This past Saturday night, Mike and Edith Clarken were honored as the 2013 Estherville Lincoln Central School Foundation Champions in Education.
Quite appropriately, it was the Clarkens offering their volunteer services for the evening at this year's banquet at the Estherville Golf Course - Edith greeting guests at the door and Mike conducting the auction that helped raise money for the foundation.
Beyond that, the Clarkens' volunteerism in Estherville is legendary.
Anyone who has gone through Boy Scouts - and there are quite a few - remember Mike who has served Scouting at all levels, including being an Eagle Scout himself. Having attained the rank of Silver Beaver, the highest possible in scouting, Mike still serves on the Mid-America Council Board of Trustees. He has also had leadership roles with the Iowa Great Lakes Board of Realtors, Emmet County Fair Founders Board, the Graettinger Labor Day Parade, Sweet Corn Days parade, trail restoration in Ontario, Canada, Woody's Charities Auctions, flight breakfast, and the ELC Education Foundation.
Edith has had similar leadership roles with the Estherville Garden Club, Excel Estherville Beautification Committee, Iowa Great Lakes Board of Realtors, Rotary, PEO, Avera Holy Family Foundation and the ELC Education Foundation.
The Clarkens embody the very spirit of Estherville - undaunted in the face of adversity, they have seen the community through bad times as well as good. They have hung on when Estherville was at its lowest point in the 1980s.
They are famous for telling you what they think when you ask them a question, unflinchingly and without reservation.
There could not have been a better choice for this year's Champion in Education.