PRINCETON – Mardy Butterfield does everything with a smile, says Maureen Gould of the Princeton Civic Betterment Club.
A retired nurse, Butterfield always goes the extra mile, Gould said.
“She goes the extra mile, whether she’s volunteering or with family,” Gould said.
Butterfield was among a handful of people honored Wednesday, April 12, for going the extra mile in supporting Princeton civic groups, businesses and organizations at the Princeton Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual Distinguished Service Awards banquet. The longtime event founded and originally hosted by the VFW Auxiliary is held the Wednesday during National Volunteer Week at the Princeton Civic Center.
Butterfield was the recipient of the Civic Betterment Club’s distinguished service award.
“It’s one of the nicest compliments I have ever received,” said Butterfield, who bakes pies for Immanuel Lutheran Church in Princeton and was said to be quite a bread-baker.
She also gave a nod to her fellow members.
“There is no one in the Civic Betterment who doesn’t deserve this award,” she said.
Jerry Whitcomb, the longtime commander of the Princeton American Legion Post, received a meritorious service award for his years of service to the Legion.
Current Legion Commander Randy Hatch presented Whitcomb with the award and noted that Whitcomb served 11 straight years as commander and presided over both the sale of the Legion’s former home at the former Steven’s Restaurant site and the long-term lease of the Civic Center as the Legion’s current post home.
“I’m proud to be a Legionnaire,” Whitcomb said.
The Legion Auxiliary honored Sandy Edson with a lifetime membership at the DSA banquet.
Linda Anderson, auxiliary president, likened Edson’s membership to indentured servitude.
“Once you get a lifetime achievement, you can’t get out,” Anderson said.
Pam Schlagel of the auxiliary noted that Edson is a person who goes the extra mile to get things done, including chairing an upcoming fundraiser that benefits scholarships for Princeton High School seniors.
“I’m very proud and honored to receive this award,” Edson said.
“Being involved in many things makes me feel good inside,” she added.
The Princeton School District and its living and learning program awarded three recipients with distinguished service awards. All three of the honorees – Robert Hassenfelt, Debbie Marko and Joan Zeug – are volunteers who work with students.
Marko and Zeug are Reading Corps members. Jogn Beach, intermediate school principal, described Zeug as having an amazing passion for kids.
“Working at the school is easy for me,” Zeug said, “because I work with such wonderful people.”
She added, “I learn as much from the kids as they learn from me.”
Marko called her work at the school “very, very rewarding.”
“The kids put a smile on my face, especially when you see the light bulb when they get something. It’s so rewarding,” she said.
Hassenfelt has tutored math in the school district for 14 years.
Dan Voce, middle school principal, who introduced Hassenfelt, noted how he knew Hassenfelt only as “Pastor Bob” all those years and only on the night of the DSA awards banquet did he learn Hassenfelt had a last name.
“I always saw this guy walking into the school with a briefcase looking like Professor Gadget,” Voce said. “I’d see him go into classrooms and up and down aisles helping kids.”
Voce said he learned later that inside Hassenfelt’s briefcase were copies of the students’ homework.
“He does their homework a couple days in advance so he can stay ahead of the kids,” Voce said.
Hassenfelt joked that Voce was a brave man when he handed the microphone to a minister so he could speak.
But on a serious note, Hassenfelt said he has found a home at Princeton Middle School.
“I thank the principal and teachers for allowing me to come into the classroom and be the big kid,” he said.
Mama Gracie’s Pregnancy Shop & Spa honored Amanda Wilde, who is a local doula and serves as the president of the Minnesota Families for Midwifery.
Among her accomplishments, Wilde formed a group of local professionals serving families during pregnancy, said Faith Goenner, owner of Mama Gracie’s.
Goenner also shared a story of how Wilde donated doula services to a local 19-year-old mother, a gesture that changed the life of the young, expecting mother.
Wilde shows leadership, compassion and has a heart for families, Goenner said.
The VFW auxiliary honored three people with distinguished service awards – Greg Kahl, Rosemary Papesh and Joalyn Welte – and named Dotty Dehn as the 2017 Sweetheart Queen.
Dehn joked as she came forward to accept her award.
“I told them absolutely not!” when she was approached as being a candidate for Sweetheart Queen, she said.
Finally, the Princeton Rotary Club presented its club secretary Michelle Czech with a distinguished service award. President Eric Zebrowski noted all the “little things” Czech does to ensure that the club functions smoothly.