Pathfinder winners 1/8

Winners of the 2009 Pathfinder awards were announced Wednesday. The Pathfinder went to KMSU-FM radio at Minnesota State University. The Business Pathfinder Award went to Coughlin Publishing. The Young Pathfinder Award went to Megan Maloney, a student at Mankato East High School. Shown here are (from left) Jim Gullickson of KMSU, Beth-Anne O’Haloran of Coughlin, and student Megan Maloney. In the background are Dawn Carter of the First Presbyterian Church, Judy Arzdorf, Jonathan Zierdt and Bukata Hayes.

KMSU-FM radio, Coughlan Publishing and a Mankato East High School student are the recipients of the 2009 annual Pathfinder Awards.

The awards, announced at a news conference Wednesday morning, honor individuals and organizations that “in the spirit of (Martin Luther King Jr.) are initators or action takers in the struggle for equal treatment, human rights and nonviolence.”

KMSU won for its commitment to programming that spreads the message of diversity. The station has had Latino programming for many years and more recently has produced programs such as Human Race Radio.

Mankato East student Megan Maloney received the award for the many hours of volunteer work she does for organizations such as the Special Olympics. She is also involved in school activities, including Students Against Destructive Decisions, Student Council and Link Crew.

Coughlan Publishing was honored for allowing employees to take 16 hours of paid time off for volunteering at a cause of the individual’s choosing. Coughlan also has donated hundreds of thousands of books over the years to the United Way and most recently produced a book about the work of Kids Against Hunger — 100 percent of the proceeds of which go directly to Kids Against Hunger.

The recipients will receive their awards Jan. 19 at the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Community Celebration, held this year at the AmericInn Hotel and Conference Center.

“It’s a great honor to be so acknowledged for our service to the community,” KMSU Station Manager Jim Gullickson said.

KMSU has been nominated for a Pathfinder several times before, but this is the station’s first win.

The station has had Latino programming for nearly 30 years, and provides six hours of it each Saturday. Its Human Race Radio program has been on the air monthly for about five years.

And they’re not done thinking up new ways to incorporate diversity. Coming possibly as soon as this spring will be a new KMSU initiative that brings a live remote broadcast station to the Centennial Student Union. Gullickson’s hope is to have an hour each day where students and student groups have access to the power of KMSU.

Megan Maloney said she was raised to volunteer and to help others whenever possible. She’s volunteered for as long as she can remember at the Special Olympics. She sits on the Student Council and is a member of Students Against Destructive Decisions and the Link Crew, a program that matches 12th-graders with freshmen.

She also reads to students in special education. “It’s nice to be walking down the hallway and hear someone say, ‘Hey, there’s our reader!’” Maloney said.

Representing Coughlan Publishing at the news conference was Beth-Ann O’Halloran. Coughlan gives employees 16 hours of paid time off so they can pursue a volunteer activity. It also paid to train a pair of employees — one of them being O’Halloran — to become “prejudice reduction facilitators” and implement a classroom curriculum provided by the Greater Mankato Diversity Council.

Between the first week of school last fall and continuing on until spring, they meet with every student in the Mankato school district.

Coughlan also donates 50,000 books each year to the United Way’s campaign to give books to every child in Mankato.

The awards will be given at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 19 at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Celebration. A dinner precedes the ceremony and a theatrical performance follows. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at MSU’s Office or Institutional Diversity or at Greater Mankato Growth.

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