A common thread ties quartet

Beaulieu, Junker, Rossell, Vining named 2012 ‘Distinguished Alumni’

By HANNAH JOHNSON – Stillwater Gazette

What do a former mayor, veterinarian, executive director and technical director have in common? They’re this year’s Distinguished Alumni.

The Partnership Plan recently announced the recipients of the group’s 2012 Distinguished Alumni Award. The honor has been awarded since 1987.

The annual event honors Stillwater Area High School alumni who have made a significant impact on people’s lives and the community. The recipients receive their awards during a June 9 special reception before the SAHS commencement ceremony. Award winners will also address the Class of 2012 during the commencement.

This year’s winners include Jean-Paul Beaulieu (class of 1986), David "Choc" Junker (class of 1952), Dr. Conway J. Rossell (class of 1943) and June Vining (class of 1978).

Jean-Paul Beaulieu

Beaulieu had a knack for computers in high school. After he graduated he went on to study at Minnesota State University, Mankato in the field of computer graphics. Since then he has worked in computer graphics and animation for Disney, Pixar, Lucas Films and Sony as well as with film production companies like Industrial Light and Magic, and currently Sony Pictures Imageworks, Inc.

Beaulieu is the technical director senior at Sony Pictures Imageworks in the Albuquerque, N.M. Beaulieu’s name appears in the film credits for at least 16 major motion pictures including "Flubber" (1997), "Star Wars: Episode II" (2002), "Star Wars: Episode III" (2005), "Alice in Wonderland" (2010), "Zookeeper" (2011), and "Green Lantern"(2011). His range has included children’s movies such as "Peter Pan" (2003), science fiction films like "The Island" (2005), and comedies like "Watchmen" (2009). He has filled the roles of computer graphic artist, lighting artist, digital effects artist, CG lighting and composting artist and technical director for "The Hulk" (2003).

David "Choc" Junker

Junker has lived in Stillwater nearly his entire life. Upon graduating from Stillwater High School in 1952, Junker traveled the Midwest playing his favorite sport: baseball. Junker was a pitcher and played with his two brothers Jack and Neil, both catchers. He later switched to fast-pitch softball and played for powerhouse Scandia for years, and he was elected to the Minnesota Hall of Fame.

Junker went on to start his own business, Junker Landscaping, where he did various types of work for Stillwater’s many residents. Whether plowing snow, sodding a yard or blacktopping a driveway, Junker was always happy to be of service. In his 25 years as a business owner, he provided many summer jobs for high school and college students. __

In addition owning a business, Junker also served as Stillwater mayor for two terms (1974-1982), on the city council for one term (1985-1986), an ISD 834 board member for two terms and Stillwater Public Works Director for 20 years.

Junker also volunteered his time in other areas, including years of coaching Valley Athletic Association football and hockey teams. He also had a tradition of ordering pies from Joseph’s Restaurant every Thanksgiving and delivering them to all the nursing homes in the area. At his recent class reunion, Junker was voted "Most Committed to Stillwater."

Dr. Conway J. Rosell

Rosell, who died in 2010, enlisted in the U.s. Army at 17 years old. He spent his first year in Army Specialist Training at the University of Kansas, after which he joined the 82nd Airborne Division. German paratroopers captured Rosell during battle in his only drop with other paratroopers in 1944. After escaping during a move to a prisoner of war camp, Rosell was flown back to the U.S. Army Hospital in Clinton, Iowa, where he received his honorable discharge. __

Rosell obtained a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Minnesota. He later appeared with four other students before the State Legislature to petition for creation of the University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Rosell was a member of its first graduating class in 1951 and went on to spend the next 41 years as a veterinarian.

Rosell owned and operated four small animal hospitals, partnering with ophthalmologist Dr. Hugh Monnahan to perform experimental eye surgery on dogs. Their work was later applied to human ophthalmology.

During his years of practice, Rosell gave eight veterinarians their first experience in the field. _Rosell also spent time on the University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine Alumni Association, ISD 834 Board, and the Lakewood College Board. He was also active with Lakeview Lutheran Church, Meals on Wheels, Stillwater Rotary, Saint Paul Humane Society and various church choirs.

Rosell passed away on June 25, 2010, at the age of 84.

June K. Vining

After graduating from high school, June (Johnson) Vining went on to study finance at Red Wing AVTI and nutrition of Mt. Hood Community College. Vining is currently the executive director of the Trauma Intervention Program (TIP) of Portland/Vancouver, Inc. and has filled many roles within the organization over the last 20 years. __

Starting as a TIP volunteer responder, Vining developed a compassion for assisting community members who have experienced a traumatic event. She quickly climbed through the ranks of the organization, becoming a team leader, the crisis team manager and finally the executive director. Vining is also one of two national TIP master trainers. During her time with the organization, it has grown from 10 volunteers in one city to more than 200 volunteers in more than 25 surrounding cities. In 2005, the Portland/Vancouver TIP chapter was recognized as the first national Model TIP Chapter, which led to its eventual status as an independent affiliate. __

Vining has trained hundreds of citizens across the country to become TIP volunteers, equipping them with the skills to respond to immediate trauma. She has trained police officers, firefighters, deputies, corrections officers, 911 operators, funeral home employees, nurses, teachers, health care workers and mental health professionals and actively advocated for peer support groups in the law enforcement and firefighter professions across the United States.

Vining has also encouraged the introduction of TIP Teens (teenaged TIP volunteers) and has made Portland, Ore./Vancouver, Wash., the first area in the nation to have an active TIP Teen program. She has received national recognition for this achievement.

Aside from her varied involvement in the TIP organization both locally and nationally, Vining has also served the greater community through her dedication to St. Henry Catholic Church, the Reynolds School District and Portland and Vancouver Fire and Police departments. She has received countless TIP awards, as well as many leadership and community awards for her service.