Congressman Jim Ramstad was honored by the Wayzata Chamber of Commerce as the 2008 Person of the Year. The event was held at the plush accommodations that is the Wayzata Country Club in front of a full house. Master of Ceremonies was Ramstad's best friend Greg Rye, who Ramstad affectionately called "Rooster," and "the little brother he never had."
A number of prominent people from the area spoke about Ramstad's many accomplishments for the City of Wayzata, the people of Minnesota, and the Nation. Rye read aloud a letter from President George W. Bush that arrived that morning. Here is an excerpt, "Congratulations on being honored by the Wayzata Area Chamber of Commerce as the 2008 Person of the Year. I know your family, friends, and colleagues are very proud of your accomplishments. I appreciate your hard work and dedication in serving your fellow citizens. Our nation is deeply indebted to the men and women who devote their lives to public service. Laura and I send our best wishes for continued success. May God bless you, and may God bless America."
Rye went on to read a letter from Minnesota Governer Tim Pawlenty, who indicated that, "it is my honor to congratulate Congressman Jim Ramstad on being named 2008 Person of the Year. In Minnesota, only Sid Hartman can claim he has more personal friends than Jim Ramstad. However, just like everyone in the room today, I am honored to call Jim my friend. Jim has touched countless lives during his career in public service, but it is his unselfishness and compassion for helping people which makes him truly deserving of this honor..."
Kathryn Ramstad, Jim's wife, talked about Jim's commitment to family and how his family helped him succeed in politics, "...it's always been a family affair, not out of duty, but definitely out of love for one another. Jim really guards his time with his family. He could be speaking every weekend at an event, but really most weekends you will find him after the game on Saturday having lunch with Marv... Sunday you will always find us having lunch with our family in Wayzata somewhere, and Sunday afternoons you will find Jim & Marv either watching football, basketball, baseball, whatever it might be all afternoon. Jim really does live his values and faith, family and friends. He puts them first in his life."
Ramstad spoke about his affection for Wayzata after the presentations by Rye and the others. "...I am truly overwhelmed as I stand here before you today..." He continued, "I am the luckiest person in the world to have all of you in my life, thank you very much for this tremendous award today. It is truly gratifying."
Ramstad told a story of how he arrived at the University of Minnesota in 1965 and asked a friend where he should go to find a nice place. "I remember asking a friend, it was Sunday, and I had a car, 'Where should I go?' I didn't really know many people yet, 'Where's a nice place to go?'" Ramstad indicated his friend answered, "Go out, take Highway 12 West, you'll see the sign for Wayzata, go down Lake Street, there's a cafe there called Heart's Cafe--the predecessor to Sunset's..." Ramstad continued, "And so I did, drove out here. And I'll never forget, coming from North Dakota, where our biggest lake is a... ...dam, I'll never forget the first time the beauty of the green leaves changing, Wayzata Bay, the Lake, the great community of shops and people out with their families. I said to myself, 'Someday, I'm going to live here.'"
He wrapped up his speech by saying, "...I am so proud to be a part of this great community. ...Thank you very, very much for this is very, very meaningful award. I will never forget this day."
Wayzata.com is your 2008 Person of the Year leader. Stay tuned.