Mr. Tony Hawke, I have a bone to pick with you.
A number of years ago, I approached you to fix a couple potholes in the driveway leading from County G towards the historic stone arch bridge at Scandinavia’s Memorial park. You did something different. You brought your grader in, reshaped the drive, hauled in numerous yards of gravel, spread it evenly and created a much better roadway for the public to use. You didn’t charge anything for that.
I also contacted you a few years later in 2006 about helping develop a tractor pull track at the Scandinavia Corn Roast grounds. There were a number of area contractors and donors that stepped up to the plate that year and we appreciate them all for their in-kind gifts. But you, Tony, have treated that track like one of your own. And in some cases, you’ve hired additional men to help. Each year since, you make sure it’s ready for the tractor pull, you meticulously groom and care for it. You do not charge anything for that either.
In the winter of 2007-08, I told you we were seriously considering an addition and renovation to the Scandinavia Lutheran Church. As the building plans began to unfold, I asked if you would give us a bid for the excavating needed to dig the basement and other items relative to that project. We began construction in the summer of 2008, without an excavating bid; you did the work informing me you would donate the excavating. Mr. Hawke, you’re not even a member of our church, yet you made it happen, and once again, no charge.
Then there was that Saturday morning when we had things lined up to move the Eliason Log Cabin from its home since 1854 to its new home in Memorial Park. You asked me if we had enough help and equipment to tackle the job. I believed we did, so I said you should do your own work that day. Then we got the big truck stuck. So, I dialed your number and within minutes, you were there with a large pay loader and load of gravel to help us out. I guess you must have forgotten to charge that day too.
I recall on a cool fall day in 2010, about a year and a half after the church was dedicated, we had an issue and needed a hole dug next to the foundation to make a repair for a problem that was not yours. I found you at a jobsite, working for a customer that actually pays you for your work. I brought you a cup of coffee and you said jokingly, “How much is that coffee going to cost me?” I explained the situation. You left your compensated job, for a gratis job and once again, you saved the day.
You have volunteered your time, talents and equipment for many projects with Friends of Scandinavia History and Jorgens Park and so many others that I’ve either forgotten or don’t even know about.
For numerous years you have served in a thankless position as a trustee for the village of Scandinavia.
You’ve been simply too generous to the Scandinavia community. Mr. Hawke, I believe sometimes you’re an “unsung hero,” someone who makes a substantive yet unrecognized contribution.
I sincerely appreciate your time, generosity and above all your friendship.
Mitchell J. Swenson
Scandinavia Booster Club
Scandinavia Lutheran Church