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Rotary invites award nominations

Rotary has several special areas of focus with respect to community service. An important one is education, literacy and maternal and child health. The Park Rapids Rotary Club instituted a new award in 2015 to recognize service to children and youth in the community. The Hewitt Family Youth Service Award will annually recognize a person who has made Park Rapids a better place for children.

The first award was presented to the Hewitt Family: Mark, Peg, Scott and Stephanie (Hewitt) Petersen in recognition of the family's long history of philanthropy and community service, particularly in matters that benefit young people. The Hewitt Family Foundation, Northwoods Bank and generations of Hewitts have generously supported projects for youth groups including youth sports teams, Kinship and Girl Scouts.

The Northwest Minnesota Foundation named Mark and Peg as "Circle of Vision Community Champions" for lifetime giving of more than $500,000, much of which benefited children.

The Hewitts are generous with their time, too. Mark started and taught Junior Achievement courses at the high school and both Mark and Scott have been Kinship mentors. For 10 years, Peg served as education coordinator at Calvary Lutheran Church. Mark and Peg helped found the Park Rapids Education & Activities Foundation which supports many youth-oriented programs. The family and Northwoods Bank also were major donors to the Rotary Fitness Park.

In 2016, LaVonne Lindow received the Hewitt Family Youth Service Award for her support of Nevis High School graduates for more than 25 years. After her daughter, Pam, lost her life in a car accident, LaVonne and her husband, Terry, started the Pam Lindow Foundation. The Foundation provides financial assistance to Nevis High School graduates. Over the past 25 years, the Foundation has disbursed 460 scholarships in the amount of $214,171. The only criteria is that the Nevis graduate must go on to post-secondary school. LaVonne has been the secretary and key fundraiser for the Foundation, putting on dinners, golf tournaments and many other events. The organization is now called the Nevis Dollars for Scholars-Pam Lindow Foundation.

Nominations for this year's award, must be received by noon Tuesday, May 2. Nomination forms are available at The forms may be mailed to Park Rapids Rotary Club, P.O. Box 704, Park Rapids, MN 56470 or completed and e-mailed to