Mayoral medal of honor awarded to 14 community members

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(ABC 6 News) – Wednesday afternoon, the 39th Mayoral Medal of Honor Ceremony was held at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester, with 14 honorees being awarded for their selflessness and dedication to the community.

Rochester Mayor Kim Norton had last year’s award winner choose this year’s winners for the 14 different categories.

One of the awards was the Excellence in City Service award, which was given to Officer James Marsolek with the Rochester Police Department. Officer Marsolek was recognized for his contribution to the community’s “Safe City Nights” and is set to retire in Jan.

One of the non-profits that was mentioned numerous times was the Landing MN.

“Dan’s reputation as a walking heart has earned him a special place in the hearts of many and he has earned this award for his dedication to the homeless population because everyone needs a soft place to land.”

Dan Fifield, the co-founder and president of the Landing was awarded the community-wide service award. His nominee speech included that Fifield works daily to making the community a better place.

While Fifield says he is grateful, he says the award is not necessary.

“In my opinion, I don’t deserve it. It’s a team effort, if I didn’t have my team, I wouldn’t be standing here right now,” Fifield explained. “If I didn’t have God, I wouldn’t be standing here right now.”

Fifield also was not the only one from the Landing that was recognized.

The Human Services Award was given to Dr. Rozalina McCoy, who created the Landing’s medical clinic. Because of the clinic, many people in the community have access to health care who may not otherwise have it.

“Whether it’s a simple question, or a need for a blood sugar check, or they were discharged from the hospital after a complicated surgery and they can’t get services because they don’t have a home,” explained Dr. McCoy. “Well they do have a home, their home can be at the Landing and we can give them those services.”

The non-profit moved into its new home a few weeks ago and staff members say it has been going better than ever.

“The community that we work with loves it, it gives them a soft place to land,” added Fifield. “It gives them a warm place to come in and try and regroup, figure out what their next steps are. It gives them a place to exist and try and get their lives back together.”

The Landing is known for helping people in the community, but the staff at the Landing say they get a lot out of it too.

“It’s been really the most rewarding thing I think I’ve ever done and they’ve been a phenomenal team to work with,” added Dr. McCoy.

“It’s just what we do and we’re privileged and blessed to be able to do it,” Fifield said.

The full list of award-winners is listed below:

  • Artistic / Cultural Award – Bharath Wootla
  • Champion of Diversity Award – Tiffany Alexandria
  • Community-Wide Service Award – Dan Fifield
  • Educational Excellence Award – Mary Herbers
  • Excellence in City Service Award – Officer James Marsolek
  • Excellence in Industry Award – Aaron Benike
  • Heroism Award – Rose Norman
  • Human Services Award – Rozalina McCoy
  • Legacy Award – Barbara Porter Jordan 
  • Mayor’s Award – Fatuma Ahmed
  • Personal Achievement Award – Sahra Omar
  • Senior / Elder Achievement Award – Kathy Scheid
  • Sustainability Award – Erik Noonan
  • Youth Serving Community Award – Anushka Kollengode