On the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the Bloomington Crime Prevention Association sponsored the first annual Tom Burnett Jr. Hometown Heroes Celebration at the Hilton Mall of America to recognize people in the community who demonstrate leadership, selflessness, and a commitment to others.
“We wanted to remember Tom Burnett Jr. and the sacrifices he made, but not only the sacrifices that he made on 9/11 but who he was as a person,” said James Caauwe, President of the Bloomington Crime Prevention Association. “We looked at those qualities that he had of leadership and of community service and recognized people that are doing that today.”
The Tom Burnett Jr. Remember Award was given to Harmon Killebrew. Killebrew played for the Minnesota Twins from 1961-1974. The Harmon Killebrew Foundation was founded in 1998 and was dedicated to enriching the quality of life by promoting positive and healthful participation in sports. Killebrew’s widow, Nita Killebrew, accepted the award.
The Tom Burnett Jr. Recognize Award went to former Congressman Jim Ramstad for demonstrating a lifetime of service to his community. Ramstad was a co-sponsor of the landmark Mental Health and Addiction Parity Act.
The Tom Burnett Jr. Raise Award went to Bloomington Public Schools for initiating the Citizenship Education Curriculum developed at Oak Grove Middle School. Students learn about citizenship, social justice and the difference one person can make.
Special guests and speakers were Governor Mark Dayton, Senator Amy Klobuchar, Father Mike Tegeder, Barry ZeVan The Weatherman, and Diana Pierce, KARE 11 anchor. Alison Scott and Kevin Bowe performed the Star Spangled Banner and an original composition titled Everyday Heroes.
The Bloomington Police Department also presented three awards. The Citizens Medal of Valor went to James Ashley Grover. The Department Commendation Medal went to Dan Murphy. The Employee Medal of Honor went to Troy Meyer.
The Bloomington Crime Prevention Association is sponsoring the event next year. The celebration is open to the public.
Rick Munson, former president of the Bloomington Crime Prevention Association remembered when the celebration was only an idea. “After Tom Burnett Jr. died in the plane crash, I thought it would be a good idea to tie his legacy to Bloomington,” said Munson. “We have been talking about this for a good six or seven years… and we spent two years in the planning stages. A true hero like Tom to be attached to our community is amazing and the fact that we can build that legacy into perpetuity is awesome.”