were happy this week to make a $1,000 donation from Farmers Union Insurance in Eric’s name to Project BEE.
But honestly, everyone who was nominated this year was deserving of the award. Maryanne Lafontaine, Jim Rostad, Tim Baumann, David Anderson, Amy Smith, Tony Mueller, Chuck Betts, Roxy Corey, Jackie Jensen, Heather Lier, Kelli Rosselli-Sullivan, Derek Morse, Nick Cavallo, and Chuck Kranz could all have been selected as Citizen of the Year for their outstanding efforts to help make their community a better place to live.
And that’s a great thing for Minot.
When I saw the number of nominations this year, I was ecstatic. The fact that residents took time to nominate someone who has made a difference in their life or the lives of someone they know was a reassuring sign that Minot residents are actively involved in their community.
When I read all the nomination this year, I was humbled. The variety of nominees and their wide-ranging efforts to keep the sense of community spirit alive in Minot was amazing. It reinforced what I already knew: There are good deeds happening every day throughout Minot – if we simply take a moment to notice.
That, perhaps, is the hardest part of the whole process. Everyone is busy these days, making it difficult to really see and appreciate the great things going on around us. Work eats up a good chunk of our daily lives. If our children or other members of our family are involved in school-related activities or other endeavors, we want to be there to support them. That doesn’t leave much time and energy for volunteering or our personal interests, and it surely doesn’t leave much time to simply watch what’s happening in our part of the world.
Some of the acts of kindness we might be missing are often almost imperceptible. The rival basketball players who exchange a congratulatory handshake after a hard-fought game, no matter who won. Someone entering a building holding the door open for an elderly person behind them. The teacher who stays a few minutes after class to help a student. The driver who stops to check if another motorist needs help. The neighbor who shovels someone else’s sidewalk.
It’s important to point out all of these good deeds – big or small - when we see them. Why? Because not only are we reinforcing positive behavior by recognizing those who perform these actions, we must always remember that others are watching us.
Our children are watching. Our grandchildren and great-grandchildren are watching. Long before they send their children off to school, parents are their kids’ first and most important teachers and role models. What we do, how we live our daily lives, and how we lead by example matters to the next generations.
Getting 15 nominations for this year’s Citizen of the Year was great, but I hope the list of nominees for next year’s award is even longer. I hope the decision on who to choose is much more difficult. That will be a continuation of what was started this year, and it would be yet another acknowledgement that Minot truly is home to great people who are willing to do whatever it takes to make their community a better place.
If you look for the magic in Minot, I promise you’ll find it every day. In 2022, let’s challenge ourselves to simply take notice.
Sincerely, City Hall
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