The Luther College and Decorah Area Chamber of Commerce Luncheon is always a great way to welcome in a new year. 2019 marks the 30th annual collaborative event.
Guest speaker Reynolds W. Cramer ('91), President and CEO of Fareway Stores, Inc. talked about changes in the grocery industry, his family history with Fareway, and of course his memories of being a student on the Luther College campus.
The Lunchoen is a time we pause to say thanks. First, we thank to those that have served the DACC board for their commitment and leadership to the organization. This year the DACC has two outgoing board members. Brian Huinker, Group Benefit Partners, has served 6 years on the board of directors, including the role of president during the 2015 fiscal year. Dawn Muhlbauer, Decorah Bank & Trust, has also completed 6 years of service to the DACC board, including serving as board treasurer from 2013 to 2015.
The DACC also recognized Shannon Duncan, Manpower. Shannon served as the 2018 Chamber President and led the organization through a year of organizational changes, including taking over maintenance and management of the Visitor Center. The DACC also developed a new mission, vision and values under Shannon’s leadership.
We also take time to thank one of the many volunteers that make our community so special. DACC Board of Directors President, Joe Gavle recognized this 2019 Outstanding Community Service recipient, Mark Faldet. Mark was recognized for his years of dedication and service to the greater Decorah community.
Mark's nomination identified him as an unsung hero who has demonstrated exceptional and outstanding leadership through volunteerism for decades. Mark was a volunteer and board member for the Decorah Teen Center in the 1990s. He has lent his hand and expertise to countless other organizations, groups, and to our community at large - often looking to invest in ideas, and people that will continue to grow and strengthen our town and region for decades to come.
Recently, Mark worked with the Decorah Tree Board to plant hundreds of trees in Decorah. Mark has also been known for less structured volunteering, like his regular visits to nursing homes in the area. Others may have seen him volunteering during Nordic Fest with his homemade sweep pan in hand cleaning up post parade trash. You will find him hauling lumber and supplies to help build infrastructure for area events at ArtHaus, Live on Water Street, and more. Or clearing sidewalks, blocks at a time, on upper Broadway after a winter storm (where he's also lived for over 3 decades.) It is these countless gestures that add up over years of service that truly create a community.
Finally, a note on Mark’s career in Luther College admissions. Through his life's work, he has put the interest of young people first. Mark offers guidance as students navigate Luther's educational experiences. He also takes the extra time to make lifelong friends and builds connects through various networks.
The DACC commends the many leaders and volunteers that are silent contributors to the community. Today, we pay special recognition to Mark Faldet for his obvious pride and dedication to the Decorah community.