Archived Story

2 important organizations need your help

Published 10:50am Saturday, March 24, 2012

Column: Pat Mulso, Preserving the Past

One’s perspective on life can change in the blink of an eye when the health of a loved one is in question. A couple weeks ago that happened at our house. All of a sudden our priorities changed.

Maybe it is God’s way of telling us to reconsider what is really important to us or to slow down and smell the roses along life’s path. It also causes us to think about our faith during this very important part of the church year. As we journey through life, why are we here, what purpose can we serve to help others, family, friends and those less fortunate than ourselves.

Arnie and I each have a special place in our hearts for two organizations within our community. This past week the American Legion held their annual “Post Everlasting Ceremony” that recognized and honored the members who passed away during the past year.

We have attended this ceremony for many years and it never stops touching our hearts as the names of those deceased are read off and their dates of service are stated. The dedication of these individuals has helped to keep our country safe and each served to protect our freedoms for past generations and for future generations.

Our local American Legion Post 56 is going through some very tough times and it is not any one person’s fault and it has not just happened over the past few years either. There has been a decline in support for many years in many different ways. Through the rising death rate of World War II veterans, the stricter DWI laws, but probably mostly because of the local economy.

The rising cost of insurance, food, supplies, taxes, wages and the like all play into this as well as the loss of revenue in pull tabs that allowed the post to support other nonprofits within our community.

If you want to honor a veteran, help support our local American Legion with a donation to their campaign to eliminate debt and by coming into the club and volunteering if you are able or at least having a meal there once or twice a month. Each of you can make a difference to protect this 93-year-old American Legion post so that it will be preserved to serve future soldiers as they return from active duty.

The second organization is the Freeborn County Historical Museum, Library & Village. This organization has been in existence since 1948 and holds keys to the history of many of our local businesses, organizations, people, cities, towns, schools, churches and the list goes on and on.

We are also at a turning point in our history. If we don’t build our addition now, we can no longer continue to collect items that preserve the history of our county and its people, businesses and organizations. We have no space to even store items yet alone display them for the public to enjoy and learn from.

We need your help now to raise the needed money to move forward with our project. If each resident of the county makes a donation to this project at whatever level they are able to, we will be able to complete this project this year. Please send your tax deductible donations now and help us preserve and protect our history now and for future generations! Our mailing address is 1031 Bridge Ave. Albert Lea, MN 56007. The history that will be preserved may be what your grandchild will be searching for, don’t let them down. The sparkle in the eyes of a child learning from our past is priceless!

Join us this afternoon at the museum as we honor the 100th Anniversary of Girl Scouts of America. The museum will be open from 2 to 4 p.m. and coffee, punch and cookies will be available. Girl Scouts will be admitted free, a reduced admission — $3 — for their parents, and of course members are admitted free. General admission is $5 but children 11 and under get in free.

There will be Girl Scouts displays on both levels of the museum. You may enter through the gate by the fairground’s arches or the front door of the museum. The gate will open just before 2 p.m. Bring your Girl Scouts memories and share them with others as we celebrate this monumental anniversary for girls around the world.

We want to thank the individuals who have loaned the museum Girl Scouts items for this special exhibit. As I was putting the exhibits together I brought in the one item that I made when I was in Brownies just over 51 years ago. It is a Santa Claus that I made from a tuna can, felt, a baby’s sock and a glass chimney, just prior to Christmas 1960 in Ellerton, Ohio.

I was only in Scouts that one year, but managed to keep this one item all these years, along with my memories. As I was looking over the few items that we have in our collection at the museum there is a hat that was worn to the 50th Anniversary of Girl Scouts Celebration that was held in Vermont in 1962. The hat has souvenirs that were collected from other Girl Scouts that attended the celebration and to my astonishment there is an item attached to the hat from two Girl Scouts from New Jersey with the last name of Ort. These two girls are related to me. My great-great-grandfather had a sister that was married to George B. Ort and they died very young, but had several children and one of those children moved to New Jersey. I have not been able to trace down the line to current times, but now I have a new lead!

The museum is hosting a four-hour Defensive Driving Class from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. April 10. The cost is $19, and you must pre-register for the class. You may do so by calling the museum at 507-373-8003 or stop by during our regular hours.

The third annual “Taste of Heritage” event is from 1 to 3 p.m. March 31 at the Northbridge Mall. Join us there as we celebrate the customs of numerous countries that are represented by the residents of Freeborn County. There will be many activities for children as well as entertainment throughout the afternoon in the food court area. There is no charge for this event and is a collaboration of many organizations within our community for your enjoyment.


Pat Mulso is the executive director of the Freeborn County Historical Museum in Albert Lea.