Bio Page

Inducted 2024
Kurt (Mattsen) Kwan (East Central Class of 1992)
Kurt Mattsen KwanMr. Kurt (Mattsen) Kwan graduated from East Central in 1992. During high school, Mr. Kwan was introduced to Theatre in Kathy Ebnet’s English class. After summoning the courage to audition for a role in, “A Midsummer Nights Dream” he was the male lead in about every production that occurred during his time at East Central and participated in the State One-Act Play competition on numerous occasions. After high school, he attended St. Cloud State University and the University of Minnesota.

Mr. Kwan built a career as an actor. Credits include work with Penumbra Theatre (The Brothers Paranormal); Guthrie Theatre (The History Plays, The Great Leap, A Christmas Carol, Othello); Actors Theatre of Louisville (We, The Invisibles); Olney Theatre Center (Tiger Style!); Pillsbury House Theatre (The Children); Ten Thousand Things Theater (The Chanelings, A Midsummer Nights Dream, Romeo and Juliet, A Streetcar Named Desire); My Performing Arts (You For Me For You, Cowboy vs Samurai, Yellow Face; Ching Chong Cninaman; Mango Rubio); Park Square (Aubergine, The Language Archive); and Yellowtree Theatre (Grace). Kurt is the recipient of the 2020 Playwright Center McKnight Theater Artist Fellowship. He is also in the recently released film Downtown Owl.

Mr. Kwan is the manager of the Breaking Ice Program at Pillsbury House Theatre in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Breaking Ice Program creates performances and facilitates dialogues around issues of diversity and inclusion. He uses theatre as a way to connect people and to bring visibility to the lived experiences of those often overlooked and underserved.

Mr. Kwan’s work with the Ten Thousand Things theater has brought his performances out of the theater and into the community. Their shows toured community organizations, the Open Book Center, the Minnesota Opera Center, and five correctional facilities around the state. He has been one of the nation’s leading voices in the growing discussion of diversity and inclusion. His workplace, the Pillsbury House, is just three blocks north of George Floyd Square, and in the days that followed the event that brought that corner into international prominence, his office became a gathering place of people who were struggling and held conversations to assist with healing the community.

Lynnette (Peterson) Leuty (East Central Class of 1988)
Lynnette (Peterson) LeutyMs. Lynnette Leuty graduated from East Central High School in 1988. While in high school she participated in multiple clubs and organizations. She was a three-sport athlete (track, volleyball, and basketball) and was co-valedictorian of her graduating class. In 1992, she graduated summa cum laude from the College of St. Scholastica with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Health Sciences, and in 1994 with a Master in Physical Therapy. While in college, Ms. Peterson played volleyball and basketball. Earning NAIA All-American Scholar-Athlete honors her senior year. She became a Board-Certified Clinical Specialist in Neurologic Physical Therapy in 2005. In 2013, she received her Doctor of Physical Therapy from St. Scholastica.

Ms. Leuty has worked as a physical therapist at the Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute for over 30 years. She has worked in a wide variety of clinical positions but has been the supervisor and a treating therapist in the neurologic outpatient department for most of those years. She enjoys treating clients with spinal cord, traumatic brain injury, stroke, and other various neurologic diagnoses.

She has had the opportunity to assist with the DPT Program at the University of Minnesota and the College of St. Catherine’s. She enjoyed being a Primary Instructor for the Adult Neurorehabilitation Course at the University of Minnesota for several years.

Ms. Leuty has had the opportunity to help with research in the Courage Kenny Research Center focusing on the assessment and treatment of those with persistent symptoms after concussion. She also helped out at the Minneapolis VA as a research assistant with the Disorders of Consciousness research project.

Ms. Leuty has volunteered to mentor many staff and student therapists over the years and has helped support the athletic programs that her children participated in during high school. One of her favorite opportunities was to volunteer at the Chikwauk Nature Center by creating the flower trail and its guide, as well as the names of the hiking trails and their descriptions.

Inducted 2023
Mary (Hejny) Clark (Sandstone Class of 1973)
Mary Hejny ClarkMary (Hejny) Clark graduated from Sandstone High School in 1973. In high school, she participated in choir, cheerleading, National Honor Society, and was on the homecoming court. Mary attended the College of St. Scholastica, earning a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Nursing with a certification in Public Health.

Mary’s forty-year nursing career included employment as a public health nurse for Pine and Kanabec Counties, a Hinckley school nurse, a Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe tribal health nurse, a Pine County ambulance squad member, and a hospital staff nurse. She spent thirty-seven years working at the Sandstone Hospital. Over the years, she helped care for and treat patients in all stages of life from birth to death. Mary also volunteered at Camp Heartland, St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, and various immunization clinics.

In 1975, she married Michael Clark and had two children. Mary dedicated her life to making her local community a better place to live, work, and receive high quality healthcare with comfort and compassion.

Barry Burch (Sandstone Class of 1986)
Barry BurchMr. Barry Burch was born in Vietnam to an American soldier and immigrated to the United States in December 1982. He graduated from Sandstone High School in 1986. While in high school, he learned English and participated in many school-related activities, taught karate through community education, and worked at the Sandstone Hospital as a Certified Nursing Assistant. While attending Alexandria’s Community College after High School, he decided to enlist in the United States Marine Corps serving with the 3rd Marine Division in Okinawa, Japan, and then with the 1st Marine Division based in Southern California. Barry was proudly sworn in as a United States citizen in September 1989.

After his service, Mr. Burch's law enforcement career started as a correctional officer at the St. Cloud State Prison and then at FCI Sandstone. In early 2002, he became a United States Air Marshal serving in the then newly formed; the Department of Homeland Security, specializing in national transportation security and antiterrorism activities particularly in the aviation domain. This work involved many specialized skills and has taken Barry to many international locations worldwide.

After over 30 years of military and law enforcement service, Barry can be found involved in many volunteer activities throughout the community. He is a Minnesota-certified firearm instructor operating a firearm training and certification business and still occasionally conducts security assessments for businesses and other entities who have such a need. He is also currently serving as the Sergeant-At-Arms at the American Legion Post #151 in Sandstone, MN.

In his spare time, Barry enjoys outdoor activities, arts, and music in general and is known to still teach self-defense when appropriate. He is a guitar player and is also known as a talented artist, particularly in oils and acrylic paintings.

Inducted 2022
Mary (Marks) Thorvig (Sandstone Class of 1962)
Mary MarksMary Ellen (Marks) Thorvig graduated from Sandstone High School in 1962. Ms. Thorvig attended the University of Minnesota Duluth earning a bachelor's degree in Social Work and continued her education at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri where she obtained her master's degree in Social Work. Later in life, she went back to school at St. Scholastica and St. Mary’s to become a chaplain. She enjoyed learning, and took classes in a variety of professions, even graduating from auctioneering school.

As a social worker, Ms. Thorvig worked at Pine County Five County Mental Health Center and the Moose Lake Correctional Facility. She ran a daycare business and was involved with Montessori and Sandbox nursery school. She served as a chaplain for both the Sandstone Hospital and Pine County Sheriff's Department.

On August 22, 1970, she married Chris Thorvig, and they raised two children in Sandstone. Ms. Thorvig was involved extensively in her community. She served on several boards, including the Pine County DAC (now PHASE), Kettle Kinship, Sandstone Public Library, hospital board, Old School Arts Center (OSAC), and Dollars for Scholars, among others. Ms. Thorvig was a member of the Sandstone History & Art Center, Grace Lutheran Church, founding member of the Quarry Lions, Sandstone Garden Club, and The Order of the Eastern Star. She was also a Master Gardener and thoroughly enjoyed the time she spent in her many gardens.

Ms. Thorvig volunteered for different projects at East Central Schools, including reading with elementary students and helping with the Sandstone Quarry Lions sunglass project. She also organized the flower planter box project and helped when the garden club visited classrooms.

She was an incredibly kind and generous person, always helping others and concerned for their well-being. She made friends wherever she was, and truly did spread joy to all she encountered.

Michelle Peterson (East Central Class of 1988)
Michelle PetersonMs. Michelle Peterson graduated from East Central High School in 1988. While in high school she participated in FFA, band, choir, Knowledge Bowl, math league, National Honor Society, track, volleyball, and basketball; and was co-valedictorian of her graduating class. In 1992, she graduated summa cum laude from the College of St. Scholastica with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Health Sciences, and in 1994 with a Master in Physical Therapy. While in college, Ms. Peterson participated in volleyball earning NAIA All-American Scholar-Athlete in 1991 and St. Scholastica’s Student-Athlete Leadership Award in 1992. She earned her Doctor of Physical Therapy from MGH Institute of Health Professionals in 2005.

In 1994, Ms. Peterson began working as a physical therapist at the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs (VA) Health Care System. Michelle became the Polytrauma Emerging Consciousness Program Coordinator in 2009. Six years later she became their Neurologic Residency Clinical Training Director. Ms. Peterson has also worked as an Associate Faculty for the Physical Therapy programs at both St. Catherine University and the University of Minnesota. She has stayed committed to working with the VA for over 26 years. Because of her experience and knowledge in stroke, mild traumatic brain injury, and vestibular sequelae, she was invited to participate in developing several clinical practice guidelines in collaboration with the Department of Defense (DOD).

Ms. Peterson has remained active in the VA throughout her career. She has served in a variety of Care-Content Expert roles which include DOD/VA Stroke Rehabilitation, CPG content Expert, Physical Therapy FAC Education workgroup, Minneapolis Patient Education Committee Member, and the Polytrauma System of Care Strategic Planning Committee. As if her service wasn’t enough, Ms. Peterson has written numerous articles and research published in the areas of Polytrauma Rehabilitation, Traumatic Brain Injuries, and Veterans Rehabilitation.

Ms. Peterson continues her passion for physical therapy by serving with the American Physical Therapy Association at both the state and national levels.

Inducted 2021
Dorothy (Argo) Bolander (Sandstone Class of 1947)
Dorothy (Argo) BolanderMs. Dorothy (Argo) Bolander graduated from Sandstone High School with the Class of 1947 at the age of 16. While in high school, Ms. Bolander was in band, chorus, yearbook, school paper, Girls Athletic Association, and basketball. She enrolled in the Abbott Hospital nursing program following graduation, earning her registered nursing degree.

After marrying and starting a family, Dorothy did volunteer work off and on, but after earning her commercial pilot’s license in 1969, she became very active in the 99’s (International Organization of Women Pilots). As a member of the Minnesota 99’s, she and other volunteers would fly to rural communities to pick up whole blood collected from donation drives, then transport it to the Twin Cities for processing.

In 1980, her husband David, underwent surgery for cancer of the larynx. Ms. Bolander was thrust into a leadership role in his highly successful construction company, Carl Bolander and Sons, and was by his side while he returned to work and regained this ability to speak. Upon David’s return to work, Ms. Bolander served as the company’s EEO officer and was heavily involved in Bolander’s affirmative action and equal opportunity efforts as well as working with the Association of Women Contractors (AWC), and the Minneapolis/St. Paul Urban Leagues. She immediately recruited more female heavy equipment operators and ensured Bolander’s did not have a hostile workplace. Through her work, she helped more women get into the construction industry. Ms. Bolander later served as Vice President of Bolander as well.

In 1983, Ms. Bolander founded and operated SKB Environmental, a construction and demolition waste disposal facility in Inver Grove Heights. In 1989, she became one of the foremost environmental advocates by permitting and constructing the first state-of-the-art lined waste disposal facility in the state of Minnesota for Construction and Demolition (C&D) waste. Ms. Bolander expanded the company into the largest privately-held disposal and recycling firms in Minnesota. She continued to run SKB Environmental until her retirement in 2005.

Loren Else (Sandstone Class of 1971)
Loren ElseMr. Loren Else graduated from Sandstone High School with the Class of 1971. While in high school, he participated in basketball, baseball, golf, and track; was selected to Boy’s State; and was a member of the 1971 District 25 All-District basketball team. Mr. Else attended Lakewood State Junior College (now called Century College) and played collegiate basketball and baseball for two years. In 1973, he earned his Associate of Arts degree. He continued his education at St. Cloud University, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1975.

Mr. Else worked for the Federal Bureau of Prisons for over 27 years. He started as a correctional officer at the FCI Sandstone after graduation. He transferred to the United States Penitentiary at McNeil Island, Washington, in 1979. He transferred back to Sandstone as the Safety Manager in 1981 and was promoted as the Occupational Safety and Environmental Health Manager at the Federal Medical Center in Rochester in 1988. In 1990, he was selected as the Bureau’s Safety Manager of the Year and in 1997 was selected as a Civil Servant of the year. He retired from the Bureau in 2004. During his time in the Bureau, he served as the Federal Medical Center’s Team Leader for the Hostage Negotiation Team. After retirement, he worked as a correctional consultant for the Creative Corrections L.L.C. He conducted Quality Assurance Reviews to determine compliance with federal detention standards.

Athletics continued to play an important role in Mr. Else’s life. He was a high school official for over 33 years beginning his career as an official in 1974 and retired after the 2009 season. Mr. Else became a mentor and leader in the Rochester Officials’ Association and served several seasons as the association basketball “rules clinician.” He was also a contributing writer for the national publication Referee magazine.

In 2019, Mr. Else was selected as the Century College Alumni of the Year and was awarded the Distinguished Service Award from the Minnesota State High School League for his leadership in the Rochester Officials’ Association.

Mr. Else serves his community by being an active member of the Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Rochester and numerous historical societies. He continues to write a weekly column for the Rochester Post Bulletin.

Inducted 2020
David Ecklund (East Central Class of 1991)
David EcklundDr. David Ecklund graduated as valedictorian of the East Central High School Class of 1991. While in high school, Dr. Ecklund was a member of the National Honor Society and Student Council, and participated in football and theater, including the state One Act Play Festival. Dr. Ecklund attended Gustavus Adolphus College and graduated in 1995 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religion. While attending Gustavus, Dr. Ecklund was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa National Academic Honor Society and the Guild of St. Ansgar Honor Society. He furthered his education by earning his Doctorate in Medicine from the University of Minnesota Medical School in 2000. Between 2000 and 2003, Dr. Ecklund completed his pediatrics residency at the University of Minnesota Medical School and was the Chief Resident of Pediatrics in 2003 and 2004, after which he was an adjunct faculty member at the University of Minnesota Medical School.

Dr. Ecklund was a pediatrician for Allina Hospitals and Clinics in Champlin, Minnesota, from 2004 to 2006. Since 2006, Dr. Ecklund has been a pediatrician with Kaiser Permanente in Atlanta, Georgia, where he has served as Regional Pediatric Asthma Champion, Regional Pediatric Transgender Care Champion, Lead Pediatrician for several clinics, and is currently the Area Chief of Pediatrics.

Dr. Ecklund was chosen for the Kaiser Permanente Medicine and Management Program in 2015, has received the Kaiser Permanente Clinician Communication All Star award since 2016, and was selected by Atlanta Parent magazine readers as a “Mom-Approved Doctor” in 2017, 2018, and 2019.

Genevieve (Clausen) Swenson (East Central Class of 2000)
Genevieve Clausen SwensonMrs. Genevieve Swenson graduated as the Valedictorian of the East Central High School Class of 2000. While in high school, Mrs. Swenson was a member of the National Honor Society, and participated in volleyball, basketball, track, softball, and theater. Mrs. Swenson attended Minnesota State University - Moorhead, from 2000-2002. While at Moorhead, she was a research apprentice studying cancer cell mutations, and also played varsity basketball. In 2004, she graduated from University of Wisconsin-River Falls earning a Bachelor of Science - Biology degree. She continued her education by earning her Bachelor of Science - Nursing at the University of Minnesota in 2007, graduating with high distinction in the BSN Program. Mrs. Swenson earned her Master of Science in Nursing as a Family Nurse Practitioner at the College of Saint Scholastica in 2012.

During her career, Mrs. Swenson has worked as a registered nurse at St. Mary’s Hospital in Duluth, MN, a Family Nurse Practitioner at Gateway Family Health Clinic, Director of Nursing for Retrace Health, and Nurse Practitioner with Matrix Medical Network. As an entrepreneur, she has co-founded Relate Today, an online company that helps nurture and improve relationships within the workplace and within families, and NICE Healthcare, providing virtual and in-home primary care visits by a Nurse Practitioner. Currently, she is the Chief Operations Officer and Clinic Owner of NICE Healthcare.

Mrs. Swenson’s awards include a New Generation Indie Book Award recipient for her novel “Frontline Angel,” Minnesota Cup Finalist for new companies by the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Business, and was named a Top 19 Startup Companies of 2019 for NICE Healthcare by MinneInno. Within her hometown community, she is a coordinator and coach of youth basketball and baseball leagues, a member of Black Rose Writing Author Group, and volunteers as a reader to elementary classrooms.

Inducted 2019
Donald Anderson (Askov Class of 1956)
Donald AndersonMr. Donald Anderson graduated from Askov High School in 1956. He attended the University of Minnesota-Duluth.  While in college, he participated in the UMD band and chorus, and served as the Secretary, Treasurer, and President of Sigma Iota Epsilon Industrial Education Fraternity.  He graduated in 1960 with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Industrial Education with a minor in Science.  He continued his education at Colorado State College earning his Master's of Arts Degree with a major in Secondary School Administration in 1966.  During his Master’s Degree studies he also took graduate courses during the summer of 1965 from the University of Wisconsin- Stout in auto mechanics, small engines, and power mechanics.  In 1976, Mr. Anderson was selected as one of two high school teachers in the state of Minnesota to receive an EPDA Leadership Fellowship at the University of Minnesota, St. Paul.  During his fellowship program at the University of Minnesota, Mr. Anderson concentrated his graduate studies in Vocational and Career Education.

Mr. Anderson was hired as industrial technology and general science teacher in 1960 at Buffalo Public Schools, Buffalo, ND.  He also took on the roles of the assistant coach and student council advisor. He was also involved in the community by becoming the Boy Scout leader, sang in the church choir and played on the Buffalo independent basketball team. After three years of teaching, he was offered the position of High School Principal at the age of 24.  In 1965, Mr. Anderson was hired to teach power mechanics at Coon Rapids High School.  After his second year of teaching at Coon Rapids, he received certification for coordinating a Trade and Industrial Internship Program.  Mr. Anderson was assigned to develop Trade and Industrial Internship programs for Anoka and Coon Rapids High Schools. The first year he worked as a half-time coordinator at Anoka High School and a half time coordinator at Coon Rapids High School.  He made the Vocational Industrial Clubs of America an integral part of each school’s program. The next year he became a full-time Trade and Industrial Internship Coordinator at Coon Rapids High School.  Mr. Anderson was selected to serve as Program Manager of Minnesota’s model program of Career Education.  As Program Manager, Mr. Anderson supervised a staff of teachers, specialists, and secretaries. Mr. Anderson served as chairman of the Minnesota Vocational Industrial Clubs of America (VICA) State Board and received awards for outstanding VICA advisor.  In 1996, he received VICA advisor of the year award.  He was a former officer of the North Suburban Industrial Education Association and was very active in his church.  In 1997, Mr. Anderson retired and continued as a substitute teacher in all five high schools in the Anoka Hennepin School district.

James Best (Sandstone Class of 1966)
James BestMr. James (Jim) Best graduated from Sandstone High School in 1966.  At the age of 18 years old, he joined the United States Marines.  From 1966-1969 he fought in Vietnam. From 1969-1974 he served on Embassy duty in Syria and Iraq.  Upon his return to Minnesota, Mr. Best attended Bemidji State University earning a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Applied Psychology with a concentration in Community Services.  From 1979-1983 he served in the National Guard Reserves as a Training Instructor and Transportation Specialist, and from 1983-1990 in the United States Army Reserve as a Winter Survival Instructor in Alaska.   He has been a member of the VFW since 1969 and was given a Life Membership by the Red Lake, MN Post by the Tribal Veterans.  He also has been honored with a Life Membership in the Disabled American Veterans organization and served as the local DAV Commander.  Mr. Best worked as a counselor for the A. H. Wilder Foundation at St. Croix Camp from 1977-1979 and as a Sheriff’s Youth Program Counselor from 1980-1983.  Additionally, Mr. Best has been a Minnesota Certified Youth Firearms Instructor for 42 years.  For the past 22 years, Mr. Best has been an active member of the Habitat for Humanity organization.  He has helped build over 30 houses in the United States, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Panama.  He has assisted with disaster relief in the Gulf States after hurricanes and flooding.  From 1992-2010 Mr. Best was an active member of the Thrivent Financial Board.  He was instrumental in the disbursement of funds to various churches for feeding the hungry and buying clothes and school supplies for children. 

Inducted 2018

Bret Grundmeier (East Central Class of 1989)
BioMr. Bret Grundmeier graduated from East Central High School in 1989. In addition to playing football, basketball, and baseball, he attended Boys State and was homecoming king. Mr. Grundmeier attended South Dakota State University, graduating in 1995 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture/Biology. He continued his education at Iowa Law Enforcement Academy. During college, he spent his summers as a wildlife firefighter stationed out of the Black Hills, South Dakota. After graduation, he worked for the Shelby County Conservation Board in Harlan, IA, as a Conservation Officer. He also managed the county's parks and Roadside Vegetation Management Program. From 1999 through 2003, he worked for Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Division of Parks and served as the Manager of Savanna Portage State Park near McGregor, MN. Since 2004, Mr. Grundmeier has worked as a Conservation Officer for the DNR in Pine and Kanabec Counties. His positions have allowed him to enforce game and fish laws, maintain and patrol parks, assist farmers with best farming practices, educate the public about DNR law, and instruct youth firearm, ATV, and snowmobile safety classes. During his career, he also served as a police officer in Harlan, IA and McGregor, MN. As a MN Conservation Officer, he is certified as a Wildland Arson Fire Investigator, Background Investigator, Primary Field Training Officer, and Conservation Officer Academy Instructor. Throughout his career, he has earned numerous awards including the Minnesota Trappers Association Conservation Officer of the Year in 2010, Lifesaving Award in 2013, Shikar Safari Club International Wildlife Officer of the Year in 2014, Minnesota's Conservation Officer of the Year in 2015, and a second Lifesaving Award in 2016. He has served our community by teaching and introducing youth to fishing, hunting, and outdoor safety.

Donna Orstad (Sandstone Class of 1975)
BioMs. Donna Orstad graduated from Sandstone High School in 1975. During high school, Ms. Orstad volunteered at the local hospital as a candy striper and dietary aid. She officially began working at Essentia Health Sandstone in 1977. During her employment, she held positions in registration, accounts receivable, switchboard, medical records, payroll, health unit coordinator, and trauma registrar. Ms. Orstad has dedicated time to serving on hospital committees and organizing the annual Giving Tree event, which provides holiday gifts to area families in need. Ms. Orstad is an active part of her community, serving as a member of the Sandstone Quarry Lions for fifteen years. She has served as a board member, Vice-President, and President. She has been honored with the Lions International Leadership Award, Helen Keller Award, Hearing Foundation Award, and the Dreamcatcher Diabetes Award. Ms. Orstad has served on the 5M8 Lions Cabinet for ten years, as District Newsletter Editor and Zone Chair. She has worked closely with the Minnesota Lions Diabetes Foundation, and the American Diabetes Association to plan local diabetes events. She currently co-chairs the Lions Family Health Expo to bring free health screening tests to the local communities.

Inducted 2017

Peggy Cahoon (Class of 1943 - Bruno)
BioMs. Peggy Cahoon graduated from Bruno High School in 1943. Ms. Cahoon attended the University of Minnesota-Duluth, graduating Cum Laude in 1960, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education. She continued her education at St. Cloud State University, graduating with a Masters in Elementary Administration in 1968. Ms. Cahoon held elementary teaching jobs from 1946-1968, teaching in rural Willow River, Askov, and 5th grade at Sandstone Public School. During this time, she also volunteered at the Federal Correctional Institution in Sandstone, MN teaching Adult Basic Education. In 1968, she was hired as elementary principal in Sandstone, which she held until 1983. From 1983-1988, she became elementary principal at Hinckley Elementary, and was an interim principal in Pine City Elementary from 1994-1995. During her career, she also taught social studies education classes on a part-time basis for Cambridge Community College. Ms. Cahoon was the President of the Sandstone Faculty Club, Co-Chair of the Program Committee for the State Principals' Convention, chair of the PTA, Chair of the County Cancer Drive, Chair on the District Hospital Board, and served on the county Principals' Association. She actively supported band boosters, conducted transportation studies for Pine County Social Service, donated equipment and money to Grindstone Bible Camp, and raised funds for x-ray equipment for the local hospital. Currently, she gives scholarships our local East Central Dollars for Scholars Chapter.

Dr. Daniel Dewey (Class of 1989 - East Central)
BioDr. Daniel Dewey graduated from East Central High School in 1989. He attended Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN earning a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and Health Fitness, graduating Cum Laude, in 1993. In 2003, he graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Medicine with his M.D. Dr. Dewey performed his first residency at Santa Rosa Family Practice in California, then his emergency residency in Jackson, Tennessee. From 1994-1996, he served as a volunteer for the Peace Corps as a high school science teacher on Union Island, West Indies. Dr. Dewey's was a Faculty Physician at Baylor International College of Medicine from 2006-2008, completing training in tropical medicine and infectious disease, and began providing medical care and treatment for HIV infected children and their families in Uganda and Swaziland, Africa. He has led week-long HIV educational trainings for health care providers and for US Peace Corps volunteers. Dr. Dewey has also collaborated with UNICEF on outreach projects in order to scale pediatric care and treatment of HIV positive children and their families. Currently, he serves as an Emergency Room Physician and Ultrasound Director in Chaska and Waconia, Minnesota. In 2013, he received the Gustavus Adolphus College Alumni Association of Congregations and Alumni Association Service Award. He was the co-founder and President of a non-profit organization: World Altering Medicine (WAM); providing medical care for needy patients in resource poor areas of the developing world.

Inducted 2016
Fred Konrath (Class of 1961 - Sandstone)
BioMr. Fred Konrath graduated from Sandstone High School in 1961 as an honor student. He attended St. Cloud State University where he participated in football, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business and Physical Education. Mr. Konrath taught Contract Law and Aviation courses for 11 years at White Bear Lake High School. In addition to teaching, Mr. Konrath was head football coach for 11 years, resulting in state championships in 1971 and 1976. He was selected as the Minnesota High School Coach of the Year in 1976. Mr. Konrath went on to become an assistant football coach at the University of Minnesota from 1980 to 1983. After his time at the University of Minnesota, Mr. Konrath worked for 20 years as the Vice President of Marketing for Lutheran Brotherhood (now known as Thrivent Financial). In addition to his career in athletics, Mr. Konrath volunteered his time at White Bear Lake High School and served as President and board member for the White Bear Lake Youth Programs. In 2013, he was inducted into the White Bear Lake Athletic Hall of Fame.

Frank Loken (Class of 1959 - Sandstone)
BioMr. Frank Loken graduated from Sandstone High School in 1959. After studying business at the University of Minnesota, St. Cloud State University, and Minneapolis Business College, he returned to Sandstone. He owned and operated the Loken Agency, Inc, an insurance and real estate company, for 39 years, as well as the Sandstone H&R Block Tax Service for 9 years. He has been an active member of the United Church of Christ for over 60 years, served on the Sandstone City Council, was a member of the Sandstone Chamber of Commerce, was Scoutmaster of the Sandstone Boy Scout Troop 183, and was a DNR Certified Firearms Instructor. Mr. Loken has volunteered on the Sandstone Lions Club for 42 years, receiving local, national, and international recognition. Locally, Mr. Loken has served as Club President and Club Secretary. Regionally, he has served as a District Governor for seven counties in Minnesota, and as Multiple District Council Chair. He has received numerous awards for his dedication to service, which include the International Leadership Award and the International President's Award, and was inducted into the Lions Multiple District Hall of Fame in 2011.

Inducted 2015
Roy Sebald (Class of 1950 - Askov)
BioMr. Roy Sebald is a 1950 graduate of Askov High School. Mr. Sebald has spent his entire life in Askov where he was born, raised his family, and still resides. He attended college at the College of St. Thomas, graduating in 1954 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business. He returned home after college to work for, and manage, Sebald Motor Sales in Askov. Mr. Sebald has won every honor that the Ford Motor Company can bestow upon a dealer for excellence in customer service multiple times, including the prestigious Presidents' Award which is awarded to the top 100 dealers in the nation. He was also voted by other Ford dealers to the Northland Ford Dealers Advertising Council. Mr. Sebald retired at the age of 72 from the family business, but demonstrated his commitment to his employees, customers, family, and the City of Askov by ensuring that the business continued.

Mr. Sebald has taken great pride in serving his community in many capacities. He has served in leadership roles as the Mayor of Askov, Askov City Councilor, First National Bank of the North- Askov Board of Directors for over 50 years, St Luke's Catholic Church Council, and the Pine County Historical Museum Financial Committee. He has also served as a volunteer firefighter, member of the Askov Lions Club since its inception, the Danish Brotherhood, Knights of Columbus, and the Commercial Club.

Mr. Sebald exemplifies a life-long commitment to his community and church, as well the education of area students. Mr. Sebald volunteers for the East Central Dollars for Scholars, and he and his wife annually provide two scholarships to graduating East Central students. Both professionally, and personally, he truly cares about his neighbors and the welfare of Askov.

Bruce Wahlberg (Class of 1944 - Sandstone)
BioMr. Bruce Wahlberg is a 1944 graduate of Sandstone High School. During high school, he was involved in football and basketball. Mr. Wahlberg had a military deferment in the fall of 1944 as he was needed on their family's farm. When the major farm work was complete, he went back to school. He was immediately classified 1A, meaning he was fit for military service, and was inducted into the Marines in January 1944, so he was unable to participate in the graduation ceremony.

Mr. Wahlberg completed training in California and Hawaii, and was sent overseas to fight in the Leyte Islands in the Philippines during World War II. Mr. Wahlberg battled in the Battle of Leyte, firing 95 pounds of shells every day for two months. He returned home on April 8, 1946.

During his life, he has been an active volunteer with many organizations and programs in the Sandstone community, including serving on the Sandstone School Board, Pine County Farmers Home Administration for 9 years, Sandstone Lions Club for 22 years, North Pine and East Central Electric Association for over 20 years, and many more. Mr. Walhberg served as President or Chair of the Sandstone Shipping Association, Pine County Farm Bureau, Pine County Citizens Committee, Sandstone Lions, Associated Milk Producers, and Sandstone Chamber of Commerce. He received many awards for his community service of the span of his life including the Pine County Conservation Farmer of the Year in 1972, Outstanding Minnesota School Board Member award in 1974, Sandstone Senior Citizen of the Year in 1988, and several Lions Clubs awards, including the Melvin Jones Fellow, Helen Keller, and Leader Dogs for the Blind award.

During the East Central High School Class of 2001 graduation ceremony, several military veterans, including Mr. Wahlberg, were honored and afforded the opportunity to participate in graduation. Mr. Wahlberg was honored to be selected as one of the graduation speakers.

Inducted 2014
Nils Dibvig (Class of 1984 - Sandstone)
Nils Dybvig graduated from Sandstone High School in 1984. During high school, Nils was a member of the National Honor Society, band, and drama as well as an AFS Foreign Exchange student in Venezuela. After graduating, Nils received his Bachelor of Science from St. Olaf College and a Masters of Social Work from Augsburg College becoming a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker.

Nils has worked as a psychosocial rehabilitation counselor at People Inc. Community Support, an MFIP employment councilor at East Side Neighborhood Services, a guidance counselor at Ramsey County Workforce Solutions, and an adjunct instructor at Augsburg College teaching "Global Peace and Social Development." In 2006, Nils and his wife traveled to Colombia to volunteer with Christian Peacemaker Teams visiting with people in rural areas. Currently he is employed at Catholic Charities of the Twin Cities as a case manager counseling homeless individuals. He has served as a mentor for 14 years in the Kinship Program and is on the ARC Retreat Center Board in Cambridge, Minnesota which seeks to provide hospitality that nurtures the body, mind and soul for all people in their diversity.

Douglas Carlson (Class of 1957 - Sandstone)
Douglas "Doug" Carlson graduated from Sandstone High School in 1957. During his high school career he participated in concert, band, and basketball. After high school Doug attended the University of Minnesota. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Pre-Veterinary Medicine in 1966 and a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 1968.

Doug enlisted in the Air National Guard in 1963. He was in the USAF Branch with a position as an Airman First Class. He was honorably discharged in January 1964 due to cancer. In 1970, he was elected into the Minnesota State Representatives, where he remained for 18 years. He was the chairman of Legislative Commission on Minnesota Facilities from 1986-1987 and the chairman of the House of Transportation Committee from 1971-1974 and 1977-1990. Doug was elected as a Pine County Commissioner in 2002 and was serving his third term when he passed away in 2013.

Doug has received multiple awards and honors, including the 1973 Outstanding Veterinary Alumni of the Year and Class President of the senior class in Veterinary school. He was part of the Society of Phi Zeta. Doug received the Minnesota Vietnam Veterans Memorial Award and the Service Recognition Award from the Minnesota House of Representation.

Inducted 2013
Dr. Paul Dewey (Class of 1987 - East Central)
Paul Dewey is an East Central graduate of 1987. Dewey received his Bachelor's degree in 1991 at Mankato State University in Biology Pre-Med, graduating Cum Laude. He continued at Mankato State University to earn his Master's degree in Biology in 1993. Dewey earned his MD degree from the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis in 1997 and performed his residency through 2011 in Springfield, Illinois at Southern Illinois University of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics. While in college, Dewey was the Biology Club President, and volunteered for the Cerebral Palsy games, S.M.I.L.E.S Youth Handicap, and high school athletic training programs. In 1991-1992, he was the founding member and co-President of the Pre-Medicine Association. He has presented for the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, and has been published in their journal on "Characterization of Aldose Reductase in the Mouse Bladder." Dr. Dewey began his practice at Gateway Family Health Clinic in Moose Lake and Sandstone in 2001. Dr. Dewey is currently the Medical Director of Mercy Hospital and Medical Center and is actively involved in the community that he grew up in.
Written By: Joyce Domogalla (2013 graduate)

Matthew Lourey (Class of 1982 - Askov)
CW4 Matthew Scott Lourey, a 1982 Askov high school graduate, died on May 26, 2005, serving his country, when his OH58 Kiowa Warrior helicopter was shot down by small arms fire in Iraq. Matt had always dreamed of being a military pilot. He joined the Marines out of high school, but after learning that he would not have an opportunity to fly there, attended flight school and eventually joined the prestigious 82nd Airborne, where he served in Bosnia, Kuwait, Iraq, Egypt, and Germany.

Matt was born in 1964 in Maryland and was raised by his parents, Gene Lourey and former Senator Becky Lourey, in Kerrick, Minnesota. He served for 21 years in the U.S. Military and earned 26 medals including the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. Matt married his wife Major Lisa Sue Lourey in 2002. Matt and Lisa met while running a marathon in Egypt. One of Matt's ambitious goals was to run fifty marathons by the time he was fifty years old. Though he was never able to complete this goal, Lisa continues to run marathons in his honor and will be running his fiftieth marathon this October in Washington D.C.

Matt has been remembered at East Central high school and throughout the community with many dedications and memorials including the school track and a state trail named in his honor. Matt is buried in Arlington cemetery and will long be remembered for his service to our country. Written By: Colton Lourey (nephew, 2013 graduate)

Inducted 2012
Arla Budd (Class of 1962 - Askov)
Arla Budd was born and raised in Askov, Minnesota. She is the daughter of the historians of Askov, Red and Hertha Hansen. Attending Askov High School, Arla graduated as her class Salutatorian in 1962. During her time there she participated in music, theater, and also taught piano lessons to over 25 students. This interest in music lasted beyond her high school career, and Arla continues to be an accomplished musician, leading community choirs and teaching piano lessons. She and her father have recorded a CD of Danish music several years ago.

After high school, Arla attended Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota and earned her BA in English and Art. She taught English for several years until her family business required her to leave her position. She then served as Askov's city clerk for 23 years, serving the citizens of her town diligently and enthusiastically.

Arla has also shown a commitment to her community throughout her entire life, beginning in 1961 when she was elected Miss Askov. Today, Arla volunteers for the Pine County Historical Society, the Askov Fair Board, and serves as an organist and choir director at Bethlehem Lutheran Church. She has also been the coordinator of Danish days, and is one of the few people in Askov that reads Danish and interprets for others. Her commitment to the rich history of the area has also led her to work for over three years preparing a column for Askov's Centennial Celebration.

Chester Gustafson (Class of 1965 - Sandstone)
Chester Gustafson graduated from East Central in 1965, and was drafted into the Army that year. He began working in Army Transportation and received numerous awards and commendations before receiving an invitation from President Reagan to work with the White House. He would spend over twenty years with the Military as a Transportation Director, Test Director, and Drill Instructor. Chester would eventually earn considerable other recognition including the Meritorious Service Award, and Presidential Commendations.

Locally, he has spent many years involved in Community Service of various forms. While most of his time is dedicated to smaller unsung service, he has donated distinguishable time volunteering as Santa Claus on the Holidays. He is also an active member of the Sandstone Lions, the Friends of the Library, is a Religious Education instructor, and has spent additional time with other Civic Organizations.

Bradley Jensen (Class of 1978 - Askov)
Colonel Bradley Jensen graduated from Askov High School in 1978. During high school, he was involved in football, basketball, track, and graduated with honors. After graduation, he attended the University of Minnesota, Duluth earning a bachelor degree in Political Science. Upon completion of his degree, Col. Jensen began an extensive career in the Air Force.

In 1986, he served as an Airborne Intelligence Officer with the 7th Air Combat Control Squadron, flying over 300 hours in the C-130 and helped establish the position and training for all future Electronic Combat Coordination Officers. Col. Jensen left operational life to serve with the USAF Europe at Ramstien, Germany. In Germany, he served as a Middle Eastern and North African Intelligence Analyst. In 1990, Col. Jensen attended and was a distinguished graduate from the Intelligence Fighter Weapons Instructor Course at Nellis AFB. After weapons school graduation, he returned to Europe to work for NATO Joint Intelligence Cell in Germany and Holland. Col. Jensen received Colonel status on March 17, 2005.

Additional assignments include Intelligence Officer, Commander, and Vice-Commander of the 158th Fighter Wing of Vermont Air National Guard. Col. Jensen has received the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with on oak leaf cluster, and an Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters. Col. Jensen has his Masters of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College in Newport, RI and a Masters of Arts in International Relations from Troy University, Troy, AL.

Dr. Linden K. Johnson (Class of 1954 - Sandstone)
Linden Johnson attended Sandstone High School from 1942-1954. During his high school years, he was involved in band, baseball, football, basketball, and chorus. After graduating in 1954, he went on to college. He attended Bethel University for three years. After Bethel, Dr. Johnson spent three years at the University of Minnesota, and then Colorado State University. He obtained his Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Minnesota, and his Master's Degree from Colorado State. Dr. Johnson also attended the University of Nebraska, where he received his Doctorate Degree.

Throughout his life, Dr. Johnson has held many careers. He taught Science and Social Studies in Ogden, Iowa, and Hinckley, Minnesota and also coached Basketball and Football. Dr. Johnson was with the Nebraska State Department of Education for four years, and worked 30 years for St. Paul Public Schools. He was a member of the Athletic Department of Bloomington for 20 years, coaching Football, Basketball, Baseball, and girl's Softball.

Dr. Johnson was the founder of the State Organization of the Federal Administration Program, and served several years as head. Then, he went on to the National Organization. Linden also worked for the United States Department of Education for 9 years, with different school districts.

Among all of his career and professional highlights, Dr. Johnson was also involved in community service. He taught Sunday School for 38 years. At Wooddale Church in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, he is on the Elder Board and assists with calling ministries. From 1958-1960, Dr. Johnson was a Specialist in the United States Army. He spent 18 months in Germany for his tour of duty. He received two medals for his service; a good conduct medal and the European Medal.

Patrick "Pat" Mee (Class of 1961 - Askov)
Patrick "Pat" Mee attended Askov School graduating in 1961. After graduating with honors, he enlisted in the US Marine Corp where he became a pilot. He was wounded during his first tour of duty while in Vietnam. After re-covering from his wounds, he re-enlisted and continued to fly additional missions serving his country for seven years in the US Marine Corp and then for an additional 24 years in the US Marines Corp Reserves, retiring as a Colonel. Pat earned the National Defense Service Medal, and Purple Heart.

In addition to his military service, he was the owner of the Bruno-Askov Deep Rock Stations for 36 years. After selling the stations in 2006, he continued to help out at the stations, as well as driving bus for East Central School District. Pat was an active volunteer within the community serving for the Bruno Volunteer Fire Department from 1978-2011, serving as Fire Chief for 26 years, and as a first responder for the Askov Fire and Rescue.

Vern Mikkelsen (Class of 1945 - Askov)
Vern Mikkelson (born Arild Verner Agerskov Mikkelsen) is best known for his years as a professional basketball player with the Minneapolis Lakers. During high school, Mr. Mikkelsen played basketball (wearing number 99), track and kittenball. He was also a member of the yearbook staff, wrote for the school newspaper, played in the band, acted in plays, was in boys and mixed chorus. He was the secretary-treasurer of his nine-student graduating class of Askov of 1945.

Mr. Mikkelson entered Hamline University in St. Paul on a basketball scholarship, and in his senior year was voted an All-American and helped the team win a national championship in 1949. Later, in 1955, he earned a Master's degree in psychology from the University of Minnesota.

Following college, Mr. Mikkelsen played for the Minneapolis Lakers for 10 seasons earning 10,063 career points, 5,940 rebounds, and 1,151 assists. The Lakers won four NBA titles during his career, he played in six NBA All-Star games and he was named four times to the All-NBA Second Team.

Mr. Mikkelson went on to become the General Manager for American Basketball Association teams, the Minnesota Muskies, and the Minnesota Pipers, where he also coached. He was inducted into the Minnesota Sports Hall of Fame in 1988, and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1995.

Anita "Sparky" Nelson (Class of 1948 - Askov)
Anita Nelson, more commonly known as "Sparky," graduated from Askov in 1948. During school, she was involved with theater and work.

Sparky is a foster grandparent in Harvest Christian School. She makes quilts and rugs for people in need. She serves on Meals on Wheels. She volunteers on the Old Settler's Day committee in Bruno. She is dedicated to her church community in Trinity Lutheran Church. One of her biggest contributions to the community has to the Daisy's Bruno Thrift Store. She has managed this nonprofit organization for over 30 years. She and her husband also manage the Bruno Area Food Shelf. They have done this for about 25 years.

Philip Pesheck (Class of 1973 - Askov)
Philip Pesheck graduated from Askov High School in 1972. After graduation, he obtained his paramedic license and worked as a paramedic for eight years. While working as a paramedic, he continued his education at Normandale Community College, becoming a Police Officer.

Philip worked in law enforcement for 26 years at Brooklyn Center, MN and Minnetonka, MN. He worked for the Minnetonka Police Department from 1986-2011. He worked as a member of a SWAT team for 15 years, supervisor for 15 years, and as Commander for five years. Philip was promoted to Sergeant in 1994. He worked as an investigator and was Investigative Sgt for two years. He was selected as Officer of the Year in 2009. Philip became a member of the MN Patriot Guard in 2006 and was the statewide Law Enforcement Coordinator,

After retirement, he moved to Sundance, WY to start/maintain a working ranch.

Chris Thorvig (Class of 1962 - Sandstone)
Chris Thorvig attended Sandstone School and graduated in 1962. During that time, he participated in football, basketball, and baseball. After graduation, he attended St. Cloud State, MN earning a Bachelor Associate Degree in Business and Marketing. After college, he come back to the Sandstone area and become a very active member of the community.

Mr. Thorvig's awards and achievements include being a member of the Sandstone Volunteer Fire Department for 25 years and serving as Chief. He was a member of the Minnesota Grocer's Association Board. Chris also organized the local Dollars for Scholars Chapter.

Along with giving charitable donations to several communities and organizations, Mr. Thorvig was a Lions member. During his time as a Lions member, he received the Helen Keller Sight Award and the Distinguished Service Award for his dedication to the community and the Lions. His career highlights include being a community supporter, but one of his greatest achievements would be opening the local grocery store, "Chris' Food Center."

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