RED WING -- Maureen Nelson, the executive director of the United Way of Goodhue, Wabasha and Pierce Counties is the recipient of the 2020 Amos Owen Award.

Since 2001 the Red Wing Human Rights Commission has honored individuals "for their work in promoting justice and equality for others based around human rights (not solely humanitarian work). The award is named after Amos Owen, a Mdewakanton elder and spiritual leader from the Prairie Island Indian Community who worked tirelessly to preserve Dakota language and culture.”

The selection committee comprises Human Rights Commission members Nicky Buck, RedHeart RedHeart and Beth Breeden. Buck said of Nelson, “her dedication and compassion to work hard to make a better tomorrow for all walks of life. The behind the scenes worker that goes unnoticed until the difference has been made.”

Breeden, said, “Maureen always had a great smile, one that would make you feel welcome so I see why she is at United Way. She goes beyond just the walls of the organization.”

Nelson and her staff at the United Way work to improve the lives of local residents. Laura Sand Prink, the community impact manager of the nonprofit, has worked with Nelson for more than seven years.

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“Maureen is a strong advocate for social justice and equality in both her personal and professional life. As the executive director of the United Way of Goodhue, Wabasha and Pierce Counties, she weaves social justice and equality into the program development, policy advocacy, community engagement and her weekly e-newsletter blogs. She’s also been involved in numerous volunteer activities over the years. Maureen is well deserving of this honorable award!” Prink said.

On Thurdsay, Nelson stated that she was still shocked that she had won the award. Nelson stressed that she does not work alone. “There’s my wonderful staff behind me making things happen, I have a board of directors who are so supportive, and then thousands of volunteers and donors who back-up the work that we do here at United Way.."

She later added: “I truly believe that being part of a team you can get anything done. But I could never do it alone. It’s with all those people behind me that got this award. So I can’t claim it for my own.”

Red Wing Mayor Sean Dowse will present Nelson with the Amos Owen Award during the City Council meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 12. The meeting will be virtual and can be viewed on Red Wing’s Channel 6.