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Morris man honored for 'down-to-earth goodness'

Sal Monteagudo (seated left) is the 4th-annual Morris Human Rights Award winner. Seated with Monteagudo is Elaine Simonds-Jaradat, who nominated him for the award. In back, from left, are Morris Human Rights Commission members Tom McRoberts, Christine Gibson and Bert Ahern. Not pictured are commission members Ida Stewart, Ann Streed and Becki Jordan.

Sal Monteagudo was introduced as the 4th-annual winner of the Morris Human Rights Award. The award is sponsored by the Morris Human Rights Commission and is presented to residents who further human rights in Morris.

Monteagudo works for the Stevens County DAC and Prairie Community Services. He is a job coach for people with developmental disabilities. He volunteers for the Morris Literacy Project, English as a Second Language and GED classes and Special Touch Ministries.

Monteagudo also is involved in other volunteer work that furthers human rights causes in Morris.

In her nomination of Monteagudo, Elaine Simonds-Jaradat said "Sal has a natural urge to help people and a magical knack for finding people who need help."

Monteagudo treats his work clients with dignity and respect, but he goes beyond that to devote most of his personal time to service in the community, Simonds-Jaradat said.

Monteagudo has been "way ahead of the curve" on reaching out to the area's growing immigrant population, "connecting them with services they needed and often just being their friend," she said.

To address cultural diversity Monteagudo served as co-chair of the COPC program's Community Dialogue Series, and he's now partnering with Prairie Medical Associates physician's assistant Alfredo Altamirano to ensure the area's migrant community and indigent people receive proper health care.

"Sal donates his time and energy to individuals and the community because he truly cares more about changing lives than being paid," Simonds-Jaradat said. "He is unassuming in his demeanor and sees everyone as worthy of his attention. He never ceases to be awed by the fact that people from all over the world have made our rural community their home, whether as students, UMM faculty, farm workers, laborers or professionals. ... He is an asset to Morris and Stevens County who deserves recognition for his exemplary and down-to-earth goodness."

Previous Human Rights Award winners are Patty Kill, Nancy Huot and Bill Eckerson.