2018 Pillars of the City unveiled; Former mayors, councilmen honored

Published 4:36 pm Wednesday, July 4, 2018

The newest Pillars of the City were unveiled during a ceremony Tuesday evening at Bandshell Community Park.

Selected by the nine-member Pillars of the City Committee, this year’s honorees were Lyman D. Baird, Robert J. Enright and Norman Hecimovich.

Each was honored with a commemorative plaque made by Anderson Memorials. The plaques will be placed on the Main Street Flood Wall along with past Pillars of the City inductees.

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Relatives of the new members spoke to the gathered crowds after the unveiling.

“This is a great honor,” said John Enright, Robert Enright’s son, one of 18 relatives present at the unveiling ceremony. “My dad loved the City of Austin and the people in it.”

“I’m certain Lyman and his wife, Lila, would be proud to have Lyman’s name on the Flood Wall,” said Charlotte Titus, great-niece to Lyman Baird.

Although members of the Hecimovich family declined to speak, Mayor Tom Stiehm said a few words about Norman Hecimovich.

“Everybody knew Norm,” he said. “We ran against each other when I first became mayor. I’ve always said he probably would have made a better mayor than me for the first couple of years. I don’t know how he kept up with all he did; he did everything for everybody. I can’t think of a more deserving person.”

Lyman D. Baird (Oct. 17, 1857 – Aug. 28, 1921)

Lyman D. Baird (Oct. 17, 1857 – Aug. 28, 1921)

One of Austin’s most helpful and prominent citizens, Lyman D. Baird served as mayor, city attorney, secretary of the Mower County Old Settlers’ Association, an officer of the Mower County Fair Association and President of The Citizens’ National Bank in Austin. He was a Mason of high degree, a member of the Loyal Legion, and served eight years as a prominent member of the Minnesota State Fair Board. Mr. Baird often opened his purse freely for the betterment and beautification of the city.  He built many homes in Austin and led the efforts for paving the city streets. His leadership and philanthropy led to the creation of a beautiful lake from the swampy backwaters of Mill Pond that would later become Horace Austin State Park.

Robert J. Enright (March 18, 1919 – Feb. 15, 2018)

Robert J. Enright (March 18, 1919 – Feb. 15, 2018)

A native of Mower County, Robert Enright graduated from St. Augustine High School, served four years in the U.S. Air Force, was a founding member of Queen of Angels Catholic Church and worked at the Hormel Plant for 47 years as proud member of the local union. As a successful public servant for over two decades, Bob had the unique ability to listen and act with compassion as he served the City of Austin as a council member and as mayor for 10 years. Under his leadership, he oversaw the completion of Riverside Arena, the construction of three residential facilities for the elderly, the building of a new fire station and negotiated for a new sewage plant. He worked on the expansion of the Hormel Nature Center and Todd Park along with a downtown beautification project.

Norman E. Hecimovich (Dec. 12, 1934 – Feb. 18, 2018)

Norman E. Hecimovich (Dec. 12, 1934 – Feb. 18, 2018) 

Educator, patriot, community leader and advocate for all veterans, Norm Hecimovich worked as a principal in the Austin School District for 27 years. He served on the Austin City Council, the Chamber of Commerce Board, and was an active member of the Austin Port Authority and the Austin Planning Commission along with Spruce Up Austin and the city’s Sesquicentennial Committee. Norm served in the Army during the Korean War, Vietnam War and Desert Storm and holds over 25 separate meritorious awards and recognitions for valor from the United States Military. Under his leadership and dedication, the Mower County Veterans Memorial expanded to include the “Walk of Remembrance,” adding over one thousand pavers resulting in over $250,000 of enhancements to the Memorial.

The Pillars of the City Committee is accepting nominations for the 2019 Pillars of the City until Dec. 31. To nominate someone, visit http://www.ci.austin.mn.us/PillarsApplication.pdf.

For more information about the dedicated pillars, visit http://www.ci.austin.mn.us/boards-commissions/dedicated-pillars.