HUGO — When Hugo resident Bob Hanson received a call informing him that he was selected as the 2019 Good Neighbor of the Year, he was “flabbergasted.”
“I had no clue what was going on. My first thought was it was a prank call. I really didn’t expect anything like that,” he said. “I just try to do what everybody should do and help people out.”
Hanson, who has lived in Hugo with his wife Michele for 29 years, was nominated by a neighbor who wishes to remain anonymous.
Since 1995, when the tradition began, at least one person — not necessarily a Hugo resident — has been recognized for their importance to the Hugo community during Good Neighbor Days. Occasionally, it has been a couple, and in 2008 it was an entire family. Hanson is the 25th recipient.
The person who nominated Hanson explained that her husband has been very ill for nearly five years, so a lot of household tasks fall on her. “Anything I need he just does it for me. I can do a lot by myself, but he takes care of the overwhelming stuff that has been hard,” she explained.
Hanson has helped his neighbor on repeated occasions with tractor and car repairs and makes sure to keep her driveway clear of snow in the winter. In fact, in March, when he went on vacation to Palm Springs, California, he called his other neighbors to make sure they took care of her needs while he was away.
“Bob just goes beyond,” she said. “Every time I ask if I can do something for him and return the favor, he says ‘no, that’s what a good neighbor does.’”
Hanson has been married to his wife Michele for 40 years; they have two children, Emily and Ben, and two grandchildren, Zoey and Miles. Hanson worked for BSNF Railroad for 40 years before retiring in 2012. These days he spends a lot of his time golfing, fishing and visiting his cabin near Brainerd.
“It is an honor to be selected as Good Neighbor of the Year,” Hanson said. “It is nice to be recognized, but it was totally unexpected. I am sure there must have been a lot more worthy people than me.”
Hanson’s nominator said he should be deemed “the super wonderful neighbor of the year.”
Editor Shannon Granholm can be reached at 651-407-1227 or email@example.com.