Edina, Minnesota, Oct. 25, 2023 – Edina Mayor Jim Hovland recently presented 2023 Mayor’s Commendations to outstanding volunteers and service organizations in the community. Hovland surprised each of the winners over the past few months.
“The Mayor’s Commendation recipients are either outstanding members of our community or our City staff, serving people and organizations in our town with a sense of purpose and responsibility, regardless of their age. It was a distinct pleasure surprising each of them with their awards, all of which were accepted with some level of astonishment and always with great humility,” Hovland said. “They are a special group of people. If you know any of the award winners, give them a call and congratulate them or stop them in the neighborhood or on the street to say ‘thank you’ for helping others in such a selfless way. Theses awardees, and others like them, make Edina a very special place indeed to live.”
The 2023 winners are:
Ryan Banaszewski, Mayor’s Community Involvement Commendation
Police Officer Ryan Banaszewski is a Neighborhood Engagement Officer, serving the York Condominium Association and Sunnyslope Neighborhood. At this year’s Night to Unite party at the York Condominiums, Banaszewski made a presentation and sprung into action when one of the residents had a medical emergency.
Arlene Clapp, Mayor’s Outstanding Senior Commendation
After working 14 years as an elementary school teacher, Arlene Clapp has worked more than 30 as a recruiter in the commercial real estate and construction industries. She has been a regular volunteer in the community, most notably as part of the Edina Federated Women’s Club.
Peter Fitzgerald, Mayor’s Individual Service Commendation
Peter Fitzgerald led a group of hockey and skating supporters who pushed for improvements at Braemar Arena and headed up the “Yes” campaign to educate voters on how a sales tax increase would improve the Arena and other Parks & Recreation facilities.
Zoya Hasan, Mayor’s Youth Commendation
Tennis champion and Edina High School student Zoya Hasan has worked to bring a tennis clinic to economically disadvantaged kids and has launched two charitable initiatives with her brother Abid. Vision for All helps get eye care to those in need and Kits for Kids MN collects and distributes activity supplies to local kids undergoing surgery.
Laura Heinmiller, Mayor’s Service to Youth Commendation
Dr. Laura Heinmiller led the Edina Soccer Association, the largest youth recreational soccer program in Minnesota, through the COVID-19 pandemic with creative, safe programs. This lifelong soccer player also coaches, serves on the Association’s Board of Directors and continues to give back to the sport that has given her so much.
Sarah Hu, Mayor’s Youth Commendation
Sarah Hu was President of Edina’s Girls United as a junior in high school. She oversaw the effort to get free and accessible feminine hygiene products in Edina High School bathrooms. A student activist, she helped coordinate a student walkout during the 2020-2021 school year to highlight the lived experiences of Asian students in the Edina community. She also dedicates a significant amount of time to Skijammers, where she teaches younger peers the safety and art of skiing and snowboarding.
Nominations for the 2024 Mayor’s Commendations will be accepted in the spring. For more information or to read full stories about most of the 2023 winners, visit EdinaMN.gov or contact Communications Director Jennifer Bennerotte at [email protected].