A man who’s spent his life in service of his country and community was honored as German Valley’s “Most Valuable Person.”
German Valley Days takes place at Ben Miller Park, bordered by Church Street and College Street, and it was fitting that this year’s “Most Valuable Person” went to Dale Wilken - a man who personally cares for the park.
Every year, German Valley Days hosts games and food for the community, alongside annual traditions like the Little Miss and Mister Pageant and Trivia Contest.
Another such tradition, however, takes the community away from sheer entrainment for a brief moment to pay real admiration toward a pillar of German Valley’s community, in the form of honoring a “Most Valuable Person.”
This year was no different, as Donna Smith, German Valley Lions Club secretary, took to the stage during the pageant voting to speak on Wilken’s behalf, citing his personal history of service and dedication to Ben Miller Park.
“He takes that job very seriously. You may have passed the park and seen him hard at work moving, trimming, or performing other duties,” said Smith. “The park is always under his watchful eye.”
Before he was the park’s watchful eye, Wilken served in the U.S. Army following the Korean War. Afterwards, he worked as a farmer due west of German Valley.
He’s served as co-leader of the Webelos Scout program, participated in the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) plays, served the German Valley Historical Society, and worked with the food pantry.
Wilken has also served actively at Adeline Zion Evangelical church, having been a deacon, elder, Sunday School teacher, and youth group leader.
“How ironic that he is now taking care of the property that once was home to his high school, the Pleasant Prairie Academy, from which he graduated years ago,” said Smith.
After Smith’s declaration, Wilken came on stage to accept his sash and plaque, commemorating him as 2017’s “Most Valuable Person.”
“It’s an honor, and I never expected it,” said Wilken. “This is just how I was brought up; this is what you do, for yourself and your community.”