Huisingas honored as Citizens of the Year
BY BRYCE KELLY
Mt. Pleasant News
It may have come as a surprise to Al and Melinda Huisinga, but it didn’t seem to shock the crowd when it was announced during Thursday’s Mt. Pleasant Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet that the couple would be honored with the Citizen of the Year Award.
Visibly moved and humbled, both Al and Melinda, of Mt. Pleasant, accepted the honor from last year’s recipients, Ron and Alecia Clouse, also of Mt. Pleasant, at Thursday’s banquet to a standing ovation.
“This is all just overwhelming to me and very, very humbling,” said Al after accepting the award. “Truly, the cream of the crop is right here in Mt. Pleasant. Melinda and I love it here, and really do enjoy being around all of you. Melinda and I have never seen a community with more dignified leaders and compassionate individuals who just want to help other people.”
Now joining a small handful of couples that have shared the Citizen of the Year Award, Mt. Pleasant Area Chamber Alliance Vice President, Kristi Ray, says both Al and Melinda are equally deserving of the honor.
“Melinda and Al, along with the long list of past recipients of this award, only prove just how many wonderful people we have in Mt. Pleasant who have given so much of their time and attention to the people of our community,” said Ray.
The pair is both responsible for the planning and managing of the Mt. Pleasant/Iowa Wesleyan booth at the Iowa State Fair. In addition, both Al and Melinda have played integral roles in the Mt. Pleasant Festival of Lights and Midwest Old Threshers. They have also assisted with various fundraisers for Iowa Wesleyan University, the Union Block Building and Henry County Health Center. Separately, Al serves on the Mt. Pleasant City Council, and in the Mt. Pleasant Kiwanis Club and local Rotary club. Melinda currently sits on the Mt. Pleasant Community School Board and is a member of P.E.O. These volunteer efforts, Ron Clouse says, are just a handful of ways the couple serves the local community.
“Al and Melinda Huisinga are loyal and distinguished members of our city, and it is more than fitting and appropriate that they receive this award together,” said Ron Clouse. “We are all very thankful for their service.”
Accompanied by their daughter and grandsons, the couple say the award was “an honor” and will be “forever cherished”, and insists they really do enjoy the time they have been able to spend pouring back into the community.
“Al and I are honored to be among the people who have received this award in the past. We haven’t done anything different than the rest of them,” insisted Melinda, who also echoed many of her husband’s sentiments. “We have enjoyed living here so much, and it’s by and large because of the wonderful people we have here with us. We just are so thankful that the Chamber saw fit to bestow us with this honor, and we look forward to continuing our involvement in Mt. Pleasant.”