The Pioneer of the Year is a member in good standing of MTP who has made noteworthy contributions to the organization. It is usually awarded to an individual who has demonstrated his/her commitment to the organization over a significant period of time.
Gary V. Hanson became a member of the Pioneers in 2008. His ancestor was Charles Haeg, who came from Germany and settled in St. Anthony, MN in September of 1851. He then moved to Richfield, near Mother Lake, in 1853 where he farmed until his death in 1891. Charles was a soldier at Ft Snelling, serving in the Mexican War and at Ft Ridgely.
Gary has done intensive family research and he and his wife, Jeanine are avid antique collectors. They have two sons. He has never traveled far from his roots. One of his many hobbies is photography. He comes to the Fair and has been taking photographs of our exhibit, the workers and demonstrators. He then would send these to us at his own expense.
After many years of trying to get photographers to digitize our portrait collection, Gary stepped up to help. He takes time off from work and travels to our building in Le Center and spends hours taking photographs. Because of Gary, we are nearly finished with the digitization process and he is looking over the previous ones done by others and is willing to re-do many of them. His work is excellent.
He has given his time and expertise to help the Pioneers realize a dream. Not only through the portraits but also through us preserving our organizations heritage. He has helped document our displays, artifacts and volunteers. He is certainly a credit to his ancestry; he carries on a fine tradition of helping others and doing service to Minnesota.
We are honored and proud to present this award to Gary for all his hard work and dedication to the Minnesota Territorial Pioneers.