Press Room


Staff Writer

Down to earth, generous, loving and giving were common words people used Tuesday night to describe Dutch and Irma Cragun.

The Craguns, owners of Cragun’s Resort in East Gull Lake, were honored at the seventh annual Distinguished Service Awards Banquet as the 2005 Brainerd Citizens of the Year. The couple, along with 11 others, were honored at the banquet at The Lodge for their service in the community.

The banquet was sponsored by the Brainerd Jaycees, Brainerd Community Action and the Brainerd Dispatch.

Other honorees included Terry Crocker, Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer of the Year; Ron Meyer, Outstanding Young Citizen of the Year; Ida MacFarland, Outstanding Senior Citizen of the Year; Kathy Hegstrom, Outstanding Educator of the Year; Kevin Dens, Outstanding Health Care Provider of the Year; Dennis Logelin, Outstanding Firefighter of the Year; Mark Cross, Outstanding Emergency Care Provider of the Year; Alan Jabs, Outstanding Agribusiness Person of the Year; Tammy and Trevor Ebinger, Outstanding Child Care Providers of the Year; and Michael McColgan, Outstanding Youth Volunteer of the Year.

People at the banquet talked about the Craguns’ volunteer work and how deserving the couple was to receive the award.

Evelyn and Bill Matthies of Brainerd said Dutch and Irma have kind hearts, are civic-minded and creative. Bill Matthies said the Craguns always think of others and are generous people. T

erry McGaughey, Brainerd, said he has known the Craguns for a long time and he often was a guest on their sailboat. McGaughey said the Craguns always wanted him to go with them so bad on their sailing adventures, so he asked them why they wanted him to go.

“Dutch said, ‘Irma why don’t you tell him,'” said McGaughey of the conversation. “Then Irma said to me that they get along better when I was there.”

McGaughey said the couple works hard and he admires them for their service.

Ruth Gmeinder, who owns Gull Lake Resort, near the Cragun’s resort, said Dutch and Irma taught her many valuable skills when she opened her resort.

“They are wonderful neighbors and very deserving of this award,” Gmeinder said.

Marilyn Wannebo, Manhattan Beach, said Dutch and Irma are loving people, generous and down to earth. Wannebo said her husband, Larry, served on the Lakeland Public Television board with Dutch.

Jiggs and Kathy Blanck of Brainerd have known the Craguns for years. Jiggs Blanck said he was Dutch’s campaign manager when he ran for the Legislature years ago. He said Dutch did good in the primary, but lost by a few votes in the election.

Blanck said the Craguns have always been thoughtful, considerate and were never mean-spirited people.

Kathy Blanck said, “They did a lot for this community … They earned this award.”

JENNIFER STOCKINGER can be reached at or 855-5851.

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