Impact 2021

Page 1

2021

IMPACT GIVING BACK it takes a

y t i n u m m o C

An Echo Press publication • Alexandria, MN


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Welcome to

IMPACT

2021

Giving back...it takes a community. And in this community – our community – the level of giving back and the time spent on volunteering is beyond incredible. Donations from local business owners are generous and volunteers are abundant. The people in this community who give of their time or their money do so because it is something they want to do and something that brings them joy. As anthropologist Elizabeth Andrews said, “Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they have the heart.” And I have to agree. In a community, volunteers are essential. They are the heart and soul of most nonprofit agencies. They are the ones who visit with the elderly; run errands for those who don’t have transportation; build houses for single moms, dads and families; they are the ones who help stock the shelves at the local food shelf; read to children in our schools; and they pray with those who may have only a few days or even a few hours left to live.

Volunteers are needed. Volunteers are appreciated more than they will ever know. And volunteers should be recognized for their efforts. Although many would humbly disagree. Local businesses in this community who donate their dollars and services are plentiful. Many do so without any recognition at all and many would like to keep it like that, too. But like the volunteers, local business owners deserve that recognition, too. They help little league teams; they help fund breast cancer research; they give their employees paid time off to volunteer; they don’t charge people for their services; and they help the people in our community who need it the most. As Oscar Wilde said, “The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.” Again, I have to agree. The people and business owners in this magazine are doing those acts, and they are making an impact. They are putting their money – and time – where their mouth is. And they are not alone. There are so

Celeste Edenloff, Impact Editor

many volunteers, so many business owners who do their part to give back to this community and this publication is just a small glimpse into the impact they have on this community. It definitely takes a community and we thank all of you who are doing your part to give back. “Every person can make a difference, and every person should try.” - John F. Kennedy

Contents VOLUNTEERS AND NONPROFITS Brooke Zabel............................................................................................................................6 Sharon Radach....................................................................................................................10 Jocelyn Olson........................................................................................................................12 Jim Bjerknes...........................................................................................................................14 Asheley Nienaber...............................................................................................................16 Jeanie Brever.........................................................................................................................18 United Way of Douglas and Pope Counties................................................20 David Feil.................................................................................................................................24 How to help kids find suitable volunteering opportunities.............30 Douglas County organizations...............................................................................49 Local service organizations make impact on community.............. 50 Car care program..............................................................................................................54

Douglas County Outreach Food Shelf.............................................................58 Habitat for Humanity of Douglas County...................................................... 60 LARGE AND SMALL BUSINESSES Amy Christopherson, State Farm.........................................................................26 Geneva Capital....................................................................................................................28 Bell Bank..................................................................................................................................34 Integrity Title.........................................................................................................................36 Alexandria Industries......................................................................................................38 Greeley Plumbing, Heating and A/C.................................................................40 Integrity Title.........................................................................................................................42 Elden’s Fresh Foods........................................................................................................44

Diann Drew, Publisher Celeste Edenloff, Editor Lowell Anderson, Photo editor Lori Mork, Designer A publication of Echo Press, December 2021 225 7th Ave. East, Alexandria, MN www.echopress.com

PAGE 4 | IMPACT 2021


DOUGLAS COUNTY Douglas County is home to many diverse industries including manufacturing, healthcare, service, tourism and retail. More than 1,400 companies have found that this area offers a balance not only for their business but for their lives and families. The average commute time for workers in Douglas County is 18 minutes, which is lower than the Minnesota average of 24 minutes.

Douglas County residents make up 85% of the workforce, for a total of 16,106.

Here are the Top 10 largest employers:  Alomere Health – 925  Douglas Machine – 709  Alexandria Public Schools – 619  Knute Nelson – 472  Alexandria Industries – 415  3M – 400

 Douglas County – 322  Central Specialties – 300  Brenton Engineering – 220  Donnelly Custom Manufacturing – 210

Source: Alexandria Area Economic Development Commission

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INVESTED IN YOUR JOURNEY IMPACT 2021 | PAGE 5


VOLUNTEERS AND NON-PROFITS

BROOKE ZABEL

VOLUNTEER FOR HABITAT FOR HUMANITY SINCE 2017

Q A

Q A

By volunteering I can help others in need, meet new people I otherwise would not have, learn/grow, and be challenged to find out what another organization’s needs are and work to achieve them. I also want to be an example for my kids that giving back is lifelong.

Working with them on their home is also cup filling – learning a new piece of the construction process right alongside of them are times I won’t soon forget. Often, they are becoming a homeowner for the first time in their family and to be a part of that and celebrate this new adventure with them is what it is all about!

Why is volunteering important to you?

Community is something I hold in high regard and always have. Growing up in a small northwestern Minnesota town, I learned at a young age what it meant to be a part of something bigger than myself. Being a contributing member of our community is essential to me.

What is your favorite part about volunteering or what do you like about it? Please give an example.

Hands down, our homeowners! I enjoy getting to know their story, their children and what gets them excited. Many times, I have walked through a nearly finished home and asked them all about paint colors, whose room is whose and what they are most excited about.

Zabel continued on Page 62 PAGE 6 | IMPACT 2021


GIVING BACK-

It takes a community! Alexandria Public Schools students look outside themselves in how they might support others in the community and beyond through service learning projects. Thank you to our students that give back to their community in so many selfless ways! A Team Proud!

Girls Volleyball Team members participated in a Habitat for Humanity Women Build Day.

www.alexschools.org 1410 S McKay Avenue | Alexandria, MN 56308 An Equal Opportunity Employer/Educator

Alexandria Boys Soccer laced up for a Go4theGoal fundraising project to raise funds for pediatric cancer.

Alexandria Public Schools Cross County Teams cleaned up trash along a section of highway in Douglas County. The Alexandria Girls Swimming & Diving team raised money for breast cancer research with team members wearing pink in honor of the survivors, as well as those fighting breast cancer.

Discovery Middle School 8th grade students volunteer for community service projects as part of an annual Day of Caring event. Alexandria DECA students initiated a project called ‘Cardinal Build’ partnering with Habitat for Humanity of Douglas County.

Search for AlexMNSchools

Garfield Elementary School students/ staff participated in an Adopt-a-Highway project, adopting a 2 mile section and committing to do their part in keeping the county roadway clean.


PAGE 8 | IMPACT 2021


IMPACT 2021 | PAGE 9


VOLUNTEERS AND NON-PROFITS

SHARON RADACH VOLUNTEER FOR HOSPICE OF DOUGLAS COUNTY

Q A

Why is volunteering important to you?

After retiring as a registered nurse for 36 years, I thought I was done working in healthcare. I took time to spend with my grandchildren and to pursue my hobbies. After a few years, I realized it was important for me to give back to those in need of special care and support at the end of their life. The role of a Hospice volunteer seemed to be a comfortable fit for me. I loved being a nurse and now I love being a Hospice volunteer.

Q

What is your favorite part about volunteering or what do you like about it? Please give an example.

A

The one-on-one personal contact with patients is a very special time to give them emotional and social support, letting them know we care unconditionally. Some visits may be just a time to listen, a comfort touch such as holding their hand or providing the family respite time. These visits can truly make a difference in their day. I visited a patient for several months. She had severe dementia and at times was very difficult to communicate with. But whenever I asked about her childhood or family she would smile and start talking about all the fun times they had. It was so enjoyable to see her laugh and be happy even if for just a few minutes. This is why I love to volunteer.

PAGE 10 | IMPACT 2021


Q A

Why do you volunteer for Hospice of Douglas County? What drew you to that organization?

Hospice of Douglas County is a great team of healthcare professionals and volunteers. They are devoted to providing compassionate care to patients with life limiting illnesses. During my career as a nurse at the hospital, I worked closely with the Hospice team when arranging discharge for patients with terminal conditions. I always admired the Hospice nurses for their compassion, dignity and respect for patients and their families. I am honored to be a member of the Hospice team. Hospice of Douglas County is a proud member of “We Honor Veterans.” This program shows dedication and commitment to honor our Hospice Veterans.

As a volunteer, I have been involved with sewing patriotic pillowcases. The Hospice Team presents one of these pillowcases with a certificate to the Veteran to thank them and show appreciation for their service.

Q A

What impact has volunteering made on you?

We have all heard and learned so many “life lessons” through our childhood, education and adult life. Being a Hospice volunteer has allowed me to witness patients who have faithfully lived these simple but valuable life lessons. The following are some of these lessons that have had an impact on me:

WE HAVE ALL HEARD AND LEARNED SO MANY “LIFE LESSONS” THROUGH OUR CHILDHOOD, EDUCATION AND ADULT LIFE. BEING A HOSPICE VOLUNTEER HAS ALLOWED ME TO WITNESS PATIENTS WHO HAVE FAITHFULLY LIVED THESE SIMPLE BUT VALUABLE LIFE LESSONS. SHARON RADACH

Be grateful, even through heartache and tragedy. Care for each other, unconditionally. Be a good friend. A simple act of kindness can bring happiness. Silence can be more powerful than words. Faith is a way of life that allows you to believe in a higher power and not be afraid to die. I wish to thank my Hospice patients and their families for reaffirming these important life lessons.

Q A

What advice would you have for someone who is thinking about becoming a volunteer?

You can make a difference! Helping and caring for others is an act of nature. If you care for people and are a good listener, Hospice of Douglas County is a wonderful team to be a part of. Each volunteer brings unique talents and can provide many different types of activities. The activity could be as simple as reading, listening to a movie, sharing a craft or just being present to listen. Volunteering for Hospice has been an invaluable experience for me.

Hospice of Douglas County volunteer

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IMPACT 2021 | PAGE 11


VOLUNTEERS AND NON-PROFITS

JOCELYN OLSON VOLUNTEER FOR DOUGLAS COUNTY OUTREACH FOODSHELF FOR NEARLY EIGHT YEARS

Q A

Why is volunteering important to you?

I have lots of free time. Why not give it to an important cause? Volunteering is a win-win for everyone. You feel good and at the same time, you are providing a much needed service to the community. And it doesn’t cost anyone a dime.

Q A

What is your favorite part about volunteering or what do you like about it? Please give an example.

Volunteering gives me a purpose. Sometimes as a retired person that’s hard to find. To be able to give food to a family in need is mostly very rewarding. Sometimes, it can also be challenging. I love gathering groceries for large families – those with six or eight or more family members. And, I like families with lots of kids. I have teenage grandkids so I know how much they can eat. So if the food shelf’s supplement of that family’s grocery bill helps get them all fed, that’s a great feeling.

Olson continued on Page 59

I HAVE LOTS OF FREE TIME. WHY NOT GIVE IT TO AN IMPORTANT CAUSE? VOLUNTEERING IS A WIN-WIN FOR EVERYONE. JOCELYN OLSON Foodshelf volunteer

PAGE 12 | IMPACT 2021


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IMPACT 2021 | PAGE 13


VOLUNTEERS AND NON-PROFITS

JIM BJERKNES KNUTE NELSON VOLUNTEER

Q A

Why is volunteering important to you?

I enjoy getting out to visit with people. I am a common, every day person who loves making others feel loved and happy. I like helping others.

Q A

What is your favorite part about volunteering or what do you like about it? Please give an example.

The smiles I see on the faces of others while I am volunteering makes my day. Their smiles mean that I am bringing cheer to their lives. Many people in this world don’t have many friends or family that come to visit. It makes me feel good to be able to visit with people.

Q A

Why do you volunteer at Knute Nelson?

I have been volunteering at Knute Nelson for more than 20 years. When I started volunteering there, I knew there was a need for volunteers. There was a point in my life that I was very depressed, even suicidal. I wondered what I would say to God at the judgement table if I committed suicide. I knew that suicide would not help me or my family. I decided to start volunteering to make a difference in the lives of people, but to also help me feel better about myself and what I had to offer. I volunteer to help and bring joy to others, which in turn brings joy to me.

PAGE 14 | IMPACT 2021


Q A

What impact has volunteering made on you?

I used to think I was too old to be a volunteer. I wondered what good I could do at my age. However, I realized that my life isn’t over and that there is still a lot of good that I can do in this world. It gives meaning to my life. I have a purpose.

Q A

What advice would you have for someone who is thinking about becoming a volunteer?

Volunteering is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. My suggestion to everyone is to try it! You might like it.

WHEN JIM IS AT KNUTE NELSON VOLUNTEERING, HE WILL BE SEEN GOING UP AND DOWN THE HALLS GIVING STAFF, RESIDENTS, FAMILY MEMBERS AND VISITORS A BIG HUG. HE MAKES EVERYONE SMILE. THE WORLD NEEDS MORE VOLUNTEERS LIKE JIM. JUDY THIELKE

Life Enhancement Director for Knute Nelson

KNUTE NELSON

currently has about 250 volunteers. The number of hours per month really varies. Some months, volunteers donate many hours, while others not as much. On average, volunteers donated about 8,000 hours per year.

SIMONSON IS READY TO DO YOUR HEAVY LIFTING We look forward to building with you!

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IMPACT 2021 | PAGE 15


VOLUNTEERS AND NON-PROFITS

ASHELEY NIENABER

Q A

ALEXANDRIA JAYCEES

Why is giving back to the community important?

Giving back to the community is important because it makes the organization feel like they are doing a good deed in the community. As a chapter, we do many projects that offer the parents and kids to participate from our big event called Ole Oppe Fest, which is the kick off to summer, to our smaller projects for kids like our Sandbox Fill, Easter Egg My Yard fundraiser and Pitch, Hit and Run.

Q A

What is the priority for your organization?

The main priority of the Alexandria Jaycees is to provide development opportunities that empower young people to create positive change. When

attending our events or chairing a project, you learn about yourself that you can do this and know that you are not alone. You are able to reach out to the other members in the organization and they are able to answer the questions that you may have.

Q A

In what ways does your organization give back?

The Alexandria Jaycees is a service organization that works to support and give back to the community through hosting events including Ole Oppe Fest and volunteering for local fundraisers. We have helped with an Easter Egg Hunt through the United Methodist Church and we have teamed up with Calvary Church for the Backpack Attack and Meals from the Heart.

Promoting prosperity and optimizing opportunity in the Alexandria region.

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320.763.4545 | aaedc@alexmn.org LivingAlexArea.org

PAGE 16 | IMPACT 2021


Q A

How do you encourage your members to be actively involved in the community and to volunteer their time and efforts?

We encourage members to be actively involved in the community because we offer so many different opportunities for our members. We aren’t just a local organization, we are a state, national and even International organization. We offer different training sessions for our members developing leadership skills, development skills and public speaking skills. We like our members to come back and feel like they are welcome in our organization. With joining the organization you can make awesome friends. You’ll be surrounded by people with similar values in your local community. We always tell our members you get what you put into the organization. If you don’t put in the effort, you are not going to get much out of the organization. If you put in your heart and soul in the organization you are going to make new friends and develop skills that you didn’t have before.

Q

Is there one particular event your organization is most proud of and why?

A

One particular event that our organization is most proud of is the Sandbox Fill. The Sandbox Fill offers families an opportunity to order sand for their sandbox in the spring. The kids have a big smile on their face when we deliver the fresh sand. This event started small and now has grown into a big name project in the community that many people know about and order from us year after year. Another one that we are very proud of as a chapter would have to be our Easter Egg My Yard. This was an idea that we came up with last year during COVID as a fundraiser for our chapter.

ALEXANDRIA JAYCEES http://alexjaycees.com/ 320-834-3030

General membership meetings are the second Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at Glenwood State Bank in Alexandria The Alexandria Jaycees Chapter was started in 1949. It remains active in supporting the community through service to humanity, which is “the best work of life,” according to Asheley Nienaber, president of the Alexandria Jaycees. Currently, there are 14 active members in the local chapter. On average, Nienaber said they put in about 50 to 60 hours per year on various projects. The board of directors are Kit Newman, secretary; Tammy Justine, individual development vice president; Matthew Justin, membership development vice president; and Tayler Mayer, community development vice president. Nienaber, who answered the questions, also serves as the treasurer.

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IMPACT 2021 | PAGE 17


VOLUNTEERS AND NON-PROFITS

JEANIE BREVER VOLUNTEER FOR UNITED WAY OF DOUGLAS AND POPE COUNTIES

Q A

Why is volunteering important to you?

Volunteering is important to me because it makes a difference in someone else’s life. When you share your time, talents or money, you make a positive impact in your community and in the world.

Q

What is your favorite part about volunteering or what do you like about it? Please give an example.

A

My favorite part of volunteering is being in contact with people – meeting new ones and sharing time with people I already know. For example, helping at the United Way Food Drop over the years, I have met so many wonderful people. I admire the volunteers who come forward and help others. They help even if they might be in need themselves. By helping others, people bond and it’s healing for everyone.

PAGE 18 | IMPACT 2021

Q A

JEANIE IS AN AMAZING WOMAN WITH SUCH A HUGE HEART!

Why do you volunteer for the United Way? What drew you to that organization?

I volunteer for United Way because I see the worthwhile events and programs they are committed to. United Way helps individuals and families of all ages and walks of life. United Way focuses on supporting and educating the whole person – physically, mentally and nutritionally.

Q A

What impact has volunteering made on you?

Volunteering has made me so appreciative of this wonderful community and area we live in. Alexandria and the surrounding areas are so very generous – businesses and individuals alike. When we see someone in need, we need only pause for a moment and ask “What Would Jesus Do?” Or, as my friends and I also say “What Would Jennie Hevern do?” (Jennie Hevern was a longtime volunteer in the community who passed away March 17, 2017.) We know the answer and we each need to take action in small or large ways.

JEN JABAS

Executive director, United Way of Douglas and Pope Counties

Q A

What advice would you have for someone who is thinking about becoming a volunteer?

If you are thinking about volunteering, JUST DO IT! I encourage young people, old people, newcomers to the community, lonely people, busy people, anyone to volunteer. Every time you reach out your hand and heart to help, you are volunteering. Every time you share your time, talents or money, you are volunteering. Every time you volunteer, you are expanding your horizons and the rewards are tremendous. Thank you to the many, many volunteers. Your efforts do not go unnoticed. I am blessed to call many of you “friend.”


Giving Back It Takes A Community

At Kalon Prep Academy, we strive to meet students where they are and guide them where they want to go. We will do so by LISTENING, LEADING & LAUNCHING them on a path to become the Best Version of Themselves.

Kalon Prep Academy provides an exceptional campus culture that fosters strong academic achievement mixed with caring adults, relevant experiences, and a commitment to fun.

Kalon Prep Academy is

• A tuition free, Minnesota Department of Education approved 9-12 Charter School • An on-campus experience with a blend of online & whole group instruction • 15:1 student/instructional coach ratio designed to personalize each student’s educational journey. • A strengths based, whole student, college and career focused school

Clifton Strengths Focus

Students will discover how they are uniquely wired and will use those strengths to transform their great potential into great performance. Example: Student Led Art Class, Picnics in the Park, Spooky Sprint

CFES Brilliant Pathways Programming

Kalon Academy is the only Minnesota school partnered with the nationally known CFES network. The core practices are: Mentorship, College & Career Pathways, and Essential Skills- Leadership, Perseverance, Teamwork, Networking, Goal Setting, Agility. Enrollment for the 2022-2023 school year opens January 1st

Phone 320-460-8881 Email info@kalonprep.org Website kalonprep.org The staff and students at Kalon Prep Academy are tremendously grateful for the generosity of this community both financially and in the form of volunteers.

“THANK YOU ALL, for GIVING BACK!” IMPACT 2021 | PAGE 19


Following a Live United Luncheon, volunteers circle the floor of the Alexandria Armory to place food into bags for the United Way of Douglas and Pope Counties’ Backpack Attack program. Echo Press file photo

UNITED WAY OF DOUGLAS AND POPE COUNTIES

T

503 HAWTHORNE ST.  ALEXANDRIA  320-834-7800  uwdp.org

he United Way of Douglas and Pope Counties works locally to advance the common good of the community, according to its website. It does this by focusing on health, education and financial stability. The United Way provides grants to local nonprofit organizations, as well as hosts its own programs.

The United Way mission is: “We are changing the game by connecting people, resources and ideas to promote individual self-sufficiency by investing in health, education and financial stability.” And its vision is: “We LIVE UNITED, inspiring people to make a lasting difference in the lives of all.” Here’s a look at some of the United Way’s program: BACKPACK ATTACK: Provides bags of supplemental food for students over the weekend throughout the school year. Available in Douglas and Pope County public elementary schools and Head

PAGE 20 | IMPACT 2021

Start. Contact your child’s school to enroll in the program. COMMUNITY IMPACT COALITION: The coalition’s strategic intent is to create long lasting impact in the community by serving as a resource in identifying and meeting community needs, as well as being a resource to one another. Meetings take place once a month. These meetings are open to the public. COAT DISTRIBUTION: The United Way “Coat Room” is available at its office for families to pick out a coat and cold weather accessories for each member of their immediate family, free of charge. DAY OF CARING: The Day of Caring is a student day of service where Discovery Middle School students join with United Way and go out into the community to take on outdoor volunteer projects. EQUIPPED TO WORK: Provides resources to individuals that allow them to secure employment. To see if you’re a fit, contact Social Services for a referral to Rural MN CEP for case management and support.

We LIVE UNITED, inspiring people to make a lasting difference in the lives of all. Vision of the United Way SINGLECARE: Prescription saving card available at the United Way office. This card helps to reduce the cost of prescriptions and medications regardless of income or whether or not someone has health insurance coverage. HOLIDAY GIFT PROGRAM: The Holiday Gift Program provides gifts to children ages 0-18 over the holiday season. Community members who wish to buy gifts are matched with registered families based on the number of children. All participants in the program remain confidential. Registration for both parties opens mid-November.


MOBILE FOOD DROP: Free monthly food distribution events that happen in both Douglas and Pope Counties. Dates, information and registration is available on the United Way website. POVERTY SIMULATION: The Poverty Simulation is an interactive experience where participants take on different roles that place them into typical scenarios that low-income families face. Roles are based on real families. The goal of those participating in the simulation is to meet the needs of their family for one month. STUFF THE BUS: New backpacks stuffed full of needed school supplies for Douglas and Pope County K-12 students. Registration opens online and by phone mid-July and closes mid-August. Bags are made available for pickup to registered families before the start of the school year. TRAVELING TREE HOUSE: This is a mobile learning center staffed with licensed educators who provide free literacy based programming. The Tree House stops at several designated locations within Douglas County over the summer.

United Way continued on Page 22

Discovery Middle School students stand ready to help during the Day of Caring. The United Way of Douglas and Pope Counties teams up with the school to complete outdoor projects. Contributed photo

BRINGING INFORMATION TO LIFE IN OUR COMMUNITY FOR 130 YEARS OUR JOURNALISM.

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IMPACT 2021 | PAGE 21


Volunteers helped bag up groceries for the Backpack Attack program of the United Way. Echo Press file photo

United Way from Page 21 VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES The United Way has a website, GetConnected, that hosts Douglas and Pope County volunteer opportunities from the United Way and other local nonprofits. People create a profile, choose their favorite organizations and then they will receive email updates when new opportunities are available. GetConnected is also a free tool for local nonprofits to use. The nonprofit creates a profile with contact info and then events can be added to the calendar and posts can be made about volunteer opportunities. “Speed volunteer” opportunities are available,

Volunteers help during a United Way Food Drop. Echo Press file photo PAGE 22 | IMPACT 2021

as well. Speed volunteering is simply choosing a project from the United Way’s website, such as “Birthday in a Bag” or “Homework Kits” and collecting the needed supplies for that bag or project. For example, someone buying items for the Birthday in a Bag would buy a large birthday bag, cake mix, cake pan, frosting, candles, birthday banner, paper plates, napkins, a blank card and a gift. All the supplies would be put into a bag, marked with age and gender and then dropped off at the United Way. Speed volunteering projects can easily be coordinated and completed with friends, family, youth groups or coworkers. More speed volunteering ideas can be found on the website under the “get involved” tab. For more information about volunteer opportunities or the United Way as a whole, visit the website at uwdp.org.

Andrew Holte, right, and Bennett Schuneman pack food into bags to be distributed during a United Way Mobile Food Drop. Echo Press file photo

Eighth grade students use rakes to spread mulch on the YMCA Child Care playground in Alexandria during the United Way’s Day of Caring. Echo Press file photo


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Joe Juettner, Vice President

Bill Grove

Morgan Hauer

Billy Knott

Josh Hornberger

Chad Muehlenhardt

Sam Pederson

SERVICE ADVISERS Jake Juettner, Vice President

Scott Eldred

AJ DuFresne

Rob Weiner

Adam Downing, Vice President

Body Shop/ Detail Shop

Service Department

Tom Dietman, Finance Manager

ADMINISTRATION

ND RI

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PR HO

Mariah Seibel, Accounting Assistant

Marc Johnson, Collision Center Manager

E SS | E CH O S ES PR

.COM

JUETTNER

Amber Salonek, Reception

Tina Brakken, Title Clerk

ALEX A

Brad Hanson, Office Manager

motors

1900 Broadway, Alexandria | 320-763-3126 | www.JuettnerMotors.com

Ron Johnson, Service Manager


VOLUNTEERS AND NON-PROFITS

DAVID FEIL VOLUNTEER FOR THE ALEXANDRIA SCHOOL DISTRICT

Q A

Why is volunteering important to you?

Volunteering is in my nature. I’ve been volunteering, being volunteered or being “volun-told” for as long as I can remember. It’s a great way to give back to the community or become part of your new community. I find volunteering in the classroom extremely rewarding, not for my sake but on behalf of the minions (3rd graders) and hobbits (4th graders).

Q A

What is your favorite part about volunteering or what do you like about it? Please give an example.

An important part about volunteering in the classroom is the social interaction as we work toward subject understanding. The best part is the “Ah, ha!” moment when the student I’ve been working with gets it. It’s a visceral moment; the eyes widen, the jaw drops and suddenly they are telling me all about the topic at hand. Lunch with my little buddies is not to be written off. It, too, has become an important component.

Q

Why do you volunteer for the Alexandria School District? What drew you to them?

A

When we moved to Alexandria, classroom needs came up in discussions. I am task oriented and, as a new retiree, could use a task to apply myself to. Instant matchup. Lincoln Elementary School is nearby so I made the necessary inquiries and started out once a week for two hours. This has expanded over the years to twice a week with -fourhour stints. My assisting forte has become math – certainly my most cantankerous subject throughout my student career. PAGE 24 | IMPACT 2021


Q A

What impact has volunteering made on you?

I have become more patient and I now know four different ways to add numbers and multiple methods to multiply. Not every minion or hobbit learns the same way so I must adjust to meet the target. A pocket full of change is a great training aid as is an analog watch. I have seen how cooperation at these ages translates into their futures. There’s hope.

Q A

What advice would you have for someone who is thinking about becoming a volunteer?

As a volunteer, do not enter the classroom with preconceived notions of what you are going to do or not do. (I am “Math Guy.” That’s my name, now.) You will be at the teacher’s beck and call to do whatever. You are a support element. Your flexibility is the one thing that a teacher needs. A waving hand is your flag to leap into action (OK, wander by and see what’s up). Your reward is the students’ success.

DAVID FEIL STARTED VOLUNTEERING THE YEAR AFTER HIS FAMILY MOVED TO ALEXANDRIA IN 2014. SCHOOL YEAR 2015-16 WAS HIS FIRST ENCOUNTER. HE STARTED ASSISTING 4TH GRADE TEACHER THERESE SERUM AND THEN MOVED TO INCLUDE MAKENZIE SHUTTER’S 4TH GRADE AND THE ENTIRE 3RD GRADE CROWD. HE SAID, “FLEXIBILITY IS THE WATCHWORD.” AT THE END OF THE FIRST YEAR, HE WASN’T SURE HE WAS A “FORCE MULTIPLIER” BUT FOUND OUT THAT HIS CONCENTRATION WITH STUDENTS IN TROUBLE ENABLED THE TEACHERS CONTINUE LESSONS WITH THE REST OF THE CLASS AND ENSURE THE NECESSARY ATTENTION TO BE GIVEN TO THAT PARTICULAR STUDENT. “I MUST CONFESS, ONE OF THE STUDENTS AND I WERE KICKED OUT OF THE LIBRARY SOMETIME AGO FOR BEING TOO LOUD,” HE SAID, ADDING, “IT WAS HER FAULT.” HE ALSO NOTED THAT HE RECENTLY BUMPED INTO ONE OF THE STUDENTS FROM ABOUT THREE YEARS AGO AND THE STUDENT ASKED HIM IF HE HAD GRADUATED OUT OF 4TH GRADE YET.

Cullen Home Center is...

HOME DECOR • AREA RUGS • INSULATION

FURNITURE • ELECTRONICS • MATTRESSES

NEW CONSTRUCTION • REMODELING • SIDING • WINDOWS • DOORS

• Invested in our Community. • Committed to providing knowledgeable sales people. • Your local home improvement store. • Committed to offering the best products at the best prices. • “People you know, Products you trust!”

Voted #1 6 years in a row! APPLIANCES • CABINETS • COUNTER TOPS • GRILLS • FIREPLACES & STONE

IMPACT 2021 | PAGE 25


LARGE AND SMALL BUSINESSES

AMY CHRISTOPHERSON OWNER, STATE FARM INSURANCE

Q A

Why is giving back to the community important?

When I was selected to open my own business in my hometown community, I committed to three things and it has been so rewarding to see the impact. Team: Take excellent care of my team. Clients: Provide exceptional service to our clients. Community: Stay active in continuing support my community.

Q A

Why is it a priority for your business/organization?

Because the secret of living is giving. Over the last 40 years, I have learned that true fulfillment does not lie in material possessions. The real joy in life never comes from what you get, it comes from what you give.

I ESPECIALLY ENJOY VOLUNTEERING TO TEACH NEW HOMEOWNER SESSIONS AND SUPPORTING HABITAT FOR HUMANITY AMY CHRISTOPHERSON Owner, State Farm Insurance

PAGE 26 | IMPACT 2021


Q A

In what ways does your company give back?

As I was planning for 2020, I thought, “What if we donate $10 to a local non-profit organization for every auto or life insurance quote we provide?” Our “Quotes for Good” campaign was so successful in providing extra support for those organizations. Recently, we have enjoyed collaborating and supporting local small businesses. A few of our favorites included sponsoring free car washes at Woody’s Car Wash, free Thanksgiving pies from Elden’s Fresh Foods, free Valentine roses from Broadway Floral, free breakfast from The Coffee Pot and free mini golf at Casey’s Amusement Park.

Q why?

Is there one particular cause or nonprofit organization you will always donate to and

A

I especially enjoy volunteering to teach new homeowner sessions and supporting Habitat for Humanity. Last year I participated in three home builds. When I first became an Agent, I knew State Farm Corporate had large grant programs available. I thought how amazing it would be to one day have our community receive one of the grants. In 2020, I partnered with Mary Gorghuber, Donor Relations Coordinator with the Habitat team and the Alexandria Area High School DECA program to award a $20K grant. It is exciting to hear that our community was selected to receive another $10K matching grant this upcoming year.

Q A

How do you encourage your employees to give back/volunteer?

AMY CHRISTOPHERSON, OWNER, STATE FARM INSURANCE Christopherson has worked with State Farm for 13 years and been an agent for additional four years She has seven employees Christopherson’s business donates $10,000 annually

Giving back to the community not only makes a positive impact to the lives of others, it also enables my team to have a fulfilling experience. It boosts morale and builds a collaborative and inspired team. We look forward to planning our upcoming year and I am anxious to see what new ideas my team has in mind.

LICENSED • BONDED • INSURED • ESTABLISHED 1998

• Residential • Remodel • Light Commercial • Hydronic Radiant Floor Heat

Off-Peak Rates From

Ron Wagner

Ryan Wagner

320-834-6234 • 320-760-5818 • BRANDON, MN IMPACT 2021 | PAGE 27


LARGE AND SMALL BUSINESSES

GENEVA CAPITAL

ANDREW CAVERS, PRESIDENT

Q A

Why is giving back to the community important?

The Alexandria community is an incredible place to raise a family, to operate a business and to live and prosper. But that doesn’t happen on its own. The saying goes, “Many hands make light work.” Together, we can ensure Alexandria remains an amazing place where businesses and families thrive. When a community flourishes as a whole, it’s individuals are better off, too. It all comes full-circle.

Q A

Why is it a priority for your business?

Founder and CEO Mark Watkins has always felt that we have an obligation to be stewards of our community. We’re able to donate dollars quickly to the people who need it most, oftentimes before they can get aid elsewhere, and to offer volunteers to complete hands-on work when necessary. With a few minor sacrifices on our part, we can all have a HUGE impact in the lives of others.

in business since July 2000

“Giving back” doesn’t always have to be a reactionary response to hardships. We can also give time and resources to our youth in hopes of setting our community up for greater success down the road. After all, the next generation of Alexandria’s community and business leaders are the ones who will keep Alexandria growing and thriving long into the future.

Geneva Capital was formed in July 2000 by Mark Watkins. The mission of the company was – and is – to be a leading provider of financing solutions to the graphic arts, fitness, sign and municipal marketplaces.

Geneva PAGE 28 | IMPACT 2021

continued on Page 31

GENEVA CAPITAL

Andrew Cavers, president


IMPACT 2021 | PAGE 29


How to help kids find suitable

VOLUNTEERING OPPORTUNITIES

Volunteering is a great way for people to give back to their communities. Many people give back out of a desire to help others, but those same individuals may acknowledge that volunteering benefits volunteers most of all. Various studies examining the benefits of volunteering on volunteers have been conducted in recent years. Seniors and retirees who volunteer often cite the sense of purpose that giving back provides. But it’s not just adults who benefit from volunteering. In fact, there have been reports that volunteerism promotes positive citizenship among youth, contributes to youths’ identity development and increases their self-esteem. Volunteering also helps youth develop empathy for others. Parents who want their children to reap the rewards of volunteering can try the following strategies:

Use the internet as it is a great resource for aspiring volunteers. A great resource is volunteermatch. org as it partners with more than 130,000 nonprofit organizations to help them find volunteers. Chat with school leaders. A child’s school is another great place to find volunteer needs and organizations. Extracurricular activities like school-sponsored clubs may organize volunteering excursions throughout the school year. Educators, including school principals, teachers and guidance counselors, also can help parents find the right volunteering opportunities for their children. Check with local churches. Like schools, local churches often sponsor youth-based volunteering activities. Many churches encourage all youth to join in their efforts, including those who are not members of their congregations.

VOLUNTEERING BENEFITS YOUNG PEOPLE IN MYRIAD WAYS, ESPECIALLY WHEN KIDS FIND AN OPPORTUNITY THEY CAN BE PASSIONATE ABOUT. PAGE 30 | IMPACT 2021

Builders FirstSource carries a wide selection of high quality building materials suited for both homeowner and professional builders’ needs. We take pride in personal service, and our talented and experienced team provides support to meet the needs of your specific project. We provide quality materials that will perform well and look great. Make us your first source for doors, windows, siding, lumber, roofing, and more. Call or come in today.

See it. Live it. Build it.

105 First Ave. E. Osakis, MN 56360 Office: 320-859-2814 Fax: 320-859-3700 Visit our website at http://www.bldr.com


Geneva from Page 28

Q

In what ways does your company give back and how do you encourage your employees to give back/volunteer?

A

Serving on our internal Community Reinvestment Committee (CRC) is one of the biggest ways the Geneva Capital team gives back. The CRC facilitates all philanthropic requests and directs funds to MANY local causes. We host two monthly events where a small group provides either a lunch or appetizers and cocktails for the entire team. Each attendee makes a free-will donation from their own pockets, and the company matches all funds raised – times two! Funds are donated to the beneficiary of the organizers’ choosing. To date, the CRC has reinvested over $1.5 million in our local communities. For several years now, Geneva Capital has also coordinated a Holiday Pay-It-Forward campaign with allotments of up to $1,000 per employee to be donated as each employee deems appropriate. The Geneva Capital team is encouraged to use paid volunteer time to participate in local initiatives like the United Way Food Drop, grade school lunch buddies and more.

A couple other passion projects for our team are the Alexandria Area High School Shark Tank event and our summer internship program. It’s our hope that we can continue to mentor Alexandria’s young people. After all, they’re the future of our community!

Q

Is there one particular cause or nonprofit organization you will always donate to and why?

A

YOUTH! When selecting where our CRC funds go, the committee looks at the following criteria: Local Immediate need Impacts youth We try to help out however we can with family hardships, medical emergencies and more. We also get to support youth sports, fun school activities and many other healthy outlets for kids. We’re firm believers that investing in local youth today will have long-lasting benefits for our businesses and our city in the future.

“Giving back” doesn’t always have to be a reactionary response to hardships. We can also give time and resources to our youth in hopes of setting our community up for greater success down the road. After all, the next generation of Alexandria’s community and business leaders are the ones who will keep Alexandria growing and thriving long into the future. ANDREW CAVERS President, Geneva Capital

IMPACT 2021 | PAGE 31


PAGE 32 | IMPACT 2021


IMPACT 2021 | PAGE 33


LARGE AND SMALL BUSINESSES

BELL BANK ABBY KLEINSCHMIDT, VICE PRESIDENT/BRANCH MANAGER

Q A

Why is giving back to the community important?

It makes the community we call home a better place for everyone. We are blessed and feel a responsibility to give back. This community is a very giving place and we share that value with so many.

Q A

Why is it a priority for your business?

The importance of giving back starts at the top of our company from management down. One of our core values of our company is “Paying it forward by giving back to the communities we serve.” It is also very important to our employees to give back, and our customers appreciate that we are actively involved in making our community even better.

Q A

In what ways does your company give back?

Where and how we give back locally is influenced by every member of our team and supported financially by our ownership. Our most unique initiative is Pay It Forward, in which every full-time employee receives $1,000 and every part-timer gets $500 every year to give as they choose to people and organizations in need. Since 2008, this program has empowered more than $18 million in giving company-wide and impacted thousands of lives.

PAGE 34 | IMPACT 2021


Q A

How do you encourage your employees to give back/volunteer?

Employees are granted time off specifically to participate in volunteer activities. We encourage employees to be a part of clubs or organizations that also give back and to be active members. For example, we have employees in Kiwanis, Rotary and Sertoma, to name a few. (I personally am involved in Kiwanis.) We also like to encourage team activities like Habitat Build, the United Way Food Drop and the Strikeout Illiteracy Bowling Tournament.

Q A

Is there one particular cause or nonprofit organization you will always donate to and why?

Bell Bank likes to contribute to causes employees are passionate about or that they are directly involved in. I like to give and be involved in many ways in the United Way. I love that they help with many nonprofits in our county along with their own projects. I have a personal story for how I got involved: One year when my son was younger, he came home from school and said he needed to bring an extra pair of mittens for a classmate who didn’t have any to wear. I was so impressed with his little heart and that got me involved more in the United Way. That year, I used my Pay It Forward funds to help buy coats, hats, mittens and boots to give to the United Way Coat Drop.

Your one-stop shop! -Quality Cenex Fuels -Propane Filling Station -Hunting & Fishing Licenses -Bait & Tackle

-Broasted Chicken and Sandwiches -Pop, Coffee, Snacks and More! -Auto & Tire Full Service Shop

BELL BANK ABBY KLEINSCHMIDT, VICE PRESIDENT/BRANCH MANAGER THE BANK WAS FOUNDED AS STATE BANK OF FARGO BACK IN 1966. BELL BANK STARTED IN ALEXANDRIA AS A MORTGAGE LOAN OFFICE IN 2002, AND IN 2006, IT PROUDLY OPENED ITS NEWLY BUILT, FULL-SERVICE BANK. IN 2020, BELL BANK DONATED MORE THAN $2.52 MILLION IN “PAY IT FORWARD” FUNDS COMPANY-WIDE. EMPLOYEES ARE EACH GIVEN 16 HOURS OF PAID VOLUNTEER TIME ANNUALLY TO USE AS THEY CHOOSE.

Cenex Convenience Store Auto & Tire Service 1705 Broadway, Alexandria, MN • 320-763-6557

alexcenex.com

Our Full Service Auto Center

can help you get your car running smooth - or if it’s tires you need, we can help there too. We will gain your trust with our honesty and service! IMPACT 2021 | PAGE 35


LARGE AND SMALL BUSINESSES

INTEGRITY TITLE INC. JILL WAGNER, PRESIDENT JIM WAGNER, VICE PRESIDENT

Q A

Why is giving back to the community important?

I am a homegrown Alexandria/Garfield/Brandon girl. I was born and raised here; my family is here. I am a product of this community and it is my absolute delight to give back in any way I can. I feel it is ultimately my job in life to take care of others, as they have taken care of me. This community has supported me therefore we must take care of them.

Q A

Why is it a priority for your business/organization?

Giving back is a priority in so many things we do. My heart has always been in the business of making things better for others. Whether that be in the closing room or in the dugout or in the shelters. My job as a Christian and a human is to share the success that I have been lucky enough to experience. My goal has always been to share this success with others that have different circumstances or hardships. Life is about sharing with others.

Integrity Title continued on Page 46 PAGE 36 | IMPACT 2021


BE BOLD BE CURIOUS BE A LEADER

BE A LEGEND

›› RANKED BEST COMMUNITY COLLEGE IN MINNESOTA AND #8 NATIONALLY BY WALLETHUB.COM www.alextech.edu

• go@alextech.edu • 320.762.0221 • 888.234.1222 • An Equal Opportunity Employer/Educator • Alexandria Technical & Community College is committed to legal af f irmative action, equal opportunity, inclusivity, access and diversity of its campus community. w w w.alextech.edu/ EEO


ALEXANDRIA INDUSTRIES TOM SCHABEL, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER JOE SCHABEL, PRESIDENT, OPERATIONS AND ENGINEERING STEVE SCHABEL, PRESIDENT, COMMERCIAL AND CENTRALIZED SERVICES PAGE 38 | IMPACT 2021

LARGE AND SMALL BUSINESSES

Q

Q

A

A

Why is giving back to the community important?

In memory of Janine Schabel, Tom’s wife, our organization will provide for those less fortunate, and inspire others to do so. Janine and Tom’s vision helped shape our community of giving, while bringing compassion to those who need it most. And to embody our core values – integrity, faith, mutual respect, commitment to excellence and employee well-being, Alexandria Industries encourages employees to give their time and effort to support those in their communities – wherever the need.

Why is it a priority for your business/ organization?

The health and well-being of our communities directly impacts the wellness of our employees. A community that is healthy, thriving, educated, supported and cared for, will prosper and do well for those who live, work, visit and play here. The employees of Alexandria Industries are making a difference by giving their time to help create a safer, healthier, happier, and more productive world for our families and communities.


Q A

In what ways does your company give back?

Every year (sans the 2021 pandemic), our employees host the Alexandria Industries Ice Fishing Challenge to raise money for the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life. Their passion is driven by a real need to find a cure for cancer, a disease that has affected so many families, colleagues, and communities. This is just one of the fundraising events our employees organize to raise funds for this cause. Alexandria Industries gives back to its communities in many forms. For example, a few years ago, we partnered with Elden’s Fresh Foods and Anderson’s Funeral Home to host an appreciation luncheon – Operation Appreciation – for our community first responders. This included law enforcement, EMS personnel, firefighters, medical helicopter pilots and many others. It was our way to say thank you to them for helping to keep our community healthy and safe. We know our employees have a passion for others as they all give generously to many organizations. As a group, we raise funds for the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life, United Way, and our own employees through the Alexandria Industries Benevolent Fund.

Q A

How do you encourage your employees to give back/volunteer?

Our employee-inspired Alexandria Industries Benevolent Fund (funded solely by employee donations) provides financial support for employees who are facing an unexpected financial hardship. Alexandria Industries also offers all employees eight hours of paid time off each year to volunteer their time and sweat equity for non-profit and community organizations that serve people for the greater good. Our employees contribute their time to many organizations, such as Habitat for Humanity, local churches, boy and girl scouts, our local schools, etc.

Q why?

Is there one particular cause or nonprofit organization you will always donate to and

A

While we openly support many worthy organizations and causes, our hearts are most certainly attached to the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life, for the simple fact that cancer has touched nearly every person in some way, including those that knew and loved Janine Schabel who lost her battle with cancer. We will

ALEXANDRIA INDUSTRIES ALEXANDRIA INDUSTRIES HAS BEEN IN BUSINESS SINCE OCTOBER 1996 AND HAS 563 EMPLOYEES THROUGHOUT ALL LOCATIONS AND 439 IN ALEXANDRIA ALONE.

never give up until we find a cure for this deadly disease. We will continue to be actively engaged in supporting the communities where we live, work and play. Our corporate contributions outside of the American Cancer Society, include Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Northstar Christian Academy, Kalon Prep Academy and the Alexandria Veterans Memorial Park, just to name a few.

We know there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution to business challenges.

We know there’s no such thing Let's see what we as a one-size-fits-all solution to business can challenges. do together. Let's see what we You see the future you want to build for can doyourself, together. your family and your business. You see the challenges that lie ahead and what you’ll need to meet them. We see new ways You see the future you want to build for to help youbusiness. accomplish all of that and more. yourself, your family and your You see the challenges that lie ahead andabove what and beyond is something Because going you’ll need to meet them. We see new ways we do for our customers every day. to help you accomplish all of that and more.

You see the future you want to build for yourself, your family and your business. You see the challenges that lie ahead and what you’ll need to meet them. We see new ways to help you accomplish all of that and more. Because going above and beyond is something we do for our customers every day. bremer.com

IMPACT 2021 | PAGE 39


LARGE AND SMALL BUSINESSES

GREELEY PLUMBING, HEATING & A/C Our Services Include  Closing/Escrow Services  Title Insurance  Abstracting/ O & E Reports  Lien/Judgment Search  1031 Intermediary  Document Preparation  New Construction Disbursements

Insuring the past; Protecting your future We Appreciate You!

About Us

With a combined 71 years of experience, Alexandria Title Co. is committed to accurate and quality service meeting our customer’s needs.

TREATING

YOU RIGHT

Locally Owned & Managed  Abstracters  Title Agents  Closers

Follow Us:

1804 Broadway, Ste 140 • Alexandria 320.763.6858 | www.alextitleco.com Mon-Fri 8am-4:30pm PAGE 40 | IMPACT 2021

Q A

Why is giving back to the community important?

Being blessed by people that trust in me and my team to serve their plumbing, heating and A/C needs is exactly why I return the help with sponsorships, donations and even some free services.

GREELEY PLUMBING THE COMPANY WAS ESTABLISHED IN 1988 BY SAM GREELEY. HIS SON, JUSTIN GREELEY, BOUGHT THE BUSINESS IN 2002 AND HAS SINCE EXPANDED THE BUSINESS TO INCLUDE LOCATIONS IN ALEXANDRIA, GLENWOOD AND MORRIS.


Q A

Why is it a priority for your business/organization?

BLESSING OTHERS AND SEEING THE APPRECIATION ON EACH PERSON’S FACE IS WORTH MORE TO ME THAN ANY DOLLAR AMOUNT!

Giving back and blessing others is what my reason is for owning a business.

Q A

In what ways does your company/organization give back?

My company gives back in a variety of different ways. This year, Greeley was able to provide the non-profit, Wood-N-Hearts, with a new 2021 Starcraft camper valued at $27,503 to be given away to a lucky winner. We often sponsor events in Alexandria, Glenwood and Morris and the surrounding areas as well as promote giveaways and Facebook contests. On occasion we’ve been able to provide discounted or free services and equipment for those in need. And I am always willing to get on the phone with someone to talk them through a problem.

Q A

How do you encourage your employees to give back/volunteer?

JUSTIN GREELEY

Greeley Plumbing, Heating & A/C

Q

Is there one particular cause or nonprofit organization you will always donate to and why?

A

Personally, I donate a lot to the church, or just general people in need. Blessing others and seeing the appreciation on each person’s face is worth more to me than any dollar amount!

I encourage my employees to give back to the communities through leading by example. My employees are always willing to make sure the customer receives excellent service no matter the circumstance, especially when they know I’m not charging the customer.

IMPACT 2021 | PAGE 41


THRIVENT FINANCIAL

Q A

Why is giving back to the community important?

LARGE AND SMALL BUSINESSES PAGE 42 | IMPACT 2021

We believe giving back creates fellowship in our community and provides an opportunity for people to work together toward a common goal or cause. One of our favorite quotes is: “Be better to your neighbors and you’ll have better neighbors.” Oftentimes, creating goodwill causes a ripple effect.

Q A

Why is it a priority for your business/organization?

Thrivent is a Fortune 500 diversified financial services organization that helps people achieve financial clarity, enabling lives full of meaning and gratitude. As a membership organization driven by a higher purpose at its core, Thrivent offers its more than 2 million clients advice, investments, insurance, banking and generosity solutions and programs to help them make the most of all they’ve been given.


We believe giving back creates relationships among people that can be built upon. In today’s hectic society, it can be easy to become isolated. Because of this, it’s important to get to know our neighbors. Everyone has a story. The more we listen to each other’s stories and learn from them, we believe the better our communities will be.

Q

In what ways does your company/ organization give back?

A

Thrivent is truly a unique diversified financial services organization. As a membership organization, Thrivent provides clients with

financial guidance and products and inspires them to carry out social good by joining with others to participate in acts of generosity to make an impact in their local communities. Additionally, Thrivent equips clients to express their generosity while also helping them make a significant impact through its matching gifts and grassroots activation network. Examples include volunteer resources and events, opportunities to provide financial support to the causes and organizations they care about through Thrivent Choice Dollars® and participation in timely disaster and community response campaigns.

Thrivent

continued on Page 46

THRIVENT FINANCIAL THRIVENT IS A FORTUNE 500 COMPANY THAT STARTED IN 1902. THE ALEXANDRIA OFFICE HAS FOUR FINANCIAL OFFICERS PLUS TWO TEAMS WITH ONE MUTUAL PURPOSE IN MIND – HELPING PEOPLE ACHIEVE FINANCIAL CLARITY IN ORDER TO MAKE THE MOST OF ALL THEY’VE BEEN GIVEN.

IMPACT 2021 | PAGE 43


LARGE AND SMALL BUSINESSES

ELDEN’S FRESH FOODS OWNERS: ELLIOT CHRISTENSEN, DENNIS CHRISTENSEN, JR CHRISTENSEN

Q A

Why is giving back to the community important?

It is important to us as an independent supermarket. We are proud to have a personal stake in the community we serve. We are very aware of our responsibilities to our community, our customers and our associates and pledge to be good stewards of your trust.

ELDEN’S FRESH FOODS ELDEN’S HAS BEEN IN BUSINESS SINCE 1982 AND IN ITS CURRENT LOCATION SINCE 1997. THERE WAS A FULL STORE REMODEL IN 2012. PAGE 44 | IMPACT 2021


Q A

Why is it a priority for your business/organization?

We feel the better our community impact is, it helps everyone for a better quality of life.

Q A

In what ways does your company give back?

Our biggest impact for our community is our support to local organizations, donating groceries to the food shelf, cash donations and promotions.

Q A

How do you encourage your employees to give back/volunteer?

By our efforts in our community to set examples for them, helping with products and projects in the community.

Q

Is there one particular cause or nonprofit organization you will always donate to and why?

2019 2020

201

Arnquist 201

Sheriff Troy Wolbersen talks with Elliott, Dennis and JR Christensen of Elden’s Fresh Foods. Elden’s sponsored new protective gear for the sheriff’s office. Echo Press file photo

A

It is hard to say. We support hundreds of requests throughout the year. Our schools take part in our annual fall event “Receipt Tapes for Education.” This program has generated over $290,000, which goes to local schools to buy supplies, equipment and more.

WE ARE VERY AWARE OF OUR RESPONSIBILITIES TO OUR COMMUNITY, OUR CUSTOMERS AND OUR ASSOCIATES AND PLEDGE TO BE GOOD STEWARDS OF YOUR TRUST. ELLIOT CHRISTENSEN Elden’s Fresh Foods

320-763-8050 805 st Ave, Ale andria, MN

www.ArnquistCarpetsPlus.net IMPACT 2021 | PAGE 45


Integrity Title from Page 36

Q A

In what ways does your company/organization give back?

We feel that giving back does not have to be seen or heard. We try to help with charitable contributions, event sponsorships, etc. We try to give of our time, always. But it is the small things that mean the most to people, the baseball team that we help buy lunches for or provide the money to go to tournaments. The young lady that needs money to help purchase the supplies that her scholarship does not cover, the volunteering of our time for organizations that help all walks of life.

INTEGRITY TITLE JILL WAGNER, PRESIDENT JIM WAGNER, VICE PRESIDENT

Q A

INTEGRITY TITLE WAS FOUNDED IN 1999 BY JIM AND JILL WAGNER. THE COMPANY PROVIDES PROFESSIONAL REAL ESTATE TITLE SERVICE TO BUYERS AND SELLERS OF RESIDENTIAL AND COMMERCIAL PROPERTY IN THE GREATER DOUGLAS COUNTY AREA. THEIR TEAM CONSISTS OF EXPERIENCED EMPLOYEES WHOSE BACKGROUNDS CONSIST OF MORE THAN 75 YEARS COMBINED EXPERIENCE.

Q A

driven to listen to all needs and desires of this community and as Christians isn’t that our calling? We want to allow all to benefit from the success that comes from hard work and determination. Loving people is our mission. In all ways.

How do you encourage your employees to give back/volunteer?

We try to lead by example. To give when and where we can, with our time, etc. By doing that we hope that our employees see the impact it makes on people in our community. We are terribly lucky to have the team we do with their giving hearts that allow us to give of our time and energy collectively. Is there one particular cause or nonprofit organization you will always donate to and why?

Since Jim and I have become grandparents, we feel driven to make the world a better place for our grandson and other kiddos. We feel

VOLUNTEERING FUN FACTS

One out of four Americans volunteer, two out of three American help their neighbor. Individuals between the ages of 35 and 54 are most likely to volunteer their time. Volunteers are worth on average $24.14 an hour.

Thrivent from Page 43 TRINITY ADVISOR GROUP SAGE CREEK FINANCIAL CONSULTANTS THRIVENT FINANCIAL THE TRINITY ADVISOR GROUP INCLUDES TED HAAR AND PAUL AMUNDSON. HAAR HAS BEEN WITH THE COMPANY SINCE 1983 AND AMUNDSON HAS BEEN WITH THRIVENT FOR THE PAST 19 YEARS. THE SAGE CREEK FINANCIAL CONSULTANTS IS THE PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN JOHN SEVERSON AND TIM URNESS. SEVERSON JOINED THRIVENT IN 2013 WHILE URNESS JOINED IN 2012. PAGE 46 | IMPACT 2021

Another way Thrivent equips clients to express their generosity is through Thrivent Action Teams. The program provides seed money allowing clients to gather a team of volunteers to make an impact together in their community through fundraisers, educational events or service activities.

Q

How do you encourage your employees to give back/volunteer?

A

Our office makes it a priority to give back to the community. We have a variety of ways for staff members to volunteer their time and talents throughout the year including Habitat Build days, an annual Relay for Life ice cream fundraiser and other Action Teams events. We also help organize member fundraisers with ideas via our Action Teams program. We are honored to be involved in a variety of service opportunities throughout our community.


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DOUGLAS COUNTY Douglas County boasts more than 350 lakes, 110 miles of trails and more than 20 local parks, including those below. Volunteers help maintain these parks in many instances.

Chippewa Park 34 acres Lake Brophy County Park 142 acres

Kensington Runestone Park Lake Brophy 380 acres Wayside 7.3 acres Spruce Hill Park 87 acres

Curtis A. Felt Park 6 acres

L’Homme Dieu Beach 3.8 acres

Source: Explore Alexandria, Minnesota and Destinations

Tara Bitzan

Execu�ve Director

Jess Ptacek

Program & Events Coordinator

Ka�e DeGier

Visitor & Member Rela�ons Specialist

Lauren Johnson Marke�ng & Communica�ons Coordinator

Chamber members IMPACT the community. Join �r network today!

Promoting the Alexandria Lakes Area as the ultimate destination to live, work, play and prosper. (320) 763-3161 | www.alexandriamn.org | info@alexandriamn.org 206 Broadway St., Alexandria, MN 56308

PAGE 48 | IMPACT 2021


DOUGLAS COUNTY ORGANIZATIONS

These are just a few of the organizations in and around Douglas County. This list is not all inclusive. (Area code is 320, unless otherwise noted) Alexandria Area Community Foundation – 257-9736 Alexandria Jaycees – 834-3030 Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce – 763-3161 Productive Alternatives, Inc. – 762-2015 Alexandria Rotary Club – 763-0208 Alexandria Senior Center – 762-2087 Alexandria Volunteer Fire Department – 763-6488 Alomere Health Auxiliary – 762-6024 American Cancer Society – 651-255-8126 American Red Cross, Central MN Chapter – 763-3800 Bethany on the Lake – 762-1567 Central Minnesota Elder Network – 763-9084 Community Education/Alexandria Public Schools – 762-3310 Dollars for Scholars – 815-2220 Douglas Area Trails Association – 834-2033 Douglas County 4-H – 762-3890 Douglas County Committee on Aging – 762-3047 Douglas County Developmental Achievement Center – 762-1771 Douglas County Historical Society – 762-0382 Douglas County Library Friends & Foundation – www.dclfriends.org Douglas County Outreach Food Shelf – 762-8976 Douglas County Senior Center – 762-3047 Douglas County Sheriff’s Posse – 762-8151

Douglas County Veterans Service Office – 762-3883 Habitat for Humanity – 762-4255 Hospice of Douglas County – 763-6018 Kiwanis Club/Golden K – 491-5716 Kiwanis Club/Noon – 808-3114 Klothes Kloset – 763-9888 Knights of Columbus – 762-5572 Knute Nelson “Friends of Knute” Volunteers – 763-1162 Lakes Area Humane Society – 759-2260 Let’s Go Fishing – 760-9737 Lions Club/Evening – 763-3538 Runestone Museum – 763-3160 Salvation Army – 241-1273 Senior Companion Program – 762-3047 Sertoma Club – 762-0236 Someplace Safe – 762-1995 Someplace Safe/ Thrift Store – 763-4677 Special Olympics Area 4 – 763-270-7195 United Way of Douglas and Pope Counties – 834-7800 Vikingland Community Support Program – 763-6261

VOLUNTEERING FUN FACTS Volunteers are almost twice as likely to donate to a charity than those that don’t volunteer. Volunteerism in the U.S. has a value of over $184 billion dollars. Volunteerism improves health by strengthening the body, improving mood and lessening stress in participants. Source: volunteerhub.com

IMPACT 2021 | PAGE 49


LOCAL SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS impact the community by giving back

T

he Alexandria lakes area is home to many different service organizations and nonprofit organizations whose mission it is to give back and help those in need. Highlighted below are four service organizations that have made a big impact on this community.

Kathryn LeBrasseur and Craig McMillan are both recipients of the Sertoma Service to Mankind award. Echo Press file photo

KIWANIS Kiwanis is a worldwide organization that is dedicated to serving the children of the world. Through service projects and fundraisers, Kiwanis members help to improve their communities, make lifelong friendships and help children reach their full potential. Kiwanis offers programs for students, including

Terrific Kids, Bring Up Grades and Key Leader. Terrific Kids and Bring Up Grades, both for students ages 6-12, teach children to plan, set goals, work with others and celebrate success. Key Leader is a weekend experiential leadership retreat for teens. The Alexandria Noon Kiwanis meet at the Broadway Ballroom every Tuesday of the month, except for

the third Tuesday. They meet from noon to 1 p.m. For more information, visit alexandriamnkiwanis.club. The Golden K Kiwanis meet every Thursday morning from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the Alexandria Senior Center. For more information, visit alexgoldenk.com. ALEXANDRIA LIONS CLUB Founded in 1917, Lions Clubs are best known for fighting blindness, but they also volunteer for many different kinds of community projects, including caring for the environment, feeding the hungry and aiding seniors and the disabled. The Alexandria Lions Club meets the second and fourth Monday of the month at 6 p.m. at Broadway Ballroom in Alexandria. For more information, visit e-clubhouse.org/sites/ alexandriamn/index.php. ALEXANDRIA ROTARY CLUB Rotary is an opportunity to build lifelong friendships and experience the personal fulfillment of providing volunteer service to others. An organization of business and professional leaders, Rotary provides humanitarian service, encourages high ethical standards in all vocations, and builds good will and peace in the world. The Alexandria Rotary Club was organized with a membership of 17 on Feb. 18, 1938. The first Rotary luncheon meeting took place at the Alexandria Hotel on Feb. 24, 1938.

Members of Kiwanis host a pancake breakfast at the Alexandria Senior Center. Echo Press file photo PAGE 50 | IMPACT 2021

Service continued on Page 52


CDH Heart Walk

y Douglas Conuanttion Sheriff’s Do

Working the Fair

gers

Bell Rin y m r A n io t a v Sal

IMPACT 2021 | PAGE 51


Doctors Deborah Ristvedt and Lowell Gess share smiles of surprise and joy after Ristvedt was awarded the Melvin Jones Fellowship award at an Alexandria Lions Club dinner. Echo Press file photo

Service from Page 50 The club currently has nearly 90 members representing the full range of businesses and industries in the lakes area. From young professionals to executives to retirees, members of the Alexandria club have one thing in common – a passionate desire to be involved and make a difference in our community.

The Alexandria Rotary Club meets Thursdays at noon at the Broadway Ballroom. For more information, visit alexmnrotary.org. SERTOMA Sertoma is one of the oldest service clubs in the United States. It operates

Evan Clemensen of Ashby enjoys an ear of corn at the annual Rotary Corn and Pork Chop Jubilee. Echo Press file photo PAGE 52 | IMPACT 2021

nationwide, with deep roots in the communities they serve at the local level. Members seek to transform lives and, in doing so, transform themselves. Sertomans are men and women who understand that they can accomplish more together than they can alone. They know they can make a difference with their national mission of hearing health and in the other important areas of service their clubs provide.

For the past century and the next, Sertoma’s purpose has been and will be to continue to meet the needs of communities through service. The Alexandria Sertoma Club meets every Wednesday at noon at the Broadway Ballroom. For more information, visit sertoma. org.

At the 2020 Rotary Corn and Pork feed, volunteers served drive-through customers at the fire station in Alexandria. Money from the annual fundraiser is used to support a variety of community service projects. Echo Press file photo


EDUCATION in Douglas County Douglas County is home to three public school districts and a number of private education options, serving more than 4,800 students. Each school provides a strong education framework for students as well as providing additional courses and learning possibilities. The Alexandria Technical and Community College is ranked 8th best Community College in the nation and #1 in Minnesota. The college’s connections to business and industry ensures currency and trade standards in its technical degrees, delivering a highly skilled workforce. ATCC is a member of the Minnesota State system and serves more than 3,800 students.

Public school districts

ALEXANDRIA

Student enrollment – 3,774 Student/teacher ratio – 16 to 1 Graduation rate – 91%

BRANDON-EVANSVILLE Student enrollment – 417 Student/teacher ratio – 14 to 1 Graduation rate – 100%

OSAKIS

Student enrollment – 755 Student/teacher ratio – 16 to 1 Graduation rate – 97%

Source: Alexandria Area Economic Development Commission

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IMPACT 2021 | PAGE 53


This rendering shows what the outside of the new Car Care Program will look like. The soon-to-be remodeled building is located at 4353 County Road 82 SE in Alexandria. Contributed photo

CAR CARE PROGRAM

T

4353 COUNTY ROAD 82 SE  ALEXANDRIA, MN  320-460-7911  www.carcareprogram.org

If a family or individual already owns a vehicle but can’t afford the repairs, the Car Care Program can repair the vehicle using primarily volunteers and donated services. The backbone of the organization is the volunteers. Weekly, the program has created a culture of service in its shop with its regular “spark plug” volunteers who help the vehicles. On top of all the service volunteers, the Car Care Program is always looking for help with mechanics, test drivers, car detailers, office workers and program promotional advocates. The program currently serves individuals and families in the Douglas and Pope county area. A new facility is in the works and is located at 4353 County Road 82 SE. This new space will allow the program to have everything it needs all in one location – office space, community room, shop and parking space. Gary Mattson, left, and Hank Janz removed a wheel from the 1,000th vehicle donated to the Car Care Since its inception in 2013, the Car Program. The two volunteer their time to fix vehicles for the Car Care Program every week. Care Program has gifted more than Echo Press file photo

he Car Care Program is a nonprofit organization helping people remove transportation barriers.

PAGE 54 | IMPACT 2021

The program accepts donated cars, repairs them and then gives them to families and individuals in need who find themselves faced with a transportation barrier.

383 vehicles and repaired nearly 700 vehicles. WHY THEY DO WHAT THEY DO According to the Car Care Program website, people not only want to be independent, but they also want to be a valuable contributor for their family and community. But in order to do that, some people need an opportunity to make changes to their situation so they can ultimately rewrite their own story. The problem of not having a safe and reliable vehicle limits peoples’ opportunities to provide for the basic needs of their family, which makes them feel frustrated and perhaps, a little hopeless. Taking care of yourself and your family shouldn’t be limited due to lack of transportation. The entire team at the Car Care Program understands that rewriting a person’s story takes more than just four tires and a set of keys.

Car continued on Page 56


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Car from Page 54 It is about making small, but effective decisions that can positively drive someone’s life forward, one mile at a time. Recipients of a Car Care Program vehicle get more than just a vehicle. They learn from a team of experts who are ready to show them what they need to know about keeping their vehicle running. They will learn

the basics of how to take care of their vehicle through car care clinics. In addition, they will receive training and guidance on how to create a budget and take care of necessary paperwork. For more information, visit carcareprogram.org or call 320-4607911.

Darla Jones, left, and Sherry Ellis, volunteers, work at an information booth for the Car Care Program. Contributed photo

VOLUNTEERING FUN FACTS Volunteers under the age of 24 account for 22.6% of all volunteers. Volunteers, on average, spend 50 hours per year donating their time. Over 71% of volunteers work with only one organization each year. There are more than 1.8 million active nonprofits in the United States. Source: volunteerhub.com Larry Pearson, left, and Lawrence Keenan are two volunteers for the Car Care Program. The two work in the car care bay, which is sponsored by American Solutions for Business and Koeps Korner. Contributed photo www.gctel.com

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SEVEN WONDERS

of Alexandria

7

3

6

2

5 4

1

Glacial Ridge Scenic Highway. This officially designated Minnesota State Byway includes more than 220 miles of beautiful rural routes through rolling hills, lakes, woods, prairies and farmlands. Find it in Douglas County along Highways 27 and 29.

Lake Carlos State Park / Inspiration Peak. They’re both fantastic natural attractions for the area. The park is located 10 miles north of Alexandria and Inspiration Peak is 25 miles northwest. Inspiration Peak, which is managed by Lake Carlos State Park, is the highest peak within the glacial-formed Leaf Hill Moraines. Historic Downtown. Downtown Alexandria is teeming with lush history and some of the best locally-owned shops and restaurants around.

Big Ole. It’s not every day you’ll see a giant 28-foot-tall Viking standing guard over a city’s downtown! Big Ole was built in 1965 for the New York’s World Fair by a fiberglass sculptor.

Here’s seven must-see sights in the Alexandria area, according to Explore Alexandria, Minnesota. Volunteers tend to many of these sights

The Kensington Runestone. Is it an authentic historical artifact carved by explorers from Norway way before Columbus sailed the ocean blue, or is it an elaborate hoax? You decide. The famous rock is on display at the Runestone Museum on North Broadway. Central Lakes Trail. Since the trail was built on an old rail line, it provides its users with a flat and smooth experience as it routes through dozens of rolling hills, lakes, woods and prairies, spanning a total of 55 miles from Fergus Falls to Osakis.

Chain of Lakes. Lakes link to one another by channels without having to portage your watercraft (accessibility varies by lake, season and boat size). Lakes include Carlos, Darling, Le Homme Dieu, Geneva, Victoria, Cowdry, Jessie, North Union, Taylor, Stony and Brophy.

IMPACT 2021 | PAGE 57


The Neighborhood National Bank Grocery Grab event supports the Douglas County Outreach Food Shelf. The 2021 event garnered $6,994.50 worth of groceries for the food shelf. Echo Press file photo

Participants in the Neighborhood National Bank Grocery Grab stand outside Elden’s Fresh Foods with a van full of groceries to be delivered to the Douglas County Outreach Food Shelf. Echo Press file photo

DOUGLAS COUNTY OUTREACH FOOD SHELF

T

1205 LAKE STREET  ALEXANDRIA, MN  320-762-8411  www.outreachfoodshelf.org

he Douglas County Outreach Food Shelf is a 501(c)3, nonprofit organization.

It was established in July 1982 when Reverend Jeff Bullock of the Emmanuel Episcopal Church recognized the need for a food shelf in the Alexandria lakes area.

With help from Alexandria residents Wally and Virginia Bloom, the message about the need for a food shelf was brought to not only area churches, but the whole community. Over time, the organization outgrew the church it was started in and a building was built at the current location – 1205 Lake Street in Alexandria. Just four years later, the building was already in

Lois Willett, a volunteer for the Douglas County Outreach Food Shelf, stocks shelves in the store. Echo Press file photo PAGE 58 | IMPACT 2021

need of an addition. The new addition doubled the size of the original building. As the needs in the area continued to grow, so did the building. In 2001, another addition was added, which resulted in the current, 96-foot by 24-foot building. But in 2007, more storage was needed once again and a 24-foot by 36-foot garage was added on-site. Labor for the project was provided by students at the Alexandria Technical and Community College. And then for two years, the Food Shelf raised funds and secured donations from the community to once again add to its footprint. The existing garage was attached to the main building, which resulted in an extra 1,100 square-feet of additional storage. The expansion, according to the food shelf’s website, provides safer moving of stored food for distribution. With the additional storage space, donations can be accepted, stored, purchased and distributed in larger quantities. Each day, volunteers at the Douglas County Outreach Food Shelf stock shelves, make appointments for clients, shop with clients, pick up and order food. Most volunteers pick a day of the week and work that particular day each week. There are currently more than 50 active volunteers at the food shelf. The food shelf partners with area businesses, which donate excess inventory of groceries and paper products. Several restaurants package excess items and donate to the food shelf instead of throwing items away at the end of the day. Several other businesses have incorporated ideas to collect food shelf donations, including stuff a truck, grocery grab or food drives.


Olson from Page 12

Q

Why do you volunteer for the Douglas County Outreach Food Shelf? What drew you to that organization?

A

When I was working, we’d have food shelf months twice a year to collect food or money. I really didn’t know much about it, but I always knew there were and are food insecure people in our county. So once I checked into it, I knew it would be a fun place to be. And it IS a very fun place to give of my time. It’s great to give people free food and hear the responses and the gratitude.

Q A

What impact has volunteering made on you?

Volunteering at the food shelf has given me a whole new group of friends that I now consider family. I look forward to Monday mornings to catch up with everyone’s happenings from the past week. And, we laugh A LOT.

Q A

What advice would you have for someone who is thinking about becoming a volunteer?

Summon up the courage to check into wherever you’d like to give your time to and then do it. The big reward is knowing someone will benefit. Read a book to a child, drive a senior to an appointment or give away food. There is so much need. It’s a gift you give to yourself.

DOUGLAS COUNTY TOP INDUSTRIES AND EMPLOYMENT Education and health – 4,807 Trade, transportation and utilities – 4,080 Manufacturing – 3,565 Hospitality – 2,107 Construction – 888 Professional services – 754 Financial services – 754 Public administration – 693 Information – 181 Natural resources – 98 Source: Alexandria Area Economic Development Commission

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Volunteers raise the walls for a Habitat for Humanity house in Brandon. It was partly supported by the Habitat 500, a group of bicyclists who raise money for Habitat and pause to help build. Echo Press file photo

HABITAT FOR HUMANITY OF DOUGLAS COUNTY 1211 N. NOKOMIS ST. NE ALEXANDRIA, MN 320-762-4255 hfhdouglascounty.org

H

abitat for Humanity of Douglas County has been an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International since 1997.

It has served 118 local families by building or renovating 79 houses and completing 39 Aging in Place projects. Habitat has built or repaired homes in nine Douglas County communities, serving 341 individuals.

In Douglas County, 1 in 4 households spend more than they can afford on housing, according to information from Sara Gronholz, community engagement coordinator for Habitat for Humanity of Douglas County. “This forces them to make impossible choices between safe homes, nutritious food on the table, health care, or reliable transportation,” she said. At Habitat for Humanity, the belief is that everyone deserves to build the foundation for a stable, healthy future for themselves and their families – no matter

who they are, where they live or how much money they earn. “When the cost of a home is your family’s future, the cost is too high. And when the cost of a home is any family’s future, that’s something none of us can afford,” said Gronholz. “That’s why Habitat for Humanity is working to ensure that no family has to pay more than half of their paycheck to cover the cost of home.” Stable, affordable homeownership creates the conditions that free families from instability, stress, and

OUR HOME IS OUR FOREVER HOME. I DON’T HAVE TO WORRY IF I WILL BE ABLE TO AFFORD A RENT PAYMENT. OWNING THIS HOME HAS ENDED A LOT OF THE STRESS WE WERE FACING, LETTING US RELAX AND ENJOY ONE ANOTHER. Habitat for Humanity homeowner Habitat for Humanity construction manager Randy Hanson shows Brenton employees the blueprints for a home that they helped build. Echo Press file photo PAGE 60 | IMPACT 2021


Brenton employees Sam Holen, left, and Mike Haburn nail together a section of wall framing for a Habitat for Humanity home, while Habitat crew leader Eric Stenborg, center, watches. Echo Press file photo fear while encouraging self-reliance in nearly every aspect of their lives, including improving health and academic outcomes, building personal and economic resiliency, increasing confidence, and stabilizing the family. Wilder Research completed a study of Habitat homeowners to understand the impact of its work which quantifies these outcomes. Locally, Habitat homeowners have shared these sentiments: “Our home is our forever home. I don’t have to worry if I will be able to afford a rent payment. Owning this home has ended a lot of the stress we were facing, letting us relax and enjoy one another.” “My kids have both improved in schooling, behavior, and even get along better because we have a good routine and our own space.” “This is my forever home. A place where I can teach my kids how to be successful, and give them the stability they need for the rest of their lives.” “Having my own home means I get to make my own choices and I’m responsible for those choices. My kids love the fact that we have our own home. Just knowing they have a safe, permanent, love, enduring, and consistent place to call home makes them feel at peace.” “Now that I know my monthly payments, and they are consistent, I can budget better and save money. I’ve even been able to pay off a student loan early!” Habitat’s Aging in Place program, which began in 2017, provides affordable repairs for seniors. The work focuses on improving

the safety and accessibility in homes. Aging in Place homeowner surveys consistently demonstrate that homeowners feel more safe in their home, more connected to services that can help them stay in their home longer and experience improved independence due to the work. Last fiscal year – July 2020 through June 2021 – volunteers shared 9,929 hours helping build four new affordable homes and completing 15 Aging in Place projects, according to Gronholz. She added that volunteers frequently share that not only did they enjoy the time on the build site but they leave knowing they are making a positive impact on someone’s life. The Habitat for Humanity ReStore accepts donations and sells a constantly changing inventory of gently used building materials, furniture and appliances to the public while diverting reusable materials from area landfills. Profits support the construction of affordable housing in Douglas County. When people support the local ReStore by shopping, donating or volunteering, they are supporting their local community, said Gronholz. “Seeking to put God’s love into action, Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities and hope,” she said. “Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves.” To learn more, visit hfhdouglascounty.org.

Lisa Peterson of Kensington Bank worked to add siding to a Habitat for Humanity of Douglas County home, located at 1900 Timber Lane Northeast in Alexandria. Echo Press file photo

NOW THAT I KNOW MY MONTHLY PAYMENTS, AND THEY ARE CONSISTENT, I CAN BUDGET BETTER AND SAVE MONEY. I’VE EVEN BEEN ABLE TO PAY OFF A STUDENT LOAN EARLY! Habitat for Humanity homeowner

Volunteers spent time installing siding, insulation and poly at a Habitat for Humanity of Douglas County home. Echo Press file photo. IMPACT 2021 | PAGE 61


Zabel from Page 6

Q A

Why do you volunteer for Habitat for Humanity? What drew you to that organization?

The mission is so strong and so needed. Affordable housing is a big issue locally and on a national scale. The research shows so many positive outcomes when a family has a safe place to call home. Home and hope has a transformational effect on the kids especially and that is my reason why. Lori Anderson and her team drew me to the organization. They are top notch, values aligned and dedicated to bringing people together to build homes, communities and hope.

Q A

What impact has volunteering made on you?

Working in healthcare, I have gotten the opportunity to learn a whole new industry in housing and the great need for it. I have also formed meaningful relationships with the team, our homeowners and other local leaders.

Q A

What advice would you have for someone who is thinking about becoming a volunteer?

Do it! Find your passion, get out there and start having conversations. We all have something to offer – I guarantee that you will be amazed at what you gain in the process.

Mona Strege and Randy Hansen pick up foam board insulation that was used to keep the ground from freezing on the foundation of a Habitat for Humanity home that was built on Woodland Park Drive in Alexandria. Echo Press file photo

WE ALL HAVE SOMETHING TO OFFER – I GUARANTEE THAT YOU WILL BE AMAZED AT WHAT YOU GAIN IN THE PROCESS. BROOKE ZABEL

Habitat for Humanity volunteer

610 Fillmore Street | Alexandria MN | 320.762.8149 | alexandria@widseth.com | Widseth.com PAGE 62 | IMPACT 2021


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