A million dollar night to remember

by Don Heinzman
ECM Publishers

The Three Rivers Community Foundation honored five leaders at its gala Oct. 25 and announced it had reached its goal of a $1 million endowment. The Initiative Foundation matched the Three Rivers Foundation goal of raising $50,000 this year.

Jeff Gongoll, the master of ceremonies, told the crowd of 191 that over the years the foundation has granted over $400,000, and this year awarded another $32,000 to organizations within the Elk River Area School District.

Submitted photos
Robin Christian, proudly holding the Lifetime Achievement Award she was given by the Three Rivers Community Foundation.

Gala Committee Chair Jessica Stockamp said the gala made $10,000, including proceeds from the silent auction and from those who paid to win a $1,300 diamond ring, donated by a member of the Charles Christian family. Robin Christian, who was honored as a Lifetime Achievement Award winner, drew the name of Ken Roden, her brother-in-law, for the ring.

Large delegations of friends and relatives of the four Hall-of-Fame Leadership winners attended the gala.

Henry and Joyce Bost after being inducted into the Three Rivers Community Foundation Hall of Fame.

Foundation Chair Bruce Tyler said it was the best foundation gala ever. “The speeches were inspiring. I even shed a tear at times.”

Stockamp said, “This year’s gala was a wonderful event, with so many attending to join in recognizing five worthy recipients who have each done so much for our community.”

Three spoke in favor of the award winners from Zimmerman, Hank and Joyce Bost, who were praised for their leadership in all activities at their church while raising 10 children. The Bosts humbly accepted the award, which they said surprised them. They said they lived the golden rule and had the motto to share everything the Lord has provided.

Pat Rasmusson proudly displaying her award.

Rachel Leonard praised them as “ordinary people doing extra-ordinary things,” and said they are Mr. and Mrs. Zimmerman.

Kathi Brady of Howard, Ill., introduced her mom, Pat Rasmusson, the Hall-of-Fame winner from Elk River.  She told about her mother’s leadership in the community, how she sang in the choir and taught her in Sunday school at Union Congregational Church. Kathy said her mother also held local and international leadership posts as a member of the Family of Freemasons, and proudly said that during her mother’s term $1.5 million was raised for the Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota.

Carol Hines with her TRCF award.

Rasmusson said people assume leadership positions because they see a need and believe they can change the world by doing it.

Pointing to all the leaders in the room, she said no one looks for glory or money, but she said she was overwhelmed at being selected.

Pat and her husband, Gary, have three children.

Jolene Jorgensen, who is chair of the District 728 School Board, introduced Eileen Schuck, the Hall-of-Fame winner from Otsego for her dedication to the music programs in Rogers and District 728.

Eileen Schuck with her award at the Three Rivers Community Foundation Gala.

She told how Schuck organized teachers, parents and students to attend a school board meeting to support funding for music education programs. She said Schuck is the right hand of the band program at Rogers High School and a big booster of the Cadets marching band, which includes members from Elk River, Rogers and Zimmerman high schools.

In response, Schuck said she has a passion for the arts, especially the music program.

“I do this because the kids are worth it,” she said. “They keep me going.”

She also thanked her mother for all the things she did for her, now that she realizes how much she did for her growing up.

She and her husband, Steve, have three children.

Carol Hines, the winner from Rogers, was introduced by her husband, Jack.

He praised her leadership in organizing fundraisers for the Three Rivers Foundation while she was a member of the foundation board.

She served on boards of other organizations including the C.R.O.S.S. food shelf and the Elk River Community Theatre, among others.  While serving on the boards, Jack said, she had the time for their five children.

“You know when you serve on these boards, you serve on the committees and have to do the work,” he said.

She managed Hines Hall and a catering company for 25 years, taught cooking, baking and cake decorating and developed a barbecue sauce that’s still on the market.

Jack and Carol have 17 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

She said the award is a symbol of all who start these groups and “the rest of us who come along and help out with it.”   She said she’s always been surrounded by loving and caring people who have inspired her to share whatever she has.

When the foundation began, Carol said, “We dreamed of reaching a million dollars in the endowment, and thanks to many volunteers and the Christian family donating proceeds from the golf tournament, that dream has been realized.”

Bob Deiley, a board member and golf committee member, spoke on behalf of Robin Christian, who received a Lifetime Achievement Award, voted by the foundation board.

Deiley praised Christian as a leader who gets things done and inspires others to follow her.

“In a volunteer organization, there is always a couple who carry the workload and go above and beyond. That’s what Robin is,” he said.

Deiley said Robin led a golf committee team that raised $50,000 this year, most ever, and that amount was matched by the Initiative Foundation, putting the foundation endowment over the million-dollar mark.  The previous high was $26,000.

“You are doing good work and you are living good things … They are really for us so that we can recognize people living the right way so we can be inspired to be like that,” Deiley said.

“The Three Rivers Foundation and the service area are all better off because of Robin working for us all,” said Deiley.

In response to a standing ovation, Robin said, “I like to help out.

“During the last two years on the foundation board, I’ve seen such amazing growth, having new subcommittees and bringing on people who have different ideas.  That has helped this foundation grow.  I’m proud of it and I thank you for this.”

The National Honor Society of Rogers High School served the dinner.

The Rogers Lions club donated and prepared the dinner.

Paula Donnelly and Kathleen Holthaus explained how they used grant money from the foundation to carry out their ISD 728 Early Childhood Family Education program.

Gala sponsors at a glance

First National Bank of Elk River

Sherburne County Abstract and Title Company

Christian Builders

The Monroy Law Office

Home Run Human Resources

Roger Lions Club

The Christian Family

B &B Carpet One

Rogers High School National Honor

Society and Band

Sandi Yeado, Edward Jones of Elk River

Elk River Rotary

Kim Welter, designkW

Vaaler Insurance