Gratitude: for Volunteers

Published 6:32 am Saturday, December 1, 2018

I just keep thinking of things to be thankful for so I will continue the theme of being grateful in my writing.

Most nonprofit organizations, churches, schools and communities rely on volunteers to get things accomplished. Everyone knows that, but I thought I would take a moment to say a special thank you to those who help keep the Hormel Historic Home vibrant.

But first, a little history. George Hormel came to town as a single man who was determined to finally settle down and plant himself somewhere. He wrote in “The Open Road” about his decision to make Austin home.

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“I knew by now what I wanted to do and why, but I was undecided as to where. I liked Austin and felt that the town liked me. I was a partner in many of its activities. Before it acquired a central water system and professional fire fighters, I was a member of the volunteer crew, rushing out with the others to muscle-power the pump and drag the hose to the nearest available well, or helping to pass the water in rubber buckets from man to man until it reached the fellows who poured it on the blaze.”

Lillian Hormel was also an active volunteer by sharing her musical talents with various clubs and her church. She was active in the Southern Minnesota Horticultural Society and held an active role in the Missionary Society at the Central Presbyterian Church.

In this modern era of the Hormel Historic Home, some volunteer efforts are obvious. Six people invested over 100 hours in decorating the home for the holidays, and 30 more people served a variety of roles at our various open house events. Other obvious helpers can be seen weeding the garden or taking down the outdoor Christmas lights that other volunteers had helped to put up. Less visible projects performed by volunteers include brainstorming and discussing upcoming programs. There is food to be made, centerpieces to create, and tours to give. There are mailings to organize and invoices to file. Some of these jobs aren’t noticeable or recognized in the public, but they are the tasks that keep an organization running.

I hope that volunteers at the HHH, or wherever they serve, feel validated and appreciated for their contributions. It’s being a part of the conversation or being a part of a team that makes volunteering enjoyable.George and Lillian Hormel knew that. So, whatever it is you do to help make another organization stronger, thank you. Keep doing what you do.

FYI, the United Way of Mower County has launched a new online volunteer site.Check out the volunteer tab at and see where you can offer your gifts to your community.

History Happy Hour-Christmas Past

5:30 p.m. Social, 6 p.m. presentation, Monday, Dec. 10

Learn about popular toys and gifts sold in Austin in the early 1900’s.Craft and cookies included. Free for members of the HHH, Mower County Historical Society; $5 for non-members