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Holly Johnson: Enrichment and new paths

This is the 438th article I have submitted to the Austin Daily Herald for publication.  I remember the first one like it was yesterday.  I was nervous because I was starting in a role I didn’t know if I was prepared for as Executive Director of the Hormel Historic Home.  Nor did I feel like I would be able to write a column each and every week.

In that first column I introduced myself by describing my life’s journey up to that point, which began in Texas and eventually brought me to Minnesota, twice… I wrote, “So my journey has brought me here, to oversee the historic home of a small town business family.  Being surrounded by pictures of such an influential and giving family is humbling.  They started a business to benefit their family and ended up helping a whole town grow.  This beautiful facility has served many purposes during its 141 years of existence and all of them have benefitted Austin. And now I hope I can be a benefit to the organization by continuing the home’s tradition of hospitality, outreach and education while preserving and restoring the historical past.”

After eight and a half years, I still have the same humble feeling when I think about the Hormel family and the beautiful home they left to the community. I have often reflected on George Hormel’s own words when looking for inspiration for a column, an event, or a project for the HHH, and his wisdom will always inspire me.

Several years after his retirement, he wrote about the changes he saw implemented in the business he had created.

“The company had spent three and a half million dollars on new buildings and equipment since my retirement. Its new offices were now air conditioned and soundproofed. Noiseless typewriters eliminated the clatter I remembered. Orders were coming in from branch offices over the recently installed teletype; electrically typed in duplicate, they were on their way to be filled as fast as they left the machine.”

He wrote pages and pages about how advancements in technology led to the creation of new jobs and how his inventions of the past were built upon and made better through the ingenuity of those who came after him.

My journey is now taking me down a different path.  My life has been enriched by my time immersed in Hormel family history, and I have loved being involved in so many community programs and events.  I am confident that I will continue to see advancements, energy, growth and success come from the organization.  The foundation for it was laid 150 years ago and it still has its own journey to ‘walk.’

Thank you for supporting me and the Hormel Historic Home during my time here.  I will now watch with you as it continues to thrive and serve.

History Happy Hour- History of Baseball’s Southern Minny League 1950-1953

6 p.m., Monday, April 12

Presented in person by Paul Spyhalski

Space is limited so please call to reserve your spot. Popcorn will be served.

Free for members of the HHH, Mower County Historical Society and Friends of the Library.  $5 for non-members.