The Ottumwa Courier

March 26, 2014

Wasko honored as Keosauqua Citizen of the Year

Courier correspondent

---- — KEOSAUQUA — A woman who “keeps the community moving” was honored by the Keosauqua Chamber as Citizen of the Year.

Susan Wasko, president of the chamber, was honored March 21 at the Riverview Country Club during the chamber’s annual banquet and awards ceremony.

Wasko and husband Joe own and operate Wasko Hardware Store in downtown Keosauqua. She is part of many activities in the community and is “always a happy person,” said Julie Chapuis.

“She’s a vital asset to the community. There are several activities that might not happen without Susan’s help,” said Ryan Pedrick.

Erin Pedrick nominated Susan for the award and noted Susan is a very welcoming person and Pedrick appreciated Wasko Hardware.

“Ryan and I are newer residents to Keosauqua, and she and the whole staff at Wasko Hardware were so welcoming, friendly, helpful and courteous to our family as we got settled in and met people. She portrays an excellent example of the friendliness and hospitableness that we want our community to be known for. Whenever I say I have to run an errand in town, my kids, ages 5 and 2, say ‘to Waskos’ because even they have been touched by the Wasko’s warmth. We are very happy for you and so glad that we have gotten to know you and Joe.”

The lives of Julie and Doug Chapuis and Susan and Joe Wasko have “paralleled each other,” said Julie Chapuis. The Chapuis and Wasko kids are about the same age, she noted. “We would see them at T-ball, fine arts and birthday parties,” said Julie Chapuis.

“The thing I notice about Susan is that she is always happy. Her glass is half full. Through the years and the challenges that she has faced, she’s always kept her optimism and laughter. One time, a piece of Susan’s china broke when the shelf gave way. She took the broken pieces and made a mosaic.”

Julie Thomas was unable to be present at the chamber dinner, but she wrote a letter read by Megan Noll. “Susan is a great neighbor and mother. My family and I are very happy for you, Susan. You deserve it.” Thomas said that Wasko was like a mother to her sister in their time of need. Wasko is originally from Sigourney and she and Joe met on a blind date in 1988.

“By February 1989, I moved to Keosauqua. This is a great place to raise a family, a place when someone needs help, everyone gives help. It’s also a great place to have a business.”

She is past president of the Keosauqua Rotary, is on the Libertyville Savings Bank Advisory Board and is a member of the National Retail Hardware Association. She served on the post-prom committee in 2008 as treasurer and has been active in the SAFE Coalition, Van Buren Music Boosters, Children First Board and Keosauqua Library Board.