MASON CITY — A pair of Mason City’s most distinguished awards for community service have been handed out. 26 years ago, the Mason City Noon Rotary Club created the “Service Above Self” award to recognize individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the well-being and the advancement of the culture of Mason City and Cerro Gordo County.
This year’s recipient is Jay Hansen, who served as the executive director of Prairie Ridge Integrated Behavioral Healthcare for 41 years prior to his retirement at the end of 2018. “So much of my career at Prairie Ridge was service. To be honored among the people that have been honored in the past, and knowing what Rotary does, Service Above Self, but it’s important to me.”
Hansen says he’s a strong believer in the “Service Above Self” philosophy. “It’s based on servant leadership, but it’s really giving more to others than you’re taking yourself, giving credit to others, serving your customers, I think understanding them. It’s really about giving more than you take.”
Hansen says he’s happy to have been able to be a part of a service that’s needed in the community. “We really want every person that leaves the doors at Prairie Ridge to feel like they’ve been cared for and understood, so it’s important.”
Mason City Street and Parks Superintendent Bob Berggren was also honored today with the club’s “Service Above Self for Government Employees” award. Berggren has worked to improve the forestry program in the city, and his department has helped with things like the River City Sculptures on Parade program, RAGBRAI, and maintenance of the city’s park system.
Berggren says he appreciates the award but feels like he’s just doing his job for the community. “I don’t really feel like you need an award just to do your job, and that’s basically what I always try to do, is just doing my job and do it to the best of my ability. It’s just nice.”
Berggren says his department is always working to keep the city in the best condition possible. “There’s a lot of work to do. We were just out this morning actually working on some of the rain issues over the weekend and we’ll get everything fixed but that’s what we got to do. You know you go to work every day and you just got to keep doing it and always looking to make things the best we can have. We live in a nice community, you always want to keep it as good as you can or better and try to improve. So we’re just always looking for improvement.”
Hansen and Berggren were honored during this afternoon’s meeting of the Noon Rotary.