Largo Leslie Callenbach has been named Mission’s “Citizen of the Year.” Outgoing Mayor Laura McConwell made the presentation Wednesday night, surprising Callenbach during the city council meeting.
Callenbach has been in her Mission home since 1979. Now retired, she worked as a pediatric oncology social worker, a hospice social worker and a patient advocate. Her volunteer activities range across the metro. In Mission, she has worked on the sustainability task force, the pool task force and has volunteered at a wide range of community events.
Callenbach was raised by her grandparents in North Dakota and credits them with instilling in her a commitment to community service. “They believed strongly in responsibility to the community and making a difference,” she said. “(My grandparents) really put that spirit in me.”
She also gave credit to McConwell for giving her the opportunity and responsibilities for service to the city. Mission can’t grow out, she said, but it can grow into a true intergenerational community.
She was a long-time volunteer in the schools, winning national recognition for a “Buckle Up” safety program. Heartland Chamber Music and Operation Breakthrough are just a couple of her metro-wide volunteer activities.
Her husband, Dr. John Callenbach, who recently retired from practice, has been recognized in Mission for his artwork. They have two sons, one of whom is living in Mission.