More than two million Minnesotans serve their communities in positive and significant ways through volunteering. To honor this effort, Governor Arne Carlson has proclaimed April 19 to 25 as Minnesota Volunteer Recognition Week. This year’s theme is Volunteers: Building Stronger Communities.
Dorothy Holifer, Paynesville, was named Volunteer of the Year at the Good Samaritan Care Center, Paynesville.
A member of the Grace United Methodist Church, Mrs. Holifer started volunteering at the Good Samaritan Care Center by playing the piano once a week. “It just took off from there into more steady volunteering,” she said. “I enjoy helping where I can, especially when I know how much they really appreciate it.”
Mrs. Holifer has seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Mrs. Holifer also volunteers her time at the church by working on a funeral committee, communications committee, nomination committee and serving as a sacramental steward. She is a member of the Rebekah Lodge and is a driver for the Meals on Wheels program in Paynesville during the summer.
Joe and Rose Schoenberg
Receiving the Good Samaritan Award are Joe and Rose Schoenberg, Spring Hill. “Someone called and asked if we’d like to pray rosary with the residents at Good Samaritan Care Center and we have done that ever since. We are blessed being a part of their religious life and faith as they aren’t able to get to church every day for mass and rosary as we are.
In their free time, the Schoenbergs enjoy doing lawn work and gardening, fishing, bowling, playing cards. Joe considers woodworking a hobby while Rose enjoys baking, her flowers and quilting.
The Good Samaritan Care Center has people from throughout the community volunteer their time by doing hair care, bowling, crafts, and more. Total time donated by volunteers at the Good Samaritan Care Center during 1997 totaled 3,219 hours.
Koronis Manor and Senior Center
At the Koronis Manor, volunteers help with weekly hair care, bingo, and religious services. Other volunteer services provided include driving x-rays to clinics and doctors, letter reading and writing, crafts, making table favors, sitting with a resident or patient, and making Easter baskets, to name a few
“Volunteering is the vitality of the Paynesville Area Senior Center,” Janell Hoffman, center director, said.
The senior center relies on volunteers for the success of its existence. It was volunteering that developed the facility and it continues to be volunteers that make it thrive.
“The list of people that “do” for the good of the center is a mile long,” Hoffman said. The following would not happen without volunteers: some folks do the dishes while others shine the floor. There are those that plan and organize meetings, committees that see after finance, building and the grounds; ever faithful quilters, eyeglass and card recyclers.
“We’re graced by those who share an entertaining talent. There are those that represent us through the harmonica band and ride in parades. There are also the folks that do the dirty work and tasks that go unsung,” Hoffman added. “We know our volunteers are the blessings for each and everyone as it helps keep the Big Green Roof continuously going,”
In the Paynesville Area School District, there are more than 50 volunteers who come into the schools to help monitor students, work at ball games, sell concessions, help grade papers, do playground or lunchroom duty, Phyllis Putzke, volunteer coordinator, said.
“Everyone is very helpful and willing to do what they can,” Putzke added.
Among the volunteers at the elementary school is Sharon Simmons, Paynesville. This is her third year as a volunteer in the elementary school. “I enjoy being with kids,” she said.
Simmons works wherever needed at the school. She has done lunchroom and playground duty, plus worked in the classrooms.
“When I’m inside the building, I find it fun watching them learn,” Simmons added. “I like working with the kids. They are the best, as they are our future. Many kids are just begging for attention and are proud to show off what they can do on the playground.”
Simmons has three children, Brian, who has graduated, Christina Mackedanz, fourth grade, and Darren Mackedanz, second grade. She enjoys reading and flower gardening. When not volunteering at the school she volunteers to grocery shop for people who can’t get out and do it themselves.
In an era of long work hours, karate and gymnastics lessons, soccer and softball games, one might assume that family togetherness time has gone through the shredder of modern life. Not so. Families are finding time to be together through volunteer involvement.
“I think families enjoy volunteering because a lot of good things happen when they do, said Lori Goudreau, manager of the AAL Family Service educational program.
“The face of Minnesota would be dramatically different without volunteer service,” Bonnie Esposito, director of the Minnesota Office of Citizenship and Volunteers Services asserted recently. From cleaning our highways to deciding public policy, and doing hair care at nursing homes, volunteers make the quality of life in our state among the highest in the nation.”
“Many people are stepping forward to make a real difference in the lives of our youth,” Donna Gillen, director of the Minnesota Alliance With Youth, said. They are involving youth in mentor programs, tutoring at shelters for abused women and their families and providing quality support at child care centers. People of all ages volunteer, they paint homes for senior citizens, distribute food through food shelves, plant community gardens and rake lawns for the elderly.
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