The sounds of a Jazz duo could be heard from the street as people gathered inside the K.K. Berge building in downtown Granite Falls.

It was a special occasion as the GAAC prepared to recognize long time community advocate and arts supporter Mary Gillespie with their first annual Community Service award.

As Gillespie entered the building she was greeted by over one hundred people gathered to share their gratitude for her many efforts to promote Granite Falls over a period of several years.

Highlighting the local attractions, arts, culture and history has been an inherent passion of Gillespie’s because she believes in Granite Falls, its business community and all the potential that exists in an effort to benefit the place we call home.

“We just love you and all you have done for the arts in Granite Falls,” said GAAC member Tammy Isfeld while presenting Gillespie with a “well deserved” award and showing of appreciation.

Adding, “Your creativity and willingness to welcome and work with everybody is something we’ve appreciated about you.”

With that Isfeld called attention to the evenings program which was filled with the words of several community advocates sharing their thoughts about the impact Gillespie has had on the community of Granite Falls.

GAAC member Diane Ladner said, “there were many more but we didn’t have enough room to include them all.”

GAAC member Karen Odden said “Mary Gillespie has done so much for the Granite Falls area… She has promoted tourism in many ways— in person, in print, and by gaining outside funding for special activities and entertainment.”

Mayor Dave Smiglewski added “Mary Gillespie has been a torch bearer for our community’s unique heritage and she has been an outspoken and resourceful advocate for public art in Granite Falls.

So, what’s next for Gillespie? She has no intention of slowing down saying, “I’m not going anywhere and I’m not stopping anytime soon.” Adding, “tomorrow I’ll be attending the Scenic Byway meeting.”

To quote another tribute from Ashley Hanson of Placebase Productions and the YES! House, “Mary knows what resources and partners to get on board to make it happen...she is creative, energetic, enthusiastic, and most importantly, she shows up for her community.”

Hanson went on to say, “This is a rare trait and one that needs to be celebrated and supported.”

Indeed it is. Isfeld said, “We just wanted to do something positive to thank Mary for all her hard work on behalf of Granite Falls.”

With that the GAAC wrapped up their first annual Community Service Award.