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Posted on: March 7, 2019

Burt Mann Named North Bend's 2018 Citizen of the Year

Mayor and Burt

It was standing room only as friends and family turned out in support of the 2018 Citizen of the Year. Mayor Ken Hearing and City Councilmembers honored Burt Mann as the recipient of this prestigious honor at the March 5th, 2019 City Council Meeting at Mt. Si Senior Center. 

The Citizen of the Year is awarded to an individual or business that has gone above and beyond to make North Bend a better place to live, through professional or volunteer efforts, or by an extraordinary contribution to the community.  

Burt’s life was full of hardships and turmoil from a young age. His parents died when he was a child and for five years, he was forced to live on the streets and eat out of garbage cans. He eventually was taken in by a butcher who gave him a job and a place to sleep. 

When he was 18, he and some friends were spending time together and heard the news that Pearl Harbor was attacked. They enlisted into the military three days later. After training for three months in Louisiana, he got the call to go overseas and fight in the war.  

He was wounded in action on the beaches of Normandy and sent to England for several operations. After his recovery, he was sent to the Philippines where he and his fellow soldiers were preparing to invade Japan. 

The U.S. ended those preparations by dropping the A-Bombs. He then went to Yokohama, Japan for a few months to do police work. When his time in Japan was up, he was able to come home to the U.S. 

Back in Chicago, he got married, started a family and served as a police officer for 12 years. 

He eventually bought a restaurant and tavern and was able to put his two sons through college. He moved to North Bend when he was 69. He celebrated his 96th birthday on February 7th

There wasn’t a dry eye in the room when Burt shared his life story during the Council meeting.

In his speech, he said, “For 84 years, I had a grudge and was resentful. I became against the world and had hatred in my heart. But now, I have love in my heart. I’m very grateful for the people that came here tonight that I know as friends. Words alone can’t express it. I’m blessed in my later years of life. It pays to get old!”  

Burt loves to volunteer and has served at Mount Si Senior Center as their gardener and has helped the center in other ways as well. Almost every day since he moved here, he can be seen walking the streets of North Bend, talking to the people he meets. Despite his struggles, he always has a smile and an uplifting story to share. 

“Burt is truly an inspiration to us all,” Mayor Hearing said. “I know people half his age that can’t do what he does.”

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