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Editorial: Congrats on honor for your service

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opinion Willmar, 56201
West Central Tribune
(320) 235-6769 customer support
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

The Willmar Area Community Foundation presented several significant awards Thursday night that were well-deserved by the individuals, business and organization. The foundation’s dinner also celebrated all the donors and volunteers who make a positive difference in the community.

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The foundation’s Philanthropy Award was presented to Lachlan and Kathryn Smith of Willmar and its Community Builder Award was presented to the Otto Bremer Foundation and Bremer Bank of Willmar. Dean Anderson, a founding member of the foundation, was also honored.

A native of Ames, Iowa, Dr. Lachian “Lach” Smith completed medical school at the University of Iowa and his residency at Valley Medical Center in Fresno, Calif. He specializes in obstetrics and gynecology at Affiliated Community Medical Centers in Willmar. He has served on the board of the Willmar Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and as board and campaign chair of the United Way of West Central Minnesota. He is a director for Rice Memorial Hospital and serves on the Rice Health Foundation Board.

A graduate of Edina High School, Honorable Kathryn “Kit” Smith earned degrees at Iowa State University and the University of Iowa and attended William Mitchell Law School in St. Paul. She worked with the Schmidt, Thompson, Johnson and Moody law firm of Willmar and was appointed as a district court judge in 1997. She has served as president of the Willmar Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce, the Kandiyohi County chapter of the American Cancer Society, and co-chair of the chamber’s Leadership Perspective program. She also volunteers in numerous organizations. As a district judge, she was the lead judge for the Kkandiyohi County Children’s Justice Initiative.

“Lach” and “Kit” Smith have both served as board members for the Kandiyohi County Area Family YMCA. They were co-chairs of the United Way of West Central Minnesota Pillars Campaign. They volunteer for Meals on Wheels and helped construct the Spicer playground. The couple moved to Willmar in 1981 and have two sons, Will and Ben.

The Otto Bremer Foundation, founded by the German immigrant Otto Bremer, has a long record of assisting people in achieving full economic, civic and social participation in and for their communities. The foundation continues its foundation commitment to nearly 80 communities in Minnesota, North Dakota and western Wisconsin. The foundation has made more than $406 million in grants since its founding.

Bremer Bank in Willmar, founded in 1876, continues its institution’s long tradition of partnering with nonprofits, businesses and philanthropic donors. Bremer employees embrace the company’s vision of healthy communities through significant volunteer hours, taking leadership roles and giving generously in contributions.

One of the founding members of the Willmar Area Community Foundation, Anderson served as the first chair and the first executive of the foundation. He has now retired and will be moving to Florida this month. The foundation was launched with the assistance of Otto Bremer Foundation grants.

All of these individuals and organizations have made significant professional and personal contributions to the Willmar area community. We have been blessed and benefited from their efforts. Congratulations to all on these honors.

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