Virginia (Ginny) Hartmann
Few people have given back to the community to the degree that Ginny has, and always with a bright smile on her face. A leader in the Forest Lake Area Children’s Fund since its inception in 1987, she has served as a board member, treasurer and communication leader to help provide children in need with clothing and supplies, particularly winter clothing such as coats, hats and gloves. Known for her perseverance, Ginny has been known as someone who is willing to do “whatever it takes” to get the job done. She has always tried to get the best quality clothing possible for the children, and she is diligent about working with fundraising partners to receive the resources needed to continue to provide assistance to children and their families.
Betty, a 1961 graduate of Forest Lake High School, is well known in the community for her leadership role in the development of several successful programs in the school district and in the community. During her more than 37-year career in health care, Betty used a variety of tools to improve the lives of young people. In 1998 she helped create the organization “Friends Make a Difference,” helping create bonds between community members and elementary and secondary students through activities such as board games, lunch and conversation. She began with a group of 12 employees from Fairview Lakes Regional Medical Center as mentors and 12 area students, and now the program has grown to cover 12 area schools and include 250 students being mentored by area residents. Betty was also a founding member of the Tri County Youth and Family Partnership, and she helped start the “Introduction to Health Care” course in three area school districts as a response to a shortage of health care workers in the area.
A philanthropist and community activist, Corbett has donated a great deal of funding and a tremendous amount of time toward the betterment of the community, especially with regard to providing facilities for youth recreation. For 10 years, Corbett was a youth baseball coach for Forest Lake Area Schools Community Education and the American Legion. He not only conceived of the plan to build a baseball
grandstand at Schumacher Field, but he led the fundraising effort to raise money for the project and contributed money out of his own pocket to pay for the architecture fees. He also recruited volunteers who committed more than 3,000 of hours of work on the project until its completion. He has volunteered on the school district’s strategic planning committee, served as Forest Lake Jaycees president for two terms and was an active Rotarian for 10 years.
Doris made history in May of 1961 as the first woman ever elected to the Forest Lake School Board, where she served until 1964. She began her career as a teacher and taught English and Latin at Forest Lake High School from 1938 to 1943, and she also directed plays at the school, served as senior class advisor, librarian and as advisor to the Forest Breeze student newspaper. After leaving her teaching position, Doris worked with her husband, Earl, as co-owner the Forest Lake Times. She worked at the paper as a reporter and helped Earl start the city of Forest Lake’s first public library. She also served as vice president of the Forest Lake PTA in the 1960s and, as a school board member, was part of the school district’s rapid expansion.
Known as a strong advocate for the youth of Forest Lake, Howard has played a key role in the Forest Lake community through both his professional and volunteer work. He moved to Forest Lake in 1971 and immediately began coaching youth football and hockey, and in 1973 he started volunteering his time to the newly formed Community Scholarship Fund (CSF) organization. As an officer in the organization, he devoted many hours to fundraising and helping identify potential scholarship winners. Through his work as a reporter, columnist, editor and publisher for Sell Publishing and later ECM Publishing – the parent company of the Forest Lake Times - Howard had been a steadfast supporter of public education and continues to write on educational issues that affect the community and the state.
An outstanding teacher and leader in the district for more than 30 years, Bob’s oversight of the Forest Lake Area High School Agriculture Department and FFA Chapter have earned him numerous awards and honors, at the local, state and national levels. During his tenure as chapter advisor, the FFA Chapter has been recognized many times as a National 5-Star Chapter, the highest honor possible for a local chapter. In 1997 he was awarded the Ashland Golden Apple Teacher Achievement Award. He was also presented with the Outstanding Minnesota Agriculture Education Program award in 1998 and Outstanding Mentor award in 2005 - both awards given by the Minnesota Association of Agriculture Educators, an organization to which he was elected president in 2004. But the most obvious example of his leadership as a mentor is the fact that so many of his students have gone on to outstanding careers as agriculture educators themselves. several of them returning to work at Forest Lake Area Schools. Bob retired in 2011.
Courtland C. Nelson
A 1968 graduate of Forest Lake High School, Court has established himself as a national leader as a Parks and Recreation director. Prior to becoming Minnesota’s Director of Parks and Recreation, his career had taken him around the country in states such as Arizona and Utah. While as the Parks and Recreation director of the state of Utah, Court developed the venue for the cross country skiing and biathalon competitions for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games held at Soldier Hollow at Wasatch Mountain State Park.
G. Howard Ruggles
G. Howard, a 1950 graduate of Forest Lake High School, established himself as a successful local businessman and community leader who has dedicated time and money in helping young people. After returning from military service in the U.S. Army in 1958, G. Howard purchased Bob Johnson’s Sporting Goods and built the business until it was sold in 1974. During his many years in the community, he has served as President of the Greater Forest Lake Association, which was the precursor to the organization now known as the Forest Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, and he also served one term on the Forest Lake City Council. G. Howard has been a strong and vocal supporter of the school district and has provided an annual scholarship, given in his son’s name, to a worthy student. While in the sporting goods business, Howard was known for hiring students to help give them a financial head start on college.
Jordis, a former student at Forest Lake High School, has gained national notoriety as a recording artist and song writer. Her talents brought her first to the stage of the television show “Star Search” and then to the reality show “Rock Star: INXS,” where she competed against 14 other vocalists for the opportunity to become the lead singer of the famous Australian rock band. As the youngest contestant, at 22, Jordis placed fifth, but her outstanding performance landed her a recording contract with Epic Records. She was also a contestant on the TV show “The Voice,” and has performed with many internationally-renown musicians.