The Defeat of Jesse James Days Committee is pleased to announce that the 2023 Joseph Lee Heywood Distinguished Service Award Recipient is Eugene (Gene) Lyman.

Members of the DJJD board of directors surprised Gene with the news on Sunday, April 16 while he was at a family event at the home of his granddaughter who co-wrote his nomination.

Gene is the 40th recipient of this prestigious award and will be honored on Wednesday, September 6, 2023, during the Defeat of Jesse James Days at the Northfield Ballroom.

In part, Gene’s nomination reads, “Gene certainly doesn’t let grass grow under his feet as demonstrated through the multitude of volunteer endeavors and leadership positions held over the years…while working a full-time job along with farming and caring for his properties. He has been a dutiful servant to the Northfield community and greater Rice County community.”

Born and raised on the family farm east of Northfield, Gene is a true ‘townie’. At 93 years young Gene has lent his time and talents to a variety of organizations at the local, county, and state levels over the last eight decades. Gene’s involvement in the community started while he was a boy and gained leadership skills through his local 4-H club, since then he’s added to his resume being an active member of Rotary, his church, the Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce, Northfield Industrial Development Corporation, and the DJJD Committee just to name a few.

“As we look ahead to the 75th celebration, we are thrilled that Gene will be such an important part of it,” said Galen Malecha, current DJJD General Chairperson. “Gene is someone that has a long history with our celebration and has given so much to our community and the surrounding areas. We are so excited that we can honor him in this way as our 2023 Heywood award recipient.”

For those who wish to attend the Joseph Lee Heywood Distinguished Service Award Banquet in September, details can be found at – RSVPs are appreciated.

The Defeat of Jesse James Days Heywood Selection Committee is always looking for new nominations. The form along with submission instructions can be found at 

Mission Statement of the Heywood Committee:

To honor a Northfield citizen who we feel exemplifies the commitment to public service, which Heywood lived. It is an award that reminds us of our past and our promise to improve ourselves and our community for the future. An award that each of us would someday hope to be considered worthy of receiving.