June Johnson

Carver Elementary School Principal June Johnson greets students at the beginning of the school year.

Principal June Johnson has plenty of accolades to laud on the Carver Elementary School staff for its efforts in assisting displaced residents of a recent apartment fire.

The city of Carver is showing its appreciation by honoring the school’s staff and teachers with the 2020 Greg Osterdyk Community Service Award.

“We were humbled when we received the email from the city, that they would look at our school and staff for this award,” Johnson said. “The staff was absolutely incredible. It is an example of what they would do for this community. The award is all about them.”

The city created the service award several years ago to recognize the time, support, service and dedication that individuals and organizations give unselfishly to the community. The award was renamed last year after the late mayor Greg Osterdyk, who was quite active in the community.

“Their actions to assist displaced residents during a recent fire call, as well as their collective efforts to meet new learning challenges during the ongoing pandemic provide a few examples of the compassion and empathy modeled by the teachers and staff at Carver Elementary on a daily basis,” said City Manager Brent Mareck.

The Carver City Council will formally recognize the school’s award at its Dec. 21 meeting.

According to Carver Fire Chief Cally Trimbo, a fire at the Carver Crossing apartment complex was reported shortly before 2 p.m. Oct. 29. Carver and several other area fire departments responded to the scene.

The fire reportedly started from boxes on a stove in a third-floor apartment, where tenants were moving in that day. That unit sustained fire and water damage, while several other units received water damage.

Residents were evacuated for between 2 and 4 hours, with 13 families needing to find other housing for the night, Trimbo said. One person was transported for smoke inhalation injuries.

Johnson said she was doing school patrol when she noticed the fire trucks and went to the nearby fire scene.

“I was approached if we could shelter the residents and I said, ‘Absolutely, we are here to serve,’” she recalled.

Johnson notified school staff, who prepared areas for the displaced. Staff also provided snacks, water and sanitation supplies, including face masks.

“We wanted to make sure they were comfortable and well taken care of,” Johnson said.

“It was an amazing act of good gesture on their behalf,” Trimbo said.

Community Editor

Mark Olson, the Chaska and Chanhassen community editor who has worked in Carver County for 20 years, makes any excuse to write about local history. In his spare time, Mark enjoys perusing old books, watching blockbusters and taking Midwest road trips.