Foundation names 2024 Brasel Spirit of the Park winner 

By Julie Drechsler

The St. Anthony Park Community Foundation has named Mark Hansen as the first recipient of its Michael Brasel Spirit of the Park Award.  

Mark has been a long-standing community leader and it is certainly time to publicly recognize him for his service to St.  Anthony Park. He grew up and has lived most of his life in St.  Anthony Park, volunteering in numerous ways throughout the years and across many organizations.

Although perhaps best known as a Boy Scout leader for the past several decades, Mark Hansen has worn and continues to wear several volunteer hats.

Many will remember Mark for his support of the St. Anthony Park Elementary School annual carnival and the fundraising barbecue at the 4th in the Park. He has also been a long-time supporter of local hockey, serving as a coach and flooding the rink in Langford Park.

Mark’s involvement with his local church, St. Anthony Park Lutheran has provided him with even more opportunities to share his talent and commitment to volunteering through his support of youth programs, fundraising and church building maintenance.

Perhaps most remarkable is Mark’s demonstrated generosity, truly going above and beyond. When a friend and neighbor needed a kidney transplant, Mark didn’t hesitate to volunteer to donate his kidney.

Even when it was determined that it wasn’t a successful match, Mark donated it anyway to a complete stranger.

The Spirit of the Park award was recently renamed in honor of Brasel, a well-known SAP resident and youth hockey coach who was murdered in May 2023 trying to thwart a car robbery in front of his home.   

Our foundation’s annual award recognizes a person who has demonstrated extraordinary dedication to the St. Anthony Park community. Nominations are made by fellow community members, identified for their service and commitment to our community.

It was noted in the award nomination for Mark that he “never draws attention to what he has contributed (and still contributes) regarding his time. He just does it. And enjoys it. A truly wonderful asset to this community.”

The SAP community has certainly benefited from Mark’s continued service to our community.

Julie Drechsler is the executive director of the St. Anthony Park Community Foundation.

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