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Veterans home volunteers recognized

Jon Skillingstad, administrator of the Minnesota Veterans Home in Fergus Falls, praised volunteers from throughout Otter Tail County who provide services for veterans at the home. A volunteer recognition dinner, with an Olympic theme, was held April 27 at the American Legion in Fer-gus Falls. Tom Hintgen/FOCUS

Ten Perham residents were among a group of local veterans home volunteers honored during a special dinner and program at the Fergus Falls American Legion on April 27.

Residents from across Otter Tail County volunteer at the veterans home, which is located on the north side of Fergus Falls.

Perham volunteers who were honored include Diane and George Rux, Wayne and Pearl Romann, Norman and Jeannette Jorgenson, Millie Lauer, Sharon Siebels, Shirley Davidson and Kathy Guck.

Recognized from Ottertail were Dennis and Sally Nyberg. Richard Miller, of Battle Lake, was also honored.

A total of about 85 volunteers were recognized at the program. Each one of them has put in at least 15 hours of their time at the veterans home. Eight volunteers were recognized for spending between 401 and 599 hours at the home, and two volunteers have spent between 600 and 1,000 hours there.

Receiving the Spirit of Excellence Award at the dinner was Gene Fahey, a Navy veteran who worked at Otter Tail Power Company in Fergus Falls. Fahey volunteered for several years until health-related issues prompted him to become a vets’ home resident himself, in June of 2013.

As an active volunteer, starting in 2005, Fahey performed his labor of love at the vets’ home in memory of his wife, Phyllis, who died in 2003.

“Gene did so many wonderful things for us, not only assisting veterans but also working with recruiting of other volunteers, speaking on behalf of the veterans home, serving on the advisory committee and taking a leadership role in the establishment of our dementia unit,” said Deanna Mounts, an employee of the vets home who works directly with volunteers.

Otter Tail County is home to one of five veterans homes in Minnesota. Others are located in Hastings, Silver Bay, Luverne and Minneapolis.

The vision of all five homes is to “continually develop and deliver a safe, dignified and compassionate health care system and to provide a nurturing and engaging home environment for Minnesota’s heroes.”