This winter, 75 families from Duluth will receive a Welcome Home Kit filled with household essentials through the Bremer Home For Good initiative. Made possible in part by Bremer Bank’s growing partnership with United Way, the Bremer Home For Good collaboration will provide 1,500 Welcome Home Kits to families and individuals who are transitioning from homelessness to secure, permanent housing throughout Bremer’s footprint in Minnesota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. Kits will also be given to families who have been hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic and related economic challenges. According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, more than 565,000 people in the U.S. experience unsheltered homelessness each night. Filled with household essentials including plates, drinking ware, silverware, utensils, paper towels, toilet paper, facial tissue, toothbrushes, and homemade blankets, packed kits will be distributed to more than 65 Bremer locations throughout its Greater Minnesota, western Wisconsin and North Dakota footprint.
Engwall Floral Design and Lilac Hill Greenhouse are joining together to make the holidays brighter at area assisted living communities. The two local businesses are donating 60 poinsettias to several area assisted living communities. The holiday season can be a lonely time for residents, especially this year with Covid 19. Engwall Floral Design and Lilac Hill Greenhouse are happy to bring color and cheer to the following area assisted living communities: Diamond Willow, Ecumen, Primrose and Spirit Valley Assisted Living.
Through the contributions of Lake Country Power's participating members, the Operation Round Up® Electric Trust Board recently approved $53,497 in assistance to local community programs during its quarterly meeting. The cooperative’s Trust Board reviewed and considered 40 grant applications and distributed funds to 38 projects and programs this past quarter. Since the program’s inception in October 2004, more than $2.5 million has been distributed to community-based projects and programs.
The Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota received $2,285 toward its efforts to provide weather-related emergency meals for seniors near Remer, Whipholt, Boy River, Bena, Longville and areas just outside Walker – representing 72% of the people served.
Volunteers in Education (VinE) of Virginia received $1,000 toward its distance tutoring program – a newly created program since the coronavirus pandemic. More than 85 students are currently being tutored via private Zoom accounts.
All funds generated through Operation Round Up® are set aside in a trust fund. A voluntary Trust Board of nine co-op members administers the trust. Of the funds collected through the program, 100 percent is distributed to charitable organizations through an application and selection process. The Trust Board uses special guidelines and policies when choosing recipients.
Most Recent Recipients include: Aitkin County Habitat for Humanity, Trinity Lutheran Quilters, St. Louis County Volunteer Rescue Squad, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church Quilters, Cloquet Educational Foundation, Northern Lakes Amateur Radio Club, Bethel Lutheran Church Women quilts and masks, Rock Ridge Public Schools – Roosevelt Elementary, Hope Lutheran Church food boxes, Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, Barnum Community Church, Friends of the Lake Vermilion Trail, Precious Paws Humane Society of Chisholm, Hill City First Responders, Northland Area Family Service Center, Angel Fund, Floodwood Services & Training, Inc., Second Harvest North Central Food Bank, Faith in Action for Cass County, Salvation Army of Hibbing, Queen of Peace Quilters, Project Care Free Clinic, Boys and Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids-Greenway, Nashwauk Township, Northeast Range School Iron Mosquitos Robotics Team, Zion Lutheran Church’s Open Closet, Volunteers in Education, City of Tower – Howard Wagoner Trails Club, Wee Care Sewers, city of Tower Area Ambulance Service, Longville Lions community garden, Ellsburg Volunteer Fire Department Inc., Colvin Volunteer Fire Department, Story Portage, Wabana Chain of Lakes Association, True Friends, Ely’s Historic State Theater and Range Regional Animal Rescue.
The Longville Lions Club received $2,000 toward the new Longville area community garden project that will help address food insecurity for area communities. Paul Harwig is secretary of the Longville Lions and said every donation helps toward their goal of completing the plots and overall project.
Operation Round Up® is a charitable program unique to electric co-ops, which is designed to provide financial assistance to worthwhile activities and community projects by “rounding up” members’ electric bills to the nearest dollar. The average donation of each participating Lake Country Power member is less than $6 annually. Among Lake Country Power’s 43,000 members, nearly 64 percent of all active electric accounts participate in the program through voluntary contributions. Interested members can opt into the Operation Round Up® program by calling the cooperative at 800-421-9959 or using an online form at lakecountrypower.coop.
Megan Sailstad, a kinesiology and health major from Duluth, was awarded the Pamela J. and Scott S. White Scholarship for Student Leaders in Human Sciences from the Iowa State University College of Human Sciences and its academic units. Sailstad was recognized for exceptional academic performance. The College of Human Sciences is pleased to support Sailstad's academic journey and pursuit of innovation in their field.
The following earned their master's degree from Minnesota State University Moorhead: Sadie Connolly of Duluth in business administration with healthcare and Danielle Lucia of Duluth in special education.
Timothy Adams of Saginaw was among 1,382 graduates who received degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln during a virtual graduation celebration Dec. 19. Adams earned his master's degree in business administration.
The University of Kansas, in Lawrence, Kansas, announced the following earned their master's degree: Lora Lynn Pershern, of Gilbert, in education; Evan D. Reitter, of Grand Rapids, in public health.
Zakary Snell, of Spooner, earned a master's degree in coaching, sport, rec fit administration from Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas.
- The College of St. Scholastica Associate Professor Leah Prussia DSW, LICSW was selected to join the Social Work Health Futures Fellows by the Portland State University of Social Work. The group includes 26 social work experts from around the U.S. and Canada who will spend the next 18 months learning how to apply a futures lens to some of the most challenging problems of society. The project is a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which funds programs that focus on deepening the understanding of America’s greatest health challenges and identifies innovative approaches to bring about meaningful change. Prussia’s focused area of research will be on somatic literacy and the intersection of personal and planetary wellness. She understands that an element of human trauma comes from a disconnect from the natural world. This initiative is comprised of a diverse group of social work educators, researchers, practitioners and students who competed in a national request for proposals. For more information, go to socialworkhealthfutureslab.org.
H & R Block Foundation announced in December that Doug Gettle, a long-time employee of H & R Block in Hibbing is the recipient of the 2020 Make Every Block Better Volunteer Award. H&R Block encourages their associates to volunteer in their communities and has a goal of one million volunteer hours by 2025. The program recognizes H&R Block associates who make their blocks better in the communities where they live, work, and serve. Gettle has been active with North St. Louis County Habitat for Humanity since it was organized in 1995 and was pleased to designate this grant from H&R Block Foundation of $2500 to NSLC Habitat For Humanity. When Doug started volunteering for Habitat for Humanity in 1995, they had served 0 families. They are anticipating the selection of their 100th family this year.
- Master Sgt. Mark Ralidak retires from the 148th Fighter Wing, Minnesota Air National Guard. Ralidak, a 1981 graduate of Toivola-Meadowlands High School joined the Air Force in 1982 as a Tactical Aircraft Maintenance specialist, also called a crew chief. He attended Basic Training at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas followed by Technical Training at Shepard Air Force Base, Texas. Ralidak was stationed at the 363rd Aircraft Generation Squadron at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina where he worked on the RF-4C, the 5071st Air Base Squadron at King Salmon Air Force Station, Alaska where he worked on the F-15A/B and the 318th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at McChord Air Force Base, Washington where we worked on the F-15A/B. In 1986, Ralidak transferred from the Air Force to the 148th Fighter Wing, Minnesota Air National Guard where he worked on the F-4D, F-16A/B, F-16C, and F-16CJ. Ralidak’s deployments include Howard Air Force Base, Panama; Puerto Rico and Curacao Naval Air Station in support of Operation Coronet Nighthawk; Joint Base Balad, Iraq in 2005, 2007 and 2009 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Kandahar Air Base, Afghanistan in 2012 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom; Osan Air Base, South Korea in 2016 in support of the Pacific Air Command and Ahmad al-Jaber Air Base, Kuwait in 2018 in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.
Chief Master Sgt. Dwayne Wuestneck retires from the 148th Fighter Wing, Minnesota Air National Guard with 37-years of service. Wuestneck enlisted as an Aircraft Armament Systems technician at the 148th Tactical Reconnaissance Group, Minnesota Air National Guard in 1983. He attended Basic Military Training at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas followed by technical training at Lowry Air Force Base, Colorado in 1984. Wuestneck served in multiple roles in Aircraft Armament from 1984 to 2012 and was assigned as the Wing Weapons Manager from 2013 to 2015. Wuestneck served as the 148th Maintenance Squadron Component Maintenance Flight Chief from 2015 to 2020. Wuestneck’s deployments include Ramstein Air Base, Germany in 1986 in support of Creek Klaxon; Key West Naval Air Station in 1996 in support of Brothers to the Rescue; Howard Air Force Base, Panama in 1991 and 1992 and Curacao Naval Air Station in 2000 and 2001 in support of Operation CORONET NIGHTHAWK; Joint Base Balad, Iraq in 2005, 2007 and 2009 in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM; Kandahar Air Base, Afghanistan in 2012 in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOME and Ahmad al-Jaber Air Base, Kuwait in 2018 in support of Operation INHERENT RESOLVE.