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All hail the heroes --

Once every year, since 2002, the United Way of Becker County has held a special luncheon to celebrate the area's "everyday heroes."

The Celebration of Heroes Luncheon also honors area rescue workers, firefighters and law enforcement officers, as well as those serving in the U.S. Armed Forces past and present.

But special recognition is given to two people -- one adult, one youth -- whose actions, over the course of their everyday lives, might be considered heroic in the eyes of those for whom they made a difference.

This year's Everyday Hero Award recipients were Sue Berg (adult) and Abby Einerson (youth).

Berg's list of volunteer activities is a long one. In addition to being a wife and mother of two daughters, she also works full-time and volunteers with not only the United Way, but also the Morning Rotary Club, Relay for Life and children's literacy programs.

While her two daughters were growing up, Berg was a Campfire Leader, Soccer Club board member and DL Blades coordinator.

But despite all these accomplishments, according to her daughter Jennifer, "I think she would say that Kari and I are her biggest accomplishment. She is a person we can look up to, a woman I aspire to be, and a mother I hope to become."

Einerson, who is a seventh grader at Detroit Lakes Middle School this year, has served as an inspiration to many through overcoming not only diabetes, but also a non-cancerous tumor in her hip that left her confined to a wheelchair for many months.

Einerson, a gymnast prior to her diagnosis, has returned to the sport and is now a member of the Laker varsity gymnastics team as well as the soccer team. In addition, she is a flute player and honor roll student.

As United Way 2008 Chairwoman Sue Braun noted in her introduction, "Her diabetes has made her aware of the importance of taking care of herself. She does not see her circumstances as being a roadblock for achieving her goals, just a different path."

Also honored at the luncheon was 2008 Bob Harris Memorial Award winner Dixie Johnson.

Named in honor of longtime Detroit Lakes community activist Bob Harris, the award is given annually to someone who personifies the traits of "Commitment to Community, compassion and service combined with extraordinary leadership."

Johnson, who was an elected member of the Detroit Lakes City Council for 23 years, has also served on the boards of the Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce, Emmanuel Community Foundation, Hospice of the Red River Valley, St. Mary's Foundation, League of Woman's Voters, Detroit Lakes Community & Cultural Center, Beta Sigma Phi Sorority, the Lakes Women's Society and the Detroit Lakes Kiwanis Club.

She has been a member of the Detroit Lakes Public Utilities Commission for the past seven years and the Detroit Lakes Development Authority for the past 22 years.

Said Mayor Larry Bu-boltz: "She is extremely dedicated. Much of the de- velopment in our community can be attributed to her leadership on the committees she served on. In the 32 years I served with her on the city council she was not only my 'right hand person,' but also my 'left hand person.' Simply put, she has made a difference in this community. I thank her for her service."

United Way Community Spirit Awards were also presented to Detroit Lakes High School teacher Bonnie Mohs (individual award) and SJE Rhombus (business award).

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454