Bergdale’s awarded for volunteer service

Published 9:24 am Monday, April 4, 2011

In recognition of their outstanding contributions to Three Rivers Park District, Vince and Teresa Bergdale of Albert Lea have been awarded its distinguished volunteer service award for their contributions as cultural heritage interpreters at The Landing – Minnesota River Heritage Park.

Vince and Teresa Bergdale. -- Submitted photo

The Bergdales have been volunteering for Three Rivers at The Landing for just shy of nine years and in that time have volunteered a total 1,662 hours. However, their service pre-dates The Park District’s purchase of The Landing and goes back 15 years. The Bergdales have a passion for “living history” and bring characters to life from a different era as a way to excite and educate the public about history. Vince often portrays a Civil War soldier and Teresa portrays the dutiful military wife. The Bergdales also portray Axel and Britha, recently arrived Norwegian immigrants who are starting a new life in the Minnesota River Valley.

“Vince and Teresa are outstanding volunteers,” said Jefferson Spilman, site supervisor at The Landing. “They’re so engaging and do such a great job of drawing the public into the bygone era. Anyone who has ever visited us for Civil War Saturday or Folkways of the Holidays will definitely remember them. They really make an impression.”

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“Our love of history is a perfect fit with The Landing’s mission. We have the chance to experience a small taste of what early Minnesota settlers experienced,” Vince said. For Teresa, her volunteer time is all about connecting with people and having others learn and enjoy history and she says that’s how she justifies her “passionate, obsessive hobby.”

The Park District benefits from the services of volunteers in many ways including farm, nature, recreation, art and history program assistance, patrolling slopes and trails, surveying wildlife, assisting with special events and races, gardening and collecting prairie seeds, to name a few. For more information about volunteer opportunities with the Park District, visit or contact the volunteer office at 763-559-6706.

The Bergdales will be honored by the Park District Board of Commissioners with an award ceremony at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, May 5, at the administrative center in Plymouth.