Hero of History Honored: Fert Faust is Outstanding Citizen of the Year 2021
More commonly known in town as Fert, Faust went to Visit Brainerd on Tuesday afternoon under the impression he was going to be a tour guide for an Illinois family reunion group. Instead, he was taken aback by the news of being named Outstanding Citizen of the Year 2021.
Friends and family who had been hiding in the back of the Visit Brainerd store sneaked in as Faust spoke about Brainerd’s recent 150th birthday celebration after learning the city was working on a video to wrap up the talks. last week’s festivities.
As Faust spoke about Brainerd’s story, his love for the city and its rich past became evident, revealing a glimpse into why he won the Distinguished Service Award.
A partnership between Brainerd Community Action and the Brainerd Jaycees, the Distinguished Service Awards honor outstanding residents and organizations in a variety of categories, including nonprofits, volunteers, community service and, of course, the Citizen of the ‘year.
It was Faust’s passion for history and for Brainerd himself that made him this year’s choice.
âI’m just blown away by Citizen of the Year because what I’m doing here, for me, is just natural and is just plain fun and what I love to do,â Faust said.
Faust was instrumental in establishing the Brainerd Town Center Historic Walks in 2006, organizing tour groups around town and explaining the historical significance of various buildings and other locations. He was co-chair of the first week in Brainerd’s history in 2014 and has been involved in the annual event ever since. Among his projects this year were finding the town’s uninstalled 1971 centennial plaques and relocating them to the town, along with other information boards.
Faust also runs a website – fertfaust.wixsite.com/brainerd-history – where he shares his knowledge of Brainerd’s story.
âHe really wants everyone to love Brainerd as much as he does,â said a letter of appointment for Faust. âFert does all of these things with enthusiasm and humor, making the story FUN! Fert is also a character. He is proud to be part of the elite Grand Elbows team. He is the âgo to guyâ when you need historical information. He is a collector of many things and is particularly fond of bricks and lanterns. And I don’t think he’s ever gone a day without wearing his Grain Belt Beer belt buckle. His personal quirks and community passion make him the perfect candidate for Citizen of the Year.
Holly Holm, Destination Services Specialist at Visit Brainerd, spoke about a recent history walking tour participant who said Faust was an amazing tour guide and had an apparent passion.
âI think that sums it all up,â Holm said. “… We just want to thank you for everything you do.” We know you are heavily involved behind the scenes – probably a thankless job most of the time – but we’re all here today to thank you.
For Faust, who was disappointed not to do a historic tour on Tuesday and joked that he would do it anyway whether someone followed or not, said he had already received all the thanks he had. need.
âMy thanks are all these posts that we have in the ground with history markers,â he said.
A Distinguished Service Awards banquet to honor this year’s winners is scheduled for October 21.