Good Samaritans: Mounds View names citizen, coach of the year


Mounds View Mayor Carol Mueller presented Penny Howard with the 2018 Citizen of the Year award during the city’s April 15 town hall meeting. The award came as a surprise to Howard, who was unanimously selected by the city council out of a pool of fellow nominees. (Bridget Kranz)

Capping some three decades of service in the Mounds View Public School District, retiring Edgewood Middle School Principal Penny Howard was named the 2018 Mounds View Citizen of the Year at the city’s annual town hall meeting. 

In presenting the award, Mayor Carol Mueller read from Howard’s nomination to a packed crowd the evening of April 15. 

“Penny has been a constant, positive presence in the Mounds View school system and just as importantly, in the City of Mounds View for over 30 years,” said Mueller.

The nomination, which was made anonymously, emphasized Howard’s commitment to building relationships with students and families outside of the classroom. Mueller also stressed Howard’s consistent presence at school functions and community events. 

“If you were a parent that was active at a school event with your child when they were in middle school, and she ran into you at the drug store, gas station or grocery store, she would come up to you and ask you, ‘How’s little Johnny doing?’” said Mueller, noting Howard’s impressive memory. 

Although she technically lives just outside city limits, a recently expanded definition of who can qualify for Citizen of the Year allowed Howard to receive the recognition. 

“Previously, we had restricted this award to go to residents or business owners within the community,” said Mueller. “Then, a couple years ago, we changed that to allow for a little bit broader candidate pool.”

Although she isn’t technically a Mounds View resident, Howard noted at the meeting, “I feel like I am, because I have lived so many years at Edgewood Middle School. It’s like my second home.”

Mueller also emphasized Howard’s far-reaching impact on the Mounds View community, noting that almost all students in the city attend Edgewood. Both Mueller and Howard’s speeches were punctuated with applause from the audience; the connections that many in the room felt to Howard seemed tangible.

While she is set to retire on June 30, Howard is excited to welcome her successor and keep up with the exciting developments in the district.

“I’ll be passing everything on to my successor, Rob Reetz, who’s coming from Chippewa Middle School. I’m very excited about having him step into Edgewood and I know he’s thrilled as well to be working on the west side of the district,” Howard said.

 

Coach of the Year

The Volunteer Coach of the Year Award was also presented at the town hall meeting. 

It went to community baseball and flag football coach Aaron Bahn. The award was established in 2008 as a memorial to Patrick Holmes, a Mounds View resident, baseball player and coach, who was one of the 13 people killed by the Interstate 35W bridge collapse. 

A graduate of Hill-Murray School in Maplewood, Holmes went on to pitch for Winona State University, earning all-conference honors as a senior. After having children, he turned his attention to coaching his son’s baseball and soccer teams, sharing his lifelong passion with the next generation.

“Mounds View’s Coach of the Year Award is a great example of God bringing something good from something bad,” said Mary Holmes, Patrick’s mother, in an email. “It is a tribute to all volunteer coaches who generously share their time, talent, knowledge and example.”

When members of Holmes’ family presented the award, Bahn said how grateful he was to be a part of the memorial. He also joked that he wished his wife could have been there, as she deserves half of the award for helping raise their five children while Bahn coaches in the community.

 

–Bridget Kranz can be reached at bkranz@lillienews.com or 651-748-7823.

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