Sarah Stultz: Work on Progress section is winding down

Published 9:54 am Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Sarah Stultz is the managing editor of the Tribune. Her column appears every Tuesday.

February is a pretty hectic month for the staff here at the Tribune, as we are not only putting out a daily newspaper and occasional small special sections, but also our next issue of Albert Lea magazine and our largest special section of the year: Progress.

Our theme for Progress this year is Community in Action, and as in the past, this year we have a wonderful opportunity to highlight several ordinary people who are doing extraordinary things.

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It is one of my favorite times of year because we get to meet more people in the community who are striving to uplift their families, friends and fellow community members.

Take for example, Mutha Khe, who came to Albert Lea in 2013. A refugee from Thailand, she had lived in Akron, Ohio, for five years before becoming to this city. She began working on her citizenship in September 2014 and achieved it nine months later.

She learned a new language and studied to learn more about this country — all out of an effort to have a new life away from violence and fear.

There’s Mark Ciota, who balances many hats as the administrator of Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea, a school board member, a husband and a father. Ciota has many long days but is striving to better the community.

There’s Sean Forde, the new associate pastor at First Lutheran Church, who has made it a priority to serve others. Forde has had many interesting life experiences before coming to Albert Lea, and since he has been here has been instrumental in getting a Key Club reinstated at Albert Lea High School.

Then there are members of the local American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts who are dedicated to paying their respects to veterans who have died. Whether it’s raining or snowing, 95 degrees or 10 degrees below zero, these men set an example to the rest of us about honoring our servicemen and women who have gone before us.

These are only a few of the stories included in the upcoming special section, which comes out with the regular paper on Feb. 26. A few of the seven sections within Progress have already been printed, and more will be printed in the weeks leading up to that date.

We are excited for you to read about  the people we have met and to be as inspired as we were to talk with them.

The Progress section is one we start working on in October, and it is one that we devote a lot of time and resources.