Grand marshals for this year's Trout Days parade are Preston's own Jon and Lynn Haugan.  BRETTA GRABAU/REPUBLICAN-LEADER
Grand marshals for this year's Trout Days parade are Preston's own Jon and Lynn Haugan. BRETTA GRABAU/REPUBLICAN-LEADER
It is that time of year again. School will be let out soon and a belated spring will transform into summer.

In Preston, Trout Days is just a few days away, marking one of the first community celebrations of the season. With most community festivals comes a grand parade and the planning committee has to choose just the right couple to serve as the grand marshals, honoring them for their past contributions to the Preston area.

This year's grand marshals for Trout Days are Jon and Lynn Haugan.

Jon and Lynn have lived in Preston since 1987, deeming it the place they wanted to raise their three children.

Jon grew up in Park Rapids, Minn., and in the middle of high school moved to Wadena, Minn. This is where he met Lynn.

She had lived in Wadena since she was a child. One day a new face emerged in her group of friends in high school - Jon. They were simply two people hanging out with the same friends.

Both Jon and Lynn graduated from high school in 1974, but afterward the two did everything together during the summer months.

"We have known each other around 40 years and have always been friends," Lynn said.

After high school, both Jon and Lynn went off to college. Lynn studied to be a human services technician in Brainerd.

After the first year of college, Jon dropped out, joining the National Guard.

Three and a half years after first meeting each other, the two entered a new phase of their relationship when Jon and Lynn were married in August 1976.

That same year, Jon resumed college at North Dakota State University in Fargo, eventually graduating with a pharmacy degree in 1982. After they got married and Jon went to school, Lynn worked at St. Luke's Hospital as a hospital messenger.

"Back in those days there was no email, so I was like a courier driving a cart around the hospital delivering incoming and outgoing messages," Lynn explained.

During those years, the couple introduced two daughters into the world. Two years after Jon's graduation, a son was born to them as well.

In the years after graduation, the Haugans lived in Grafton, N.D., Twin Valley, Minn., and Pine River, Minn. In 1986, they were looking for a pharmacy to buy. One week before Thanksgiving, they received a call from Al Christianson at Farmers and Merchant's Bank in Preston.

"He called out of the blue saying 'I hear you are looking for a pharmacy to buy.' I came down and looked at it, then talked with Lynn and brought her down to see it. It felt like it was the right thing to do," Jon related.

The day they first arrived in Preston, fog blanketed the city.

"We drove past the Branding Iron and could not really see the city," Jon described.

Despite the fog, Preston left a lasting impression on the Haugans. They bought the pharmacy and moved their family to Preston.

"I looked at worse case scenarios with one of my professors and realized if we broke even, or the pharmacy did not work out, we would stay here since I could find a job and drive even to Rochester," Jon said.

"We fell in love with the area," Lynn explained in more concise terms. "We were very pleasantly surprised with how beautiful this area is and how we were readily accepted into the community."

In addition, this was their ideal place to raise their children, away from the big city.

Once they purchased the pharmacy, life did change for both concerned. Previously Lynn had enjoyed being a stay-at-home mom with her children. However, she began to help out at the pharmacy as a jack-of-all-trades, working on shelving, in the pharmacy, on inventory and such.

As they grew up, the kids also helped out at the store.

"Our kids learned to work with the register and dust shelves and more," Lynn described.

In 2003, Jon and Lynn sold the pharmacy to Weber and Judd, but they continued working there. Jon remains as the head pharmacist.

He "fired" Lynn in 2006 so she could stay home to baby-sit for their grandchildren, since their children have also remained close by.

Other activities

Their lives have not revolved only around the pharmacy. Jon has been tremendously involved in the community in various positions. He served on the Christ Lutheran Church Council for eight years, was elected to be on the city council for two terms, participated in the Spring Valley Nursing Home Board for 10 years and was involved in the Boy Scouts, Sunday school, the Lions, and the Preston Area Foundation among others.

As he was heavily involved in these organizations, many of them simultaneously, there was a space of time he was home only two nights a week. This, of course, can be a wearisome route to take, so he has retired from several of these volunteer positions to allow more time at home with his wife.

Lynn also availed her services to the community, though not as much as Jon. Ever since they moved to Preston, she has performed in the Christ Lutheran Church choir. She has also been a member of the church council and the Altar Guild as well as being involved in the Girl Scouts.

Jon and Lynn also exhibit creativity in their hobbies and interests. Jon likes gardening, reading and doing woodworking. He has done a variety of projects including building ottomans, redoing the entryway to their lovely home and now builds birdhouses in the shape of the Milwaukee Elevator for the Historical Society to sell.

Lynn, on the other hand, enjoys sewing Renaissance and Halloween costumes for her grandchildren and more.

"I will also work on sewing repairs for the kids when they need it," she added.

Being chosen as the grand marshals this year was a surprise for this couple.

"I think they chose us because I missed the meeting," Jon joked. "They have a list of previous grand marshals and who they should be in the future. They kept it a secret."

As grand marshals, Jon and Lynn will preside over this year's Trout Days parade at 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 17.