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Local

History-lover named Polo’s Citizen of the Year

Raley lauded for her work preserving, and celebrating, the past

POLO – Nearly everyone at the 51st annual Polo Chamber of Commerce dinner Monday evening appeared to anticipate who would be named Polo’s 2017 Citizen of the Year – except for the recipient herself.

“I’m so stunned. I thought they only gave this to business people,” Joan Raley said after the presentation. “I can’t say enough, I couldn’t have done so much without all the friends I’ve made and help I’ve received.”

City Attorney Tom Suits, who presented the award, cited Raley’s decades of service in education as a fifth-grade teacher, and as a member of the Polo Public Library Board and the Polo Historical Society.

He also pointed to Raley’s participation in “Peddler’s Pass,” in which she rode in a wagon giving tours of Polo and its historically significant spots; the history lessons and tours on behalf of the society that she gave to Polo students; and her time with Chapter DW of the Philanthropic Educational Organization, for which she was a board member.

“Joan, you have done so much to preserve the history of Polo, and for that, we are all indebted to you,” he said.

Also Monday, Bob Heath, who coaches Little League, leads Boy Scouts, and plants vegetables to share with the Polo Lifeline Food Pantry, was named Volunteer of the Year.

Heath also planted and maintains flowers at West Side Park, helps with the Polo bath house renovations, and always can be seen helping out at Church of the Brethren, Second Hand Rose, and the Historical Society.

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