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Pioneer Editorial: We should all ‘Be like Mike’

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Pioneer Editorial: We should all ‘Be like Mike’
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

For a small town to thrive, and even to survive, there needs to be strong leadership.

And those leaders can not just be idea people; they need to be willing to do the work to get things done. While they can be visionaries, they also have to be realistic and pragmatic about how to accomplish the tasks at hand.

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First and foremost, they have to be cheerleaders for their communities. Always there to promote and sell their towns to visitors, but also there to remind residents who may have forgot what their communities have to offer.

Last month, Clearbrook, Minn., lost its cheerleader extraordinaire in Mayor Mike Gibeau.

Gibeau died while shoveling snow on Feb. 17. He was 61.

This past Saturday, the community of Clearbrook thanked Gibeau for his love of the town.

Called Clearbrook’s No. 1 fan, it was evident by the turnout that Mike’s love for his hometown was reciprocated. As Crystal Dey reported, the crowd for Saturday’s event easily topped 550, the population of Clearbrook, a sign that Gibeau’s reach went beyond the city limits. We’re sure there were former residents who felt his pull and who came back to pay their respects.

Elected to the City Council in 1975, there’s not a lot of new or old in Clearbrook that Gibeau didn’t have a hand with. Mayor since 2003, he was especially proud of helping to see the creation of Kloster Park, where children once again will be playing baseball and softball come summer.

“Mike was the tie that bound Clearbrook together,” Gibeau’s niece Carla Harrold said during Saturday’s service. In her speech, she extolled the crowd to “Be like Mike.”

That’s advice we should all heed.

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