Citizens of the Year: Learning importance about community service

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 8, 2002

Student citizen of the year, Lilia Walther, is always thinking of others. The 11- year-old has already worked to improve her neighborhood, volunteered time at the library and participates in numerous groups at Sibley Elementary school.

In her latest effort, Walther worked with Albert Lea City Councilor George Marin and the city to improve Wedgewood Park near her home. Lilia obtained signatures from neighborhood residents and even collected aluminum cans for recycling to help defray costs of improving the park.

Renaming the park after her &uot;adopted&uot; grandpa, the late Marvin Wangen, is another project on which Lilia is working.

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Lilia just completed the fifth grade at Sibley Elementary, where she was active as a crossing guard, the citizenship committee and the conflict resolution team.

She is an active member of Crossroads Evangelical Free Church and volunteers one day a week at the public library.

Parents Lori and Richard Walther of Albert Lea, who nominated Lilia for this award, adopted her from Guatemala December of 1991, and she became an official U.S. citizen in February of 1997 at age 6.

An important influence in Walther’s life has been Tae Kwondo instructor Jeff Wood. Lilia started lessons at age 6 and reached black belt status at age 10.