Commissioner Carol Brooker honored for volunteer service

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Sanders County Commissioner Carol Brooker will be honored in Helena June 2 as she was recently selected to receive a ServeMontana award. (courtesy photo)

For her hard work and dedication to the people of Sanders County, Commissioner Carol Brooker will be making the trip to the state capitol in Helena next month to accept the 2017 ServeMontana Award.

An award selected by the Governor’s Office of Community Service and the Montana Commission on Community Service, the ServeMontana Awards highlight individuals for service and volunteer work in the areas of education, healthy futures, environmental stewardship, veterans & military families, economic opportunity, disaster services, emergency preparedness, and emergency response.

“The ServeMontana Awards provide an opportunity for the public to recognize the outstanding folks that devote time each and every day to make their community a better place,” Dan Ritter, Director of the Governor’s Office of Community Service, said. “Montanans have always had a strong ethic of service, and it’s through these awards that we are able to highlight this very principle and commitment that makes Montana a better place to live.”

Brooker says she did not know she had been nominated and only found out about winning the award after receiving a message on her home phone from the Governor’s office.

“It was a complete surprise, I cried mostly,” she said. “I was so honored to have one of my employees nominate me. That means more to me than the award. Also, the support letters from some of the boards I sit on and community members were very touching. As far as what does it mean to the county, anytime someone in your county is recognized for good work it brings positive reactions to the county. I love my job, and I love serving the folks of Sanders County. I just want to help make Sanders County a healthier, happier place to live.”

According to the award announcement on ServeMontana’s website, “Carol’s commitment to her community is evident by her serving on nearly 20 volunteer boards in Sanders County. She is a true servant of the people and always seeks to elevate others over herself. Carol has served as a Sanders County Commissioner for over 20 years and cares deeply about her neighbors. Whether it’s a statewide issue, a challenge within Sanders County, an improvement necessary on one of our rural towns or just a person in need, Carol is there to help. She is a valued resource with a history of unbiased reason, hard work and hands on leadership. With all of her volunteer service, Carol balances daily life with family and friends while enjoying Montana’s great outdoors.”

Brooker was selected for the award after being nominated by co-worker Kathy Conlin, who said Brooker’s commitment to the people of Montana is unparalleled.

“Carol has been a role model and hero for me, both personally and professionally. I am constantly impressed by her tireless dedication and commitment to what is right,” Conlin said. “It means so much to me that Carol received the Serve Montana Award, because that is what she is, a servant, and she deserves to be recognized. Carol spends an unbelievable time every single day helping the people of Thompson Falls, Plains, Sanders County, Missoula County, and the State of Montana. She is on so many boards across the state, that it is impossible to say just how her extensively her efforts have impacted these communities. The presence and experience she contributes is tremendously valuable, and we are honored to have her represent Montana.”

In addition to Conlin’s nomination, the state also received several letters supporting Brooker’s selection.

“We expect our elected officials to do a great deal, but as members of the public we often do not understand the many conflicting opinions, unexpected challenges and ongoing obstacles they face on a daily basis. So, we are sometimes disappointed in the performance of those we elect to office. Sanders County Commissioner Carol Brooker in an amazing exception,” Paradise Elementary School Preservation Committee members John and Karen Thorson wrote in a letter of support. “Elected officials may sometimes be prone to having a limited view of what is needed, what is doable and what is possible. Carol has demonstrated a tenacity for exploring options, staying the course and making things happen in our county.”

Cancer Network of Sanders County President Kathleen Miller summed up Brooker’s efforts in her letter of support.

“Carol is a humble servant for all the people in Sanders County,” she said. “She never needs accolades for her service, but she should have them.”

Brooker will receive her award at a ceremony in the State Senate Chambers on the third floor of the State Capitol Building June 2.

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