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VIDEO: HHS student Katelyn Baier is Chamber's Community Volunteer of the Year

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Hudson High School senior Katelyn Baier received the Community Volunteer of the Year Award at the Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau's annual awards banquet Tuesday evening, Jan. 22, at YMCA Camp St. Croix.

Baier started the Blankets for a Brighter Day charity in response to her experience dealing with Crohn's disease, which she was diagnosed with in 2008.

She was about to undergo a radiology test at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, when someone gave her a fleece tie blanket for comfort.

"That tie blanket made my day a little brighter and helped me get through that difficult procedure. I continue to bring that tie blanket to difficult procedures or hospital stays," Baier says on her charity's website, "Given my positive experiences, I decided I wanted to make someone's day brighter. I want to make an impact.

The charity that she created in April 2011 with younger sister, Shannon, has now donated 737 blankets to patients at Minneapolis Children's Hospital. Baier had several stays at the hospital early in her treatment for Crohn's, a disease that causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract.

LouAnne Berg, the 2012 chair of the Chamber's board of directors, introduced Baier at the Chamber banquet and presented her with the award.

Berg choked up reading about Baier's struggles and her response to them. She said it was emotional for her because she has a grandchild who was recently diagnosed with a serious illness.

Baier, the daughter of Kevin and Teresa Baier, talked about her motivation for starting Blankets for a Brighter Day in accepting the award.

A video of the award presentation is provided here.