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Tribune editorial: Four honored for helping build our community

Willmar is an exceptional city where people, businesses, organizations and city government work together for continual improvements to build and move our community forward.

The Willmar Area Community Foundation's honorees this week are prime examples of individuals and businesses who help make Willmar what it is today.

Award in Philanthropy

The 16 founding members of the Willmar Area Community Foundation Board of Directors received the Award in Philanthropy. These members worked together to create the foundation to help meet the Willmar area community needs and foster philanthropy in the community.

The original members include: Chairman Dean Anderson, vice chairman Ken Warner, John B. Anderson, Diane Buzzeo, Lorraine Browne, Wilton Croonquist, Steve Freese, Les Heitke, Greg Hilding, Phyllis Jacobson, Maynard Lawrence, Smitty Luschen, Mike McCain, John Nelson, Earl B. Olson and Kim Snyder.

This group of individuals created the direction of what became the Willmar Area Community Foundations.

Congratulations to each of the 16 founders.

Marv Otto Award

The late Dorothy Timm Meili has been honored with the Marv Otto Award. A native of Wood Lake where she began teaching piano, she initiated the music therapy program at the Faribault State Hospital and opened a music studio in Faribault. She moved to Willmar in 2001 and enjoyed the music and art culture.

She created the Dorothy Timm Meili Scholarship Fund at the Willmar Area Community Foundation to help high school seniors pursuing a post-secondary degree in music education, music performance or music therapy.

When she died early in 2018, she left a permanently endowed estate gift of $250,000 to the Willmar Area Community Foundation and several other transformational gifts to local charities.

Congratulations to Dorothy Timm Meili.

Innovative Impact Award

Chad and Angie Koosman received the Innovative Impact Award for their annual Celebrate the Light of the World Christmas display. Their decade-long program raised $810,000 for the Salvation Army through the holiday musical light display at their rural Willmar home.

The idea for the show grew out of Chad Koosman's sense of competition to raise more money for the Salvation Army, while also having fun.

The display has consumed hundreds of hours of labor for the Koosman family and has drawn thousands of spectators to their yard.

The Willmar Festa group has now taken over the community holiday light show, which this year will be held at Robbins Island in Willmar.

Congratulations to Chad and Angie Koosman.

Community Builder Award

Marcus Construction of Willmar has been named the Community Builder Award recipient.

Founded in 1956 by Carl Marcus, the three-generation company has grown to a nationwide presence by focusing on its core values.

The company's commercial division is known throughout west central Minnesota. The company's agricultural division handles projects across the continental U.S. and in Canada.

Operated by CEO Ross Marcus and his son, Taylor Marcus, the company supports organizations and programs that benefit the communities in which they live and build, including local churches, schools, robotics and athletic teams, KCEO, members of the military, Salvation Army, Rice Health Foundation, Hope Pregnancy Center, Youth for Christ, Camp Maximum, Stingers Baseball, Willmar's Destination Playground and the Willmar Area Community Foundation.

Employee involvement in philanthropy is also encouraged through Marcus Construction's annual employee-driven gifting program, and many of the company's employees volunteer in numerous organizations.

Congratulations to Marcus Construction and its employees.

Willmar is fortunate to have inspiring individuals and businesses who help give back to our community. They deserve their honors from the Willmar Area Community Foundation.

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