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Day By Day: Hudson makes good on the national New Year's resolution

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opinion River Falls, 54022
River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

It was kind of fun last week watching the entire nation make a sort of collective New Year's resolution that we can do better.

There's not much to argue about when it comes to that. But after attending last week's Chamber of Commerce awards dinner and a committee meeting here and there, I ended up feeling pretty good about the resolve we already have going for us in Hudson.

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The awards dinner is always fun. It is timed perfectly -- a chance to eat out after cleaning up a month's worth of leftovers and just long enough after Christmas to make dressing up again less of a pain. There are people there you don't get to see but once or twice a year, new faces that mean the business news isn't all bad, and lots of folks who have continually found ways to make life in our town better.

This year's Marie Blakeman Award for Community Service went to Dick and Georgia Whitcomb, one of our town's cutest and most committed couples. Cute in their case is because I have never seen one or the other of them that they didn't have smiles that could warm up a room. Mrs. Blakeman's daughter, Barbara Richardson, always presents the award and her list of the Whitcombs' work around Hudson went beyond impressive all the way to amazing. Listening to their litany of good works, I was struck by how often I see them at this thing or the other while I'm covering things for the Star-Observer, or just running around and kind of take it for granted.

They are just like me I'm sure -- busy with doctor appointments, family things, trying to keep up with friends, getting the garbage disposal fixed and trying to keep the ever-encroaching clutter at bay (well, maybe not the clutter; they look pretty neat to me). Those things all seem to provide me with an excuse to not do as much as I should or could for others. People like Dick and Georgia just seem to add that stuff to the list and get at it all. They are a living lesson to us all.

John Marnell was honored as Community Volunteer of the Year. He's another busy retired guy in Hudson. I used to think the late Willis Miller and Kay Johnson were the only people in town who didn't really grasp the concept of retirement. But I'm beginning to think it's in the water. A lot of people around here are just like the Energizer bunny. They may switch gears but they keep on going. John Marnell is one of those people and the kind of guy who when he calls you honey, it makes you smile, not cringe.

I met another woman last week at the Youth Action Hudson talent show committee meeting. Pat Dietz invited about seven of us to her house and had fresh popcorn waiting. It was like heaven. She said it was better than meeting at the high school, and I was surprised by what a difference it made.

Pat has been a widow less than a year. She and her husband moved here two years ago. She said it has been hard to adjust to her new single status, but she made up her mind to get back into the game. A retired educator, she wants to do what she can to help kids in Hudson. But even after just one meeting with Pat, it's clear that she, too, will be going those extra miles to help where she can.

She has already snagged a role at The Phipps and just missed another in the upcoming "Steel Magnolias." And she is helping to launch a sort of senior singles group at Family Fresh. The idea came to her on senior discount day when she realized she was one of a lot of people shopping by themselves. Why not get to know one another and share a cup of coffee?

She approached the store management, and a good idea got a great reception.

The father/daughter team of Andy and Brooke Brokaw co-chair the St. Croix Valley Youth Court and recently gave up a Saturday to pitch some prospective new volunteers on an organization that tries to put a positive spin on that first frightening brush with the law.

In the 20 years we've lived in Hudson, I've met countless people like Dick and Georgia, the Brokaws and John and new folks like Pat.

So when our new president made his call to action last week regardless of what party you belong to or what religion you are or the color of your skin, I felt pretty good about the fact that Hudson may already have all that going on and then some.

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Hudson Star Observer 715-386-9891 customer support
Meg Heaton has been a reporter with the Hudson Star Observer since 1990. She has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Native American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
(715) 808-8604
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