The oversized envelope stuffed in Susan Bowler's mailbox Tuesday didn't suggest any sort of honor.
Rep. Scott McInnis' (R-Grand Junction) political junk mail?
"It's not my birthday ... I wonder if he wants a donation," thought Bowler, public health nurse manager for Moffat and Routt counties at the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association
Bowler instead learned that McInnis had read her job and life's story into the congressional record of the 108th Congress' session debates.
McInnis' extended remarks on the U.S. House of Representatives floor were made March 27.
"Susan has done much to improve the lives of others in her community, and I would like to take this opportunity to recognize that service and the important role she fills in her community before this body of Congress and this nation," McInnis said.
"I almost started crying," said Bowler, who has already mailed a copy of the document to her mother in California.
Bowler was unaware of the recognition. Blair Jones, McInnis' spokesman, said her story was taken from a recent newspaper article.
Similar honors focusing on individual sacrifice or community service are given on an irregular basis, Jones said.
McInnis' remarks note Bowler's service as a teenager at an orphanage in Thailand, her career in infant care and move to Craig in 1992 before joining the local VNA. She now helps oversee public health in two counties -- while stretching into subjects such as bio-terrorism response.
"The role of a public health official is full of challenges and opportunities ... her dedication to addressing the healthcare needs of Moffat and Routt counties is an inspiration to others and an immense benefit to her community."
Bowler already has drafted her thank-you note and still wonders, "Why me?"
"I liked the fact he brought in work," she said. "Even though it's a small community, the work is still important."
Paul Shockley can be reached at 824-7031 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.