Marion Drescher strives to use her gifts

Published 9:11 am Saturday, August 1, 2009

As Marion Drescher has gone about her retirement, she’s tried to keep the words of Florence Nightingale in mind: “Life is a splendid gift. Use it wisely.”

Indeed, Drescher has kept busy all her life, and she’s being recognized for her volunteer work at 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Freeborn County Fair’s Outstanding Senior Citizen’s Award program.

Drescher came to the Freeborn County area in 1952 and began teaching. She taught language communications, specialized reading and social studies before retiring in 1990. She also did substitute work in both Albert Lea and Alden after retiring.

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She has not found it difficult to keep herself busy in retirement.

“Living in this great community offers many great opportunities to volunteer,” she said.

Through the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, Drescher has helped with activities for Arc of Freeborn County as well as being an actor for the RSVP Readers Theater.

“She is willing to take the larger roles and works at finding appropriate costumes. Whatever she does, she strives to do well, so I don’t have to worry about her muffing her lines in a story we present to the school children,” wrote Beth Spande, RSVP director.

Drescher has helped served food for the American Cancer Society Freeborn County Bike-A-Thon.

The Freeborn County Agricultural Society invites past Outstanding Senior Volunteers to attend the Outstanding Senior Volunteer Award program at Entertainment Square at 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Freeborn County Fair. The fair would like to acknowledge former recipients during the ceremony.

Those who are attending should report to Pennie Ladlie at Entertainment Square at 12:30 p.m. Admission is $4 for those 65 and older and parking is $3. Call 373-6965 by Aug. 3 if you plan to attend.

“I admire the determination of the participants,” Drescher said.

She has also assisted with the Cancer Society’s Daffodil Days sale.

At First Lutheran Church in Albert Lea, she’s been active on the church council, as co-president of the First Lutheran Church Women and with Bible study. She’s served in the church kitchen for various events, including the Caring & Sharing group who serve meals to bereaved families at the time of funerals.

Said the Rev. John Holt, lead pastor, “She is certainly a senior citizen who serves her church and community willingly, with excellence and grace, and with a caring and joyful heart.”

Drescher oversees the activities of the Freeborn County Livestock Producers Association. Money raised by the association is used to help with 4-H and FFA and other livestock activities.

She organizes programs for Lambda Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, a retired teacher organization.

Drescher served on the Freeborn County Extension Committee for six years, serving as chairwoman for five of those years.

“During Marion’s time as chairwoman, the Freeborn County Commissioners wanted to eliminate the Freeborn County Extension Office,” wrote Cindy Martin in her nomination letter. “Marion did a great job of working through this so the Freeborn County Extension Service was not eliminated.

She was also a member of the Regional Extension Committee for three years and was the Home Council president for one year.

Extension benefits the community because it is an outreach of the University of Minnesota, Martin wrote. “It provides educational leadership, project training and meaningful activities for young people from kindergarten through one year past high school graduation for the 4-H program. The Extension Service also provided leadership and training in crops, soils, livestock, horticulture, family, financial planning and food and nutrition training.”

Retired Freeborn County Extension Director Pat Stumme wrote, “Marion Drescher is an outstanding senior contributing to the quality of life Freeborn County as she works toward the big picture of success for everyone with a person-to-person approach.”

Drescher also a passion for gardening. She is a member of the Shades of Jade Regional Garden Club, which keeps up Higbie Gardens. She also oversees the club’s exhibits during the Freeborn County Fair in Floral Hall and is the club’s treasurer and corresponding secretary. For 14 years, she served as the superintendent in Floral Hall.

Drescher is also on the program committee for the St. John’s Lutheran Home Auxiliary.

“Marion’s training as an educator has helped her to be a very well-organized individual,” Martin wrote.

“I have learned much from all the groups I’ve been involved with — from youths to senior citizens,” Drescher said.

Drescher and her late husband, Don, farmed in rural Alden. They have two sons, Claire and Neal.

Neal works as a dispatcher for McFarland Truck Lines in Austin. He is involved in the farm activities.

Claire farms and his wife, Rita, is a registered nurse with Freeborn County Public Health. They have three sons.

Benjamin and his wife, Adrienne, are both graduates of Iowa State University. Benjamin works for Murphy-Brown in the hog finishing units area and Adrienne is involved in corn production research. Both do livestock judging at many county fairs.

Alex has his master’s degree in swine nutrition from the University of Minnesota and works for Archer-Daniels-Midland in Quincy, Ill.

Zak is a junior at Iowa State University, where he is studying agronomy.

“I’m thankful for my great family and being able to attend all their activities over the years,” Drescher said. “They’ve been very supportive of my activities, too.”

Those are activities with which she plans to continue.

“I am looking forward to continuing to be involved in many community volunteer programs,” she said.

Meanwhile, she said she was surprised by the honor she’ll be receiving Wednesday.

“This is a great community to live in. It’s a cherished honor.”