Weather Forecast


Wadena, take a bow

Wadena was chosen for this year's Outstanding Community Award by the Initiative Foundation.

Matt Kilian, Vice President for External Relations, said Wadena was selected by the Initiative Foundation staff and board of trustees.

The award comes with a $1,000 grant.

"Our president, Kathy Gaalswyck, had made the first call within 24 hours after the June 17 tornado about a year ago, offering the Initiative Foundation's help and support with recovery and rebuilding efforts," he said. "We have just been so impressed by the resilience of the community, the leadership, the way that people came together and helped their neighbors to get over such a huge natural disaster. We only thought it was fitting to recognize Wadena with such an award. Really, we want to hold up the community as a model for other communities that deal with natural disasters."

He said Wadena was chosen among communities all over central Minnesota.

"It's not an award just for the city government. It's really an award for every person that was tried and tested by that tornado, or every person that helped their neighbors and gave back in some way," Kilian said.

Earlier, Wadena was featured in the Initiative Quarterly summer 2011 issue.

Kilian said it was the first time they focused on one community for an entire magazine.

"We weren't trying to necessarily just tell the stories of Wadena people as much as we wanted to showcase the disaster response to other communities," he said.

The 2011 Initiative Awards ceremony will be held Friday, Oct. 28 starting 5 p.m. at the Grand View Lodge in Nisswa.

This year's event theme is "InspiRed," and guests are expected to wear red.

Other award recipients this year are Larson Boats of Little Falls for Outstanding Enterprise, Stearns Benton Employment and Training Council of St. Cloud for Outstanding Nonprofit, and Jack and Betty Thomas of Hackensack for Outstanding Generosity.

Those interested in attending the awards ceremony can find more information at

Tickets are $50 per individual, $550 per table of eight "crimson table sponsors" or $200 for two "paint the town sponsors."

The Initiative Foundation, which is based in Little Falls, serves 14 counties and their communities in central