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Cokato resident Barb Boger is ‘Making a Difference’
Sept. 13, 2010
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By Jennifer Kotila
Staff Writer

COKATO, MN – Cokato resident Barb Boger takes a great deal of pride in her job and was recently awarded for her efforts.

Boger received the “Making a Difference” award from WCCO-TV and American Equity Mortgage. Along with the award, she also received $500.

Boger’s co-worker Gerri McWherter nominated her for the award on Aug. 23. WCCO-TV contacted McWherter the following Thursday to let her know Boger had been chosen and they wanted to present her with the award Aug. 31.

Boger and McWherter work for AME Community Services in Cokato. They work at one of the many homes that provide services for people with developmental disabilities.

Craig, Jim, Will, and Jeff are the men that reside at the home in which Boger works.

WCCO-TV’s Amelia Santaniello and a camara crew came to Cokato to present Boger with the award at her workplace.

Because WCCO-TV wanted to present the award over the lunch hour, Marty McGraw, owner of AME Community Services, and McWherter had to figure out a way to get Boger to the house.

McGraw called Boger and told her he needed some important papers from the house. So Boger came to the house to get McGraw what he needed.

Boger was surprised to see that both McGraw and McWherter were at the house when she arrived. Then she saw a stack of pizzas.

When she asked what it was all about, McGraw and McWherter told her because she does so much for the guys, they were going to bring them there from work over their lunch hour to show their appreciation.

“We invited her over for a fake appreciation lunch that turned out to be real,” McWherter said.

About an hour after Boger’s arrival at the house, someone rang the doorbell. Boger does not remember who answered it, she was in the kitchen having a great time, laughing and talking.

The next thing she knew, Boger had a camara in her face and Amelia Santaniello was walking into the kitchen.

Boger did not understand what was happening, then they told her she was the recipient of the “Making a Difference” award, and she started crying.

Boger has worked at the group home for about 10 years. She used to own the hardware store in Cokato and the guys used to come into the store. She always thought that if she needed a part-time job, it would be fun to work with them.

“It could be your worst day, but they smile at you and make you feel so special that you just can’t not love the guys,” said Boger.

Boger received the award because of all she does for “her guys.” Ever since Boger started working at the group home, she has took the guys to many of her own boys’ (Steve and Todd) games and plays.

“These guys have become like brothers to my boys,” said Boger. Her sons started working at the group home when they were in high school, and still do when they are home from college.

When her son Steve started going to Crown College in St. Bonifacious, Boger took the guys to many of his games.

At first, other players were uncomfortable around them, but the “players were giving these guys so much time,” said Boger.

They liked the guys so much that some of the players got jobs in group homes when they went home for the summer.

As Boger said, “[these guys] teach you simplicity of life. Materialistic things mean nothing. Its not what you have, but who you have.” Her guys have taught that to a lot of people, she said.http://wcco.com/video/?id=83193@wcco.dayport.com.

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