by Alex Tekip, staff reporter
ST. JOHNS- From bookshelves to watersheds, Ed Mikula has helped fix it all.
Mikula, a St. Johns resident, is a former president of the library board, current vice president of the conservation group Friends of the Maple River and active member of the local Lions club, among other involvements.
Following his retirement in December 2012, Mikula was honored for his 19 years of service as a library board member at a St. Johns city commission meeting on Feb. 11.
Briggs Public Library Director Sara Morrison said Mikula played a large role in moving the library from the city municipal building to its current location on Railroad Street.
Mikula considers this to be both his greatest challenge and accomplishment, mainly due to raising public support to achieve the necessary funds.
[A library] had been built in the early 40’s, as part of city hall,” he said. “[The city] outgrew it, and needed public support for a larger facility.
Mikula said he still sees the rewards of his work in helping to create a more modern library to serve St. Johns and surrounding communities, such as Bingham Township.
“The library has gotten more and more use every year,” he said.
In addition to his work with improving the library, Mikula has advocated for conservation of the Maple River Watershed as Vice President of Friends of the Maple River.
This area of service reflects Mikula’s area of expertise.
Mikula graduated from Michigan State University in 1951 with a degree in zoology as well as forestry and natural sciences and worked for the Department of Natural Resources.
In a statement posted on the organization’s website, www.friendsofthemapleriver.org, Mikula said he believes it is in “best interest to promote and support a healthy and sustainable environment” such as the Maple River Watershed.
“The Maple River and its watershed is a cohesive unit that reflects our behavior and actions relative to its survival,” said Mikula. “We all need to make a commitment to promote the wise use of the Maple River and its watershed.”
Morrison said that Mikula’s dedication to his community is one to be admired in this day and age.
“[It takes] a lot of devotion, [it is] a huge time commitment,” she said. “To have someone dedicated for that long is kind of uncommon now, and speaks a lot of [Mikula’s] character.”