Citizen of the Year

Published 10:30 am Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A local man who claims to “do a little of this and a little of that” is being recognized Thursday as the District 241 Citizen of the Year.

Dick Madson, of 22169 720th Ave., Albert Lea, never really talks abut the work he does for others, say his neighbors.

“I just know he does a lot because I see him helping people all the time,” said his neighbor, Jill Petersen.

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Petersen and her son, Logan, nominated him for the annual award. A reception will be held from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Thursday at the City Arena.

In his spare time, Madson mows the lawns of neighbors who aren’t able. He takes care of yard work when neighbors experience a hardship. He moves snow for countless neighbors and clears rocks from yards of several elderly citizens outside Albert Lea. He landscapes and maintains the common areas of his neighborhood.

Madson also clears the sidewalks at Grace Lutheran Church and rocks from the church yard.

He always makes sure the women in the neighborhood are able to get to work.

“That’s kind of the neighborhood joke, but many of us would have been stuck in our driveways at one time or another if it weren’t for Dick,” Petersen wrote in her nomination.

He offers a helping hand to anyone who is struggling. He takes time to visit with the elderly. Madson gives rides to people who need a driver to the Mayo Clinic. He has become “Grandpa Dick” to several of his grandchildren’s friends, and provides rides to them all over town, Petersen added.

“You won’t see his name on any ‘organized’ volunteer lists,” Petersen said. “He is too busy. Instead, Dick volunteers to take care of anything that pops up at any time.”

Madson said he enjoys helping where he can. “The neighborhood and community are so good,” he said. “Everybody is concerned about everyone else. And I never know the day I may need help. God’s been good to me and I want to give that back.”

He always flies a flag over his home to show how grateful he is for the freedoms he has as a citizen of this country. “I go through about two a year,” he said.

Before retiring five years ago, Madson farmed near Hayward. He grew up on that same farm and credits his parents for building a work ethic in him. “Everyone had to pitch in and help,” he said.

He feels he and his wife, Faye (“the backbone” of the family), instilled that same ethic in their four children. She works at Alamco Wood Products.

“I am so proud of our children,” Madson said.

Their daughter, Joan Krull, is a public health nurse and teacher in Lake Mills, Iowa. Daughter, Robyn Aldrich, is a financial officer at Alliance Benefit Group. Son, Darin, is a professor in Ames, Iowa, and has his doctoral degree in veterinary medicine. Son, Brian, works for Medtronics in the Twin Cities as a quality control officer.

The couple also has four grandchildren.

Madson said he was surprised when learning of the honor he’d received. “I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “It’s not about me. It’s about the community. There are opportunities out there for everyone. We just have to take the challenge.”

Madson was chosen Citizen of the Year by fifth-graders and adults from each elementary building in District 241 who serve on the citizenship committee. Each year, the community asked to nominate someone who they believe displays good citizenship in the community.

“He is the definition of the word ‘citizenship!’” Petersen wrote.