Willmar Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce announces Community Leadership Award recipients


— Three Kandiyohi County leaders will be recognized for contributions to their communities at the end of the month.

The Willmar Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce has announced its Community Leadership Award recipients — Hallie Johnson of CentraCare — Rice Memorial Hospital, Aaron Backman of the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission and Denny Baker, former mayor of Spicer.

The trio will be recognized at the Chamber Community Leadership Celebration breakfast at 7 a.m. Friday, March 31, at the Sibley Auditorium on the MinnWest Technology Campus.

The celebration will also acknowledge retiring Chamber board members, membership milestone recipients and three 50-year membership milestones. The guest speaker at the event will be Lester Bagley, vice president of public affairs for the Minnesota Vikings.

Tickets for the event are $25, and can be purchased by contacting the Chamber at 320-235-0300 by March 28.

Johnson will be recognized as the Emerging Young Leader. The award is presented to an individual under 40 who demonstrates outstanding leadership that benefits the community and its citizens.

Emerging Young Leaders are recognized for outstanding service, including working with youth, adults and families to improve the Willmar Lakes Area quality of life. Recipients show leadership qualities that include creativity, volunteerism, responsibility, problem-solving, respectfulness, cooperation and organizational skills.

Backman will receive the "MILO" Award, named for longtime Chamber volunteer Milo Halberg.

The award was established to recognize local business leaders who exemplify Halberg's leadership in the areas of volunteerism, community leadership and involvement, and dedication to the Chamber of Commerce.

The "MILO" Award is presented to a Chamber member over 40 who has provided leadership and commitment not only to the Chamber, but also to other community organizations and programs.

Baker will receive the Exemplary Leadership Award, which is designed to honor a person, business or organization that has achieved recognition in their field, and has made significant contributions to the respective profession, business, organization or community.

The award recognizes successful leadership and engagement resulting in noteworthy accomplishments for businesses, organizations and the community. The recipient inspires others to make a difference in their community.