Dear Friends,

Yesterday Doug won the “Lifetime Achievement Award” from MnSEIA (Minnesota Solar Energy Industry Association) at their annual conference. MnSEIA is the industry group Doug founded to bring all stakeholders around the table to work out their agreements and differences so as to get renewable energy legislation changed. Doug told me I probably should not come because he thought the award was supposed to be a surprise to him and it wouldn’t look right if I knew about it ahead of time. I made up my mind I would sneak in and surprise him. His son, Aaron, was able to come too, which was fantastic. The conference organizer helped us sneak into the back of the room to watch him accept the award and give his remarks. The entire room clapped, cheered and stood up for him as his name was announced as the recipient. In his speech he thanked “his wife, who could not be here today, for all her support and help.” I waved my arms wildly and he looked over and said with surprize, “Oh, she is here and so is my son, Aaron!” People stood up and cheered for us, too! Many people had tears in their eyes as they spoke to us afterwards about their respect and love for Doug. One man said to me as we were heading into the ballroom before the awards, “I LOVE your husband!” I said, “Me too.”

Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 4.33.37 PMWill Steger, the famous artic explorer who has spent the last 5-6 years giving talks throughout the Midwest about his eyewitness account of the effects of climate change (for instance, he can no longer use dogs sleds in the artic but instead must use canoes because of the melting ice) and who hates being the center of attention giving these talks but feels compelled to do so, and who I always tell everyone “is the most humble man you could meet” kept saying as we stood around afterwards talking and taking pictures, “Doug is so humble, so humble!” Far out!! It was fun to be there and to surprise Doug and it was so great Aaron could see how respected his dad is among so many people – from the most humble farmer phoning him for ideas on ways to afford solar, to senators, other nonprofit folks working to further solar in MN and the nation, many solar companies, Xcel and other power companies, many supporting industry folks and, best of all, his peers in the trenches.

His Facebook page is brimming with congrats. What a day!

Thanks for letting me share this.
Pat Schoenecker

Feel free to forward this to anyone in the family I may have missed.