Jim Boyle, editor of the Star News, has been awarded ECM Publishers’ Elmer L. Andersen Community Service Award.
The purpose of the award is to recognize significant contributions of an associate to their communities and pay tribute to exceptional volunteer spirit.
Boyle was recognized Nov. 14 for his efforts to make the community a better place for children and families, including his efforts to bring back an Independence Day celebration to Elk River.
After the Elk River Area Chamber of Commerce decided not to sponsor an Independence Day celebration in 2009, Boyle had a vision of having a more community-focused celebration where young families would be welcome. He organized a committee and served as chairperson for the group that raised $20,000 for a Fourth of July event that was capped by a fireworks celebration in 2010.
In 2011, the Elk River Independence Day Committee again raised $20,000-plus under Boyle’s leadership.
“I can think of no better time for families and groups in the community to come together and celebrate than on Independence Day,” Boyle said.
After hearing many years ago that Sherburne County was one of the 20 fastest growing counties of children in the nation, Boyle became more focused on children and youth.
He participated in a project called Operation ER that studied the assets of the community and recommended a community center that eventually became the push for a YMCA. He currently serves as a charter member of the YMCA Community Board.
As a member of his local Rotary Club, Boyle serves on the club’s board of directors and is on the public relations committee.
The organization is putting a greater emphasis on youth, as its new mission statement calls for “Inspiring leaders with passion to serve humanity; strengthening youth for tomorrow’s leadership and enhancing lives in our world.”
To that end Boyle is also a charter member of the club’s new STRIVE program, working with local high school seniors who are precariously close to not graduating if they don’t finish strong.
Boyle has also been a member of the Elk River Early Childhood Coalition where he endeavors to get more young fathers involved in their children’s lives. The coalition forges partnership to improve early childhood readiness and this year is sponsoring an exhibit by the Minnesota Children’s Museum.
He also served on the Habitat for Humanity Board of Directors, whose signature project was a ‘Blitz’ build in which the group built a house in one week for a family.
When support was needed to pass legislation to build the Northstar commuter rail line, Boyle co-chaired All Aboard Elk River with Deb Urista of Coldwell Banker Vision. The group organized a community forum and also a rally at the State Capitol. Legislation was passed and this commuter rail is operating today.
One of his latest ventures was helping his friend Jay Grammond get the Sandhill Photography Club off the ground. In this club, local photographers gather to shoot and talk about photography as a craft. The group recently celebrated its two-year anniversary.
At ECM, Boyle also chaired a Futures Group for ECM Publishers that recommended strategies to the ECM president and publisher.