It’s incredible what can be accomplished if everyone helps just a little.
That was the message longtime community leader Allen Paschen delivered Tuesday in accepting the Baraboo Gem Award.
“All it takes is an hour,” he told the City Council, “if everybody would just do SOMETHING.”
Each month, Mayor Mike Palm gives the Gem Award to someone who has helped the community prosper. Paschen was honored for his role as a business leader, as he led the NECO-Hammond manufacturing plant for many years; and for his community boosterism, as Paschen played an integral role in bringing a two-year University of Wisconsin campus to Baraboo.
Tuesday’s meeting represented a homecoming for Paschen, as he served 15 years on the council. During his tenure, the council oversaw construction of East Elementary School and a new high school — then a city responsibility — and the purchase of land that became Madalon Industrial Park.
“I really appreciate the work you people do, and I don’t envy you one bit,” Paschen told the council, which he jokingly called the “second-best” in Baraboo history.
Paschen has served on many leadership boards during his 65 years in Baraboo, including those of the Baraboo Economic Development Commission, St. Clare Hospital, Sauk County Development Corporation and Baraboo Country Club. By his side, as was the case Tuesday evening, was wife Mona.
Paschen also was involved in many community groups, including the local Masonic Lodge, Elks Club, American Legion and Circus World Museum.
For his charitable work and leadership, in 1998 the Baraboo Kiwanis Club gave Paschen the Dr. Al Dippel Community Service Award. Paschen is one of three Gem Award recipients — along with Bob Dewel and Joan Fordham — who also won the Dippel Award.
Paschen said he isn’t alone in giving of his time to Baraboo: That’s what makes this a special place. “I’m very happy to live in a city like Baraboo,” he said.