Hammond native Susan Frank’s favorite night of the Heartland Days festival is Community Appreciation Dinner.

“So many people from town are there and some of them are people I grew up with. It is nice to see those people in a large group since you don’t always see them,” Frank said. “It is just a fun time. I’m hoping we can still have our kazoo band in the parade."

This year, not only will Frank be attending the dinner with her family and friends, but she also will be introduced as the 2019 Heartland Days grand marshal.

“My daughter asked if I would be willing to accept it. My first response was, ‘No, no way.’ It was a total shock to me,” Frank said. “I didn’t think it would ever be an honor I’d receive. And it is an honor. I don’t remember ever receiving an honor like that before. I do what I do and I don’t expect any recognition for it.”

This year’s festival will be Friday, Aug. 9-11, with the Community Appreciation Dinner at 5 p.m. Aug. 9.

According to Celebration Committee member Kailey Nourse, Frank was selected “because of her continual efforts and impact on the community” including about four decades in education.

“She taught at St Croix Central, recently retired, but still helps out without hesitation. Especially with our royalty program,” Nourse said.

Frank has lived almost her whole life in the Hammond area, only moving away for three and a half years starting her junior year of high school. Frank returned when she attended the University of Wisconsin-River Falls before getting a job teaching at the high school in Hammond. Another reason she stayed in the area was that she married her middle school sweetheart, a farmer.

“When you think of it as the heart of St. Croix County, it is in my heart. I just love this community. People can’t believe that we would want to stay in a small community like this, but it has been home and feels like family to me,” Frank said. “I think it is a great little town and we love to support the things that happen.”

Frank has four children, who all graduated from St. Croix Central, along with eight grandchildren.

“Our boys have played in the sports tournaments over the weekend and our daughter was on the Miss Hammond court in 1976, I think. Now she is a member of the Royalty Committee,” Frank said.

Since retiring, Frank has been helping out with activities at her church, Trinity Lutheran, specifically with the suicide prevention and awareness fundraiser.

Frank said she is forward to the whole weekend of Heartland Days, but specifically the Fun Fest that Trinity Lutheran is putting following the parade until 4 p.m.