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Paul and Teresa Saxton Honored As Citizens of the Year

By Staff | Feb 9, 2010

2010 CITIZENS OF THE YEAR – Paul and Teresa Saxton were named the 2010 Charles A. Hughes Citizens of the Year at the annual Emmetsburg Chamber of Commerce Banquet held Friday evening, Feb. 5, at the Wild Rose ballroom in Emmetsburg. John Bird nominated the Saxtons for the honor. More photos from the evening may be found on pages 7 and 8. – Lori Hall photo

“We received this letter from the Chamber Board a few weeks ago, and we were surprised,” said Paul Saxton. “We feel we don’t do anything out of the ordinary. We just do our job as citizens of the community.”

Paul and Teresa Saxton were officially recognized as the Charles A. Hughes Citizens of the Year during the 2010 Annual Emmetsburg Chamber of Commerce Banquet held Feb. 5, at Wild Rose Casino & Resort in Emmetsburg.

Paul explained that the family moved back to Emmetsburg in 1978 to start their business.

“It took a lot of work, but it also needed the support of the community,” said Paul. “It worked out pretty well. We were able to raise three boys and they helped tremendously to contribute to our success. We’ve got a lot of really good memories along the way and some sad ones.”

Paul continued, “We were taught to leave things better than we found them, so that’s been one of our goals. In closing, thank you for the wonderful ride. We just hope to live up to everyone’s expectations in the future.”

“The man of few words has pretty much said it all,” smiled Teresa Saxton. “We were truly very surprised and humbled to learn of this honor and recognition.”

Teresa stated that she has enjoyed the time she spent on the Board of Directors and her involvement with the Retail Association and the Core Group of the Retail Association.

“It’s been great to get acquainted with the other business people in town, sharing our goals and ideas, and becoming better friends,” said Teresa. “It’s been exciting to be a part of the successes that we have shared.”

Teresa added that she was particularly proud of the downtown business area beautification project and Christmas lighting project.

“We sincerely thank you for all of your years of friendship and support,” Teresa concluded.

Paul and Teresa Saxton were nominated as Citizens of the Year by John Bird.

“I know of no other members of the Emmetsburg community more deserving of this award, and considering the fact that they will be entering retirement in 2010, it is more fitting that they be recognized now for their valuable contributions over the last few years,” said Bird.

Bird noted that Teresa Saxton is a valuable asset to the community. Teresa was instrumental in the creation of the Emmetsburg Chamber of Commerce’s Retail Association subcommittee and served as a member of the group until the recent sale of the couple’s business, Saxton’s Greenhouse and Flowers.

“It is my understanding that Teresa continues to assist with the Retail Association’s activities whenever and wherever she can,” Bird added.

Teresa and Paul were instrumental in bringing the flower planters, benches, and waste receptacles–as part of the downtown beautification project–to downtown Emmetsburg. For years, they have also spearheaded the spring plantings in the community’s business district and have always volunteered their hands during Make A Difference Day.

“As my time as City Administrator, I have had the pleasure of working with Paul Saxton on a regular basis over the past 14 and a half years, “ Bird stated.

Paul currently serves on the Emmetsburg Municipal Utilities Board of Trustees and has since his initial appointment in 1995. He also serves as the chairman of the City of Emmetsburg Parks and Recreation Board. He was first appointed to the board in 1991, and has served as chairman since 1992. Paul served on the Industrial Development Board until the board was disbanded and replaced with Emmetsburg Community Development Corporation.

“What many of you may not know is that Paul has represented Emmetsburg’s Bethany Lutheran Church on the Lakeside Lutheran Home Board for the past 15 years, and both Teresa and Paul have served on Bethany Lutheran’s Church Council,” Bird added.

The couple remains active in their church with Teresa recently taking on the responsibility of secretary for the church parish.

“We all have come to know the Saxtons as people who quietly go about their business–that business often being service of others before themselves,” Bird concluded. “Paul and Teresa Saxton exemplify the meaning of the phrase ‘Actions speak louder than words’.”

Old Friends, New Faces

Nancy Janssen, mistress of ceremonies for the evening, thanked outgoing Executive Director Cecilia Miller for her time with the Chamber of Commerce.

“Cecilia is the reason the Chamber of Commerce is at the level it is right now,” said Janssen. “It was through her hard work and dedication that we are where we are today.”

Janssen acknowledged Katie Kahler, the new Executive Director of the Emmetsburg Chamber of Commerce.

“I really feel like I’m in a good spot to take over,” said Kahler. “I hope the future holds nothing but success for both me, personally, and the Chamber, but on that same note, I do welcome your comments, your questions, and your opinions.”

Three-term Chamber President Rick Jones, Doug Welander, and Teresa Saxton were recognized by Chamber President Dan McCain for their contributions to the Chamber Board.

Chamber Supporters

2010 Chamber Board Members include President Dan McCain and Vice President Brent McAllister. Other members are Greg Hoyman, Nancy Janssen, Deb Knight, Mary Cooper, Rick Jones, Doug Welander, Audrey Niemann, Jay Jurrens, Michelle James, and Tim McCain.

2009 Retail Association Core Group members honored were Co-Chairs Deb Hite and Laura Blanchet and members Ann Wood, Michelle James, Kathy Jackson, Ruth Brown, and Cecilia Miller.

This year’s Above & Beyond Sponsors include Martin-Mattice Funeral Home, Poet Bio-Refining – Emmetsburg, Ag Processing Inc. (AGP), Farmers National Company, and Iowa Trust & Savings Bank.

Welcome Center volunteers were honored for their contributions, as well. Volunteers include Louise Harrison, Ginger Blatchford, Myrna Heddinger, Kaye Curran, Bev Norland, Pat Steffen, and Mary C. Parsons.

Members of the 2009 KEMB-LP Radio Station Advisory Committee were recognized, including John Schad, Brent McAllister, Greg Hoyman, Ron Seaman, Bernadette Merrill, and Radio Station General Manager Jennifer Meyer.