Three named to Como community honor roll

By Scott Carlson

The District 10 Como Community Council recently named Eva Goetzman, Jessica Willman and Gordon Wrobel as its civic honor roll recipients for 2023.

The honor roll is an annual tribute that recognizes everyday residents and organizations who make a sustained and lasting impact in their neighborhood. The winners were honored at District 10’s March 19 meeting.

Here is a brief synopsis on each honoree:

Eva Goetzman has been a Como neighborhood resident since 2015 and active in a variety of volunteer activities, including gardening and National Night Out.

“Each year since 2020, I’ve been grateful and humbled by the growing support from local businesses and gardeners for my plant sale fundraiser for the food shelf at Hallie Q. Brown,” Goetzman told the Bugle. (That fundraiser raised more than $1,800 this year, according to District 10 Vice Chairman Dan Edgerton.)

 “This year, I’m excited not only for the fifth annual plant sale fundraiser but also continuing the native courtyard garden renovation at Crossroads Elementary.”

Jessica Willman has lived in the Como neighborhood for the last five years and has been a community organizer at District 10 for the past three years. She describes her job as “life changing and life giving in so many ways.

“I’m most proud of the work done to build our Neighborhood Outreach with our annual community events that attract over 2,000 neighbors annually,” Willman said. “Being able to see it go from an idea to a plan to something we look forward to each year has been such an affirmation that we are listening to the needs of the community.”

Willman also has been a key contributor in working with Saint Paullinators of south Como to plant more than 15 native gardens in the south Como community.

“I’m excited to see those gardens flourish as I walk through my neighborhood,” Willman said.

District 10 board chairperson Jenne Nelson noted Willman “has transformed the community engagement programming of the Como Community Council. Because of her leadership, hundreds and hundreds of our neighbors have gathered together at the joyful and meaningful events she’s created.”

Gordon Wrobel, a Como resident for more than 35 years, is active on District 10’s Environment Committee, helping volunteer with various neighborhood cleanup projects including Como Lake. the annual Citywide Spring Cleanup and the City of St. Paul’s annual drop-off events in the State Fairgrounds, hosted by District 10.

“Not sure why I gravitated first to collecting trash but it was probably in knowing that ‘trash begets trash’,” Wrobel told the Bugle. “Also, I don’t find just walking all that interesting. Picking up trash gives another purpose to a walk. When District 10 organized clean-up events, I was all in.”

As for why he volunteers, Wrobel said it’s “a great way to build community and make friends. Volunteering, whatever the task might be, always returns much more than what is given.”

To see more about Goetzman, Willman and Wrobel, go to this District 10 link: district10comopark.org/2023honorroll. 

Scott Carlson is managing editor of the Bugle.

Photo cutline: District 10’s honor roll recipients for 2023 are, from left to right, Jessica Willman, Gordon Wrobel and Eva Goetzman. Photo by Lou Michaels.

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