2017 UFO Days Grand Marshals Donna Lien and John Bates. Photo by Paul J. Seeling
2017 UFO Days Grand Marshals Donna Lien and John Bates. Photo by Paul J. Seeling

ELMWOOD, WI – Good friends and community leaders Donna Lien and John Bates have been named as the 2017 UFO Days Grand Marshals. They were chosen for their years of community involvement and service. John and Donna will be introduced and recognized at the Miss Elmwood program on Friday, July 28, 2017, which begins at 7 p.m. in the historic Elmwood Auditorium.

As part of this honor John and Donna will be riding together as they lead the UFO Days Grande Parade at 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 30. The people of Elmwood know Donna Lien from her decades of working in banking as well as her community service and activities. She is also the wife of the late Arland "Chet" Lien who arrived in Elmwood in 1961. "Arland got a teaching job here," she said adding, "Later he became the principal." The couple had two children, Karen who teaches Special Education at Elmwood and is married to Paul Blanford, Superintendent of the Elmwood School District and a son, Scott who is the head grounds keeper at UW-Eau Claire. Donna also has four wonderful grandchildren: Autumn, Isaac, Tanner and Anna.

The late Kaye Bird reported this about Donna Lien as she retired from the Elmwood branch of Citizens State Bank in the Sun-Argus in July of 2012: “Ask Donna Lien how many years she has been working at Citizens State Bank in Elmwood, and the answer becomes a little complicated. That's because over the years she has been both a part time and fulltime employee. But ask her colleagues, and they will give you an answer. Donna Lien has been working at the bank for 38 years, and when she leaves, they will miss her . . . a lot.

But Donna didn’t leave Elmwood when she left CSB, she has continued to serve in her community Lien reported that she enjoys her retirement and spending time with the grand kids. She loves to cook and spend time with family and friends. Lien is still active with Village service and in her church and she belongs to the Book Club. She attends a lot of school activities and loves to watch the grand kids play ball where she runs into her co-Grand Marshal John Bates.

Donna stated that she has known John now for years when he was in high school and a history and Driver’s Ed student of Chet’s. “We go way back,” she said with a smile.

John Bates is an Elmwood native who grew up by the rock quarry. John graduated from Elmwood High School in the Class of 1970. That summer he enrolled in Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC) and graduated with a two-year degree in accounting.

After graduation, he took a job at 3M on their world corporate headquarters campus in Maplewood, Minnesota. He became an Information Technician (IT) getting into the early days of computer technology and worked on the front end of the computer age.

He recalled the days of punch cards and reel-to-reel magnetic tape as some of the tools for computers when he first started at Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing as it was named then.

John worked at 3M for 35 years before retiring on March 16, 2007.

He too like Donna has served the Village for years in different capacities.

John Bates is a life-long member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church and has served as Usher and Money Counter in addition to previously preparing the tithing tax statements for the parishioners of the church.

“This is a big honor and I am delighted to be sharing it with this wonderful lady, my co-Grand Marshal Donna Lien!” Bates exclaimed.

Congratulations to the 2017 UFO Days Grand Marshals Donna Lien and John Bates, we will be looking for you at the head of the Grande Parade on at 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 30. For the full  interview turn to the UFO Days special insert in this edition of the Sun-Argus that also includes the full schedule of activities for UFO Days 2017 along with other UFO Days information.