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"Preston Pride" is back alive

By Mitchell Walbridge

Fri, Apr 4th, 2014

Dan Christianson, Chairman/President of F&M Community Bank, presents the Preston Area Chamber of Commerce with a check for $500 in support of the Chamber’s Preston Pride Clean Up Day scheduled for April 26. Pictured left to right are: Ken Stager, Dan Christianson, Tim Kiehne, Sarah Wangen, Gabby Kinneberg, and Carol Bonde. Photo by Mitchell Walbridge

As the weather outside becomes more tolerable, there’s no doubt that more people are looking forward to spending more time outdoors. The area of southeastern Minnesota will soon be abuzz with hundreds of tourists who look forward to enjoying our small, quaint, yet enriching communities with all of the small-town charm that they offer. As the great times of spring and summer now lie ahead, those in the community of Preston are looking to do the best they can in coming together to improve the appearance of Preston’s downtown and neighborhoods.

The first-ever Preston Pride Clean Up Day is scheduled to take place Saturday, April 26, 2014. The clean up day event is part of the Preston Area Chamber of Commerce’s Preston Pride Campaign, a concept that encourages community business owners and residents to be proud of how much Preston is a great community to live and visit.

F&M Community Bank Chairman/President Dan Christianson feels that Preston Pride is a great concept, creating a positive output. “Cleaning up our city not only maintains a positive image, but improves the way our residents and business owners feel about our town… overall, helps us take good care of our visitors.” Christianson and F&M Community Bank donated $500 to the Preston Pride Clean Up Day, helping with the expenses such as Preston Pride buttons and any other relative costs. The bank is also a leader by forming a group of volunteers to help out on April 26.

The term “Preston Pride” is said to have been coined by long-time community resident Dick Nelson, who passed away in October of 2005. Nelson was an avid supporter of everything Preston, from being involved in an abundance of community events and offering his services where he could. Nelson also served as mayor of Preston for a time after serving 31 years in the United States Airforce, seeing the battles of World War II and two tours in Vietnam. After his return to Preston, Nelson worked hard for the development of the area’s bike trail system and to coordinate certain Preston sites with the historic registry.

Described as a “walking advertisement” for Preston in a MN150 nomination by Cherrie Brink, Nelson was said to be one who “worked tirelessly and passionately for the people and home that he loved”, making it no surprise that Nelson had a overwhelming amount of Preston Pride.

Preston Chamber Clean Up Day Committee, consisting of Chamber President Sarah Wangen, Gabby Kinneberg, Kari Odenbrett, Ken Stager, Carole Bond, and Nancy Back, have been piecing together the details of the event for the past several months. The overall goal: To pick up trash and to clean up Preston’s greenspaces to make the town beautiful again.

Event organizers recommend the following: Come prepared by bringing your own gloves, rakes, shovels, brooms, etc. Also, it is suggested that participants wear green. During the clean up hours, participants will be divided into groups in order to tackle the entirety of Preston in different zones.

Clean up will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. with a lunch following at the Lion’s Club Shelter located at the trailhead. Those interested in participating can email, or sign up at the Fillmore County Journal office or City Hall. Chamber President Sarah Wangen gives the reminder that everyone is encouraged to participate, “All organizations, clubs, businesses, and ages are welcome! This is where I grew up and this is where I’m raising my kids, so I want Preston to be the best it can be.”

Preston Pride extends further than the clean up day. Throughout the coming months, you’ll be seeing a lot of the Preston Pride buttons, a symbol of the campaign. In fact, you’ll probably receive one of your own to display as Trout Days events such as the parade rapidly approach.

Also taking place on April 26 are the NTC clean up of a portion of the Root River as well as the Lions Club highway clean up. So step up, register, help out April 26, and most importantly show your Preston Pride!

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