By Shelia Tomkins
You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice.
A large hand-lettered sign on the door proclaims this truth to all who visit Peoples State Bank in Guttenberg during October Breast Cancer Awareness Month, created by employee Janet Olson, a two-year cancer survivor who learned this life lesson in 2012 when she became one of the more than 200,000 women who receive the diagnosis each year.
Following successful treatment, she has resumed her active life as a wife, mother and bank employee and has made it a mission to promote awareness of the disease. If you have never met her, she is easy to pick out this month from the smiling faces behind the customer service windows at the bank — she's the one with pink hair.
Look around the lobby and you will see her creativity at work — her work station is decorated with pumpkins and gourds painted in pink as a nod to the pink ribbon symbol for breast cancer awareness. A display by a south window features an impressive collection of pink and white pumpkins and gourds. Co-worker Bill Tangeman grew and donated them to her project. A sign on the display proclaims "Dedicated to all those who've lost the fight and to all those who won't quit the fight."