Retired Grand Forks attorney and business owner John Marshall had a moment in the spotlight Wednesday, winning the first Grand Forks Lifetime Recognition Award at the State of the City Address.
Mayor Mike Brown told hundreds of audience members the award—a life-sized eagle statue—recognizes decades of service Marshall dedicated to improving Grand Forks, including years spent working to keep Grand Forks Air Force Base in the community.
"Anytime you receive an award like that, it humbles you, and you realize the people that went before you," Marshall told the Herald after receiving the award. "I'm lucky. I've got a lot of awards, and there's some that mean a whole lot more. This is one that means a whole lot more."
Marshall spent years as an attorney and as an owner of a chain of Burger King stores in the Grand Forks region. He also has been involved with the Air Force base since the 1960s, when he served as part of a reception committee for local airmen. He spent decades with the city's council on military relations and appeared at hearings to keep the base in the Grand Forks area during four separate years in the 1990s and 2000s.
From 2011 to 2015, Marshall also served with the national U.S. Air Force Civic Leader program, which is comprised of about three dozen community leaders who are appointed to advise on Air Force issues.
"I don't know what it is. I just can't stop saying thank you to those people who are serving, or those who have served," he told the Herald in 2015, when he received the Air Force awarded him the Distinguished Public Service Award. "We don't say thank you enough, especially to those who give us our freedom. They are our freedom."
Brown praised Marshall's efforts, explaining how important his work has been for the community.
"Thank you, sir," he said. "And may you always soar with the eagles."