Columbia Heights 2021 Outstanding Citizen winners announced Release
Two Columbia Heights residents recently received the 2021 Outstanding Citizen Award.
Linda Fowler, 62, received the award in the regular category and Drake Pham, 16, won the award in the youth category.
Fowler and Pham will later be honored with a reception at Town Hall.
Volunteering and community involvement happens in the family for Linda Fowler.
Six years after her father, James Fowler, was named Columbia Heights Humanitarian of the Year in 2021, Linda received the same honor – now known as the Outstanding Citizen’s Award. James Fowler is not alive today to see his daughter receive the honor, but he didn’t miss the opportunity to tell her how proud he was of her before he died last October, said Linda Fowler.
Three years ago, Linda Fowler began volunteering regularly at SACA Food Shelf alongside her father, a veteran SACA volunteer.
“He influenced me a lot,” she said. “I enjoyed the time we spent there together.
Linda Fowler continues to donate about eight hours a week to SACA, sorting food in the warehouse. It has been a time of high demand from those in need, she said, and the experience reminded her how lucky she is not to be in such a position herself. difficult.
“It breaks my heart to see it,” Fowler said. “But volunteering at SACA also saved my mind, in a way – to get out of the house and help other people.
Fowler, a Columbia Heights native who recently retired from Medtronic as a pacemaker analyst and electrical technician, also volunteers at First Lutheran Church, gathering supplies for Sunday School teachers, taking care of the community garden and helping at their farmers market.
Last year, to help with the pollinator population, she learned how to raise monarch butterflies from eggs, and this summer, she will play a role in the Mayor Monarch Pledge effort. When not volunteering, she makes crafts and donates them.
Despite all the ways she has been involved in the community, she said she didn’t expect to win this award. She was nominated by another SACA volunteer and selected by Mayor Amáda Márquez Simula and 2019 Outstanding Citizen Award winner Cathy Miske. She received the news on a voice mail from town.
“I must have listened to the voicemail three times before I believed it,” Fowler said. But maybe her father wouldn’t have been so surprised.
Drake Pham got involved in community volunteering with the Loaves and Fishes program, working with Columbia Heights Recreation to distribute food to those in need. He later joined the Key Club, an organization of young volunteers, and served as chapter president during his freshman year at Columbia Heights High School.
Now at 16, Pham has become the city’s first-ever winner of the Outstanding Citizen’s Award in the youth category, aimed at 14-18 year olds.
Among all the events and programs that Pham has helped organize over the years, and all the volunteer opportunities he has participated in, a highlight has been his work with SACA Food Shelf. He partnered with SACA to create volunteer opportunities for Key Club members at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and he then worked to rally students to pack groceries for them. elderly people confined to their homes at a time when SACA was short of volunteers due to health issues.
“Without this effort, the food shelf would have struggled to provide food to so many needy people during this pandemic,” wrote the author of Pham’s proposal. “He didn’t just organize it, he also participated.”
Pham, who plans to study sports management after graduation, said he got involved in these programs because he admired the way people in this community care about each other. and protect each other. “I wanted to be a part of it,” he said.