Five Como Park and St. Anthony Park residents were placed on the City of St. Paul’s Neighborhood Honor Roll in January. Each year, residents of all 17 districts in the city are encouraged to nominate neighbors who make their neighborhoods a better place to live, work and play. The award recipients will be honored at a celebration at the University of St. Thomas on Jan. 29.
District 10 honorees are Roger Bergerson, Frank Dolejsi and Teri Heyer. The District 12 honorees are Daniel Sarasti and Betty Wheeler. Learn more about each honoree below.
Roger Bergerson is a historian and former Pioneer Press reporter who grew up in Como and is now “an exemplary resident of and ambassador for our neighborhood,” his supporters say.
Publicly, he is known for exploring and sharing the neighborhood’s heritage—through articles on Como history that he writes regularly for the Park Bugle, through popular presentations and through his book, Winging It, which tells the story of the airport that used to exist at Snelling and Larpenteur avenues, the state’s first.
Privately, Bergerson’s activities include helping to take care of an elderly neighbor. “For the last several years, he has been taking this gentleman twice a week on errands to shop, bank and visit the library,” his nominators say. “Even when facing his own health challenges recently, he made sure this man’s needs were being met. Rog demonstrates true neighborliness every day.”
Frank Dolejsi is another one of those retirees who hasn’t slowed down. The 30-year Como resident is a Master Gardener who uses his talent, knowledge and commitment to environmental stewardship not only at home but in the community as well.
He is a member of the District 10 board who has served on the Land Use Capital Improvement Budget committees. Dolejsi now chairs the district’s Environment Committee. As chair, he oversees a wide range of citizen initiatives, including several designed to protect and ultimately improve the water quality of Lake Como. Most recently, he is spearheading efforts to increase organic composting by neighborhood residents and to establish a convenient food-waste drop-off site in the neighborhood.
Dolejsi is a frequent volunteer at neighborhood events, whether he’s wearing his “Como Composts” shirt or not.
Theresa “Teri” Heyer is a forester who is longtime chair of the Como Woodland Advisory Committee. The committee provides ongoing guidance and advice to St. Paul
Parks and Recreation on the development, use and maintenance of the Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom.
Heyer played an important role in securing resources to create the “outdoor classroom” status, in securing “school forest” designation for the woodland from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and in forging partnerships with schools that use the classroom. She is also a hands-on mentor for school field trips, leads tours of the outdoor classroom, and volunteers with Parks and Recreation’s EcoStewards program. “It’s a labor of love,” she says.
Betty Wheeler is longtime member of the St. Anthony Park community. She has been an immense asset to District 12. Betty goes above and beyond in her service to the
community, especially in regard to environmental and transportation issues. From single-handedly securing an air-quality monitoring station in South St. Anthony Park to spearheading grant proposals, Wheeler offers support and leadership on a wide variety of community projects. She not only leads on community initiatives, she builds community through her both passionate and inclusive attitude.
Daniel Sarasti embodies community engagement. Whenever the neighborhood needs more hands on deck, Sarasti volunteers first. From helping to plant rain gardens and plant medians, to attending all community functions, Sarasti makes sure he stands up to help on any project.