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Paynesville Press - October 25, 2006

Lions Club honors
seniors for volunteerism

By Michael Jacobson

Seniors Tanis Beireis and Peder Thompson were recently given Lions Service Awards for their community service and volunteer efforts.

Each year, the Paynesville Lions Club recognizes seniors at Paynesville Area High School for their volunteer work, both at school and in the community. Beireis and Thompson were selected for the month of October.

"I felt honored to have been selected for the Lions Service Award," said Thompson, the son of Jay and Laura Thompson.

Beireis, the daughter of Jo Marshall and Larry Strate, said she was surprised to receive the award. "I...didn't expect anyone to nominate me for this," she explained. "Service is something I do so much it's a normal part of life. Not something I expected to be recognized for."

Volunteering, they agreed, is important. "I feel that it is important to be a service to others as a way to express my faith and help with needs greater than my own," said Thompson.

"Everyone needs to do their part to help others," added Beireis. "If everyone would only put in a little bit of effort, the whole world would benefit, so I want to make sure I'm doing my part."

Their favorite service work both revolves around church mission trips: for Beireis to New Orleans to help after Hurricane Katrina and for Thompson to the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota.

Beireis is a student aide at the high school and also participates in student government, cross country, gymnastics, and track. She has volunteered at Anna Marie's House, at the Boys and Girls Club in St. Cloud, and through Girl Scouts, where she is working for her Gold Award.

At St. Louis Catholic Church, she has taught religion classes (currently seventh grade), cleaned road ditches, work at breakfasts, taught Vacation Bible School, organized the church garage sale, sung in church choir, and provided childcare. She also belongs to the youth group and has taken three mission trips with her church, two to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota and one to New Orleans.

Thompson is a student aide at both the middle school and elementary school and helps with media needs at school. He also plays in the band and jazz band, sings in the choir and pops choir, participates in speech, one-act play, drama productions, and student government, runs cross country and track, and belongs to the National Honor Society.

He has served meals at the Dream Center in St. Cloud, raked lawns for seniors, and helped with activities at nursing homes.

At Grace United Methodist Church, he has taught Sunday School, participates in youth group, provides special music, and helps to care for the Prayer Garden, as well as taking that mission trip.

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