Laura Plys' number one role is mom to her five children. In fact, she is the first stay-at-home mom to be honored with the Women in Leadership award since its inception.
"When you've been a stay-at-home mom, I think you just don't...you don't take that as honoring as you should. So it's kind of shocking to me."
Not shocking to her youngest son Jonah. He tells us how great his mom is.
When Jonah was a baby, Laura brought the first Buddy Walk to Duluth.
"It was just inspiring to see all the families and their friends come together and have this big great day of celebration."
This was only one of several community events Laura spearheaded to bring together families with children with Down Syndrome.
"I haven't been too involved in the last two years because it was just too hard to leave Patrick."
Patrick is Laura's husband of 28 years. After a 17 year battle with brain cancer, he passed away in January. Still fresh from the pain of losing her greatest love, she accepts the award remembering something he always told her.
"Being a leader in your home is just as important because you just never know who is watching you."
And clearly, people are watching-and noticing-the impact this outstanding mother and wife has had on our community.
Something Laura always carries with her is the phrase "Choose Joy". She says it is that simple reminder that is getting her and her family through such hard times.
The Women in Leadership Awards Luncheon is March 28 at Greysolon Ballroom.