Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc. Foster Grandparent and Caring Companion Programs held their annual recognition luncheon at the Crookston Eagles Club on Wednesday, October 7. Heidi Simmons, Senior Programs Director began the event by welcoming the 77 volunteers and guests to the banquet. Jason Carlson, Tri-Valley’s CEO then thanked all of the volunteers for the difference they are making in the lives of others in our communities.
Following the welcome, the Starfish Award was given to individuals who have been nominated by teachers or others the volunteer works with. This year there were three recipients of this award from the Foster Grandparent Program. The award is based off the story of an old man who walked up a shore littered with thousands of starfish. It goes: A young man was picking the starfish up and flinging them back into the ocean. “Why do you bother?” the old man scoffed. “You’re not saving enough to make a difference. The young man picked up another starfish and sent it spinning back into the water. “Made a difference to that one,” he said.
Recipients of the Starfish Award were Grandma Emojean Anderson who volunteers at Tri-County School in Karlstad and has been a volunteer since 2003, Grandma Bonnie Strand who volunteers at the Win-E-Mac school in Erskine and has been a volunteer since 2009, and Grandma Selma (Sam) Larson who volunteers at Norman County West School in Hendrum and has been a volunteer since 2001. Presenting the awards were Jean Halvorson (Foster Grandparent Coordinator), Jessica Luckow (Senior Programs Coordinator), and Jeanette Larson (Senior Programs Manager).
Prior to the meal, the group was entertained by well-known local author Eric Bergeson from Fertile. He spoke on “How to Live to be One Hundred and Three.” Eric spoke of his experiences in dealing with eldercare and his Aunt Olive who he cared for until she passed away recently at 103. Eric also had his most recent book A Treasury of Old Souls: Tending, Befriending and Defending the Elderly displayed.
For more information on how to become a Foster Grandparent, Senior Companion or how to receive Caring Companion Services call Heidi, Jeanette, Jean, Jessica, or Marley at 218-281-5832.