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Editorial: Tribune Thumbs

To area Minnesota National Guard soldiers who are preparing to deploy.

Thank you to all of the soldiers from the area who are preparing to leave for Camp Ripley next week ahead of a deployment in June to Africa as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Nearly 700 soldiers from the National Guard’s Mankato-based 2-135th Infantry Battalion will deploy as part of the mission. According to the National Guard, the soldiers involved range in age from 18 to 52, and many have been on previous deployments.

Members of the battalion will serve as part of a task force to improve security posture at U.S. installations and forward operating bases in the Horn of Africa, including the countries of Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya.

After preparations at Camp Ripley, the soldiers will go to Fort Hood, Texas, before being deployed to Africa. They are slated to return to Minnesota in the spring.

We thank these soldiers who have dedicated their lives to protecting our freedoms, and we wish them safety on this journey.


To the community mural project approved at Lakeview Park.

Thanks to residents Holly Karsjens and Shane Koepke, who are organizing a new mural on the Lakeview warming house.

Karsjens, executive director of the Albert Lea Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Albert Lea Main Street Program, and Koepke, pastor of Grace Lutheran Church, attended the Blandin Community Leadership Program last fall and hope to eventually plan new murals at the other warming houses as well, in addition to public art in other places in the community.

According to Karsjens, they want the mural to be a community project, where people can come and paint portions of the design. The Lakeview warming house is expected to be a colorful geometric design with a duck and landscape, along with the name of the park. With social distancing guidelines in place, she said people could sign up for a specific time slot and color to paint.

She anticipated the project to be completed by the end of July.

We are excited to see this new art in the community, and we encourage people to get involved in the creation.


To Clarks Grove resident Mickey Nelson.

Hats off to 99-year-old Mickey Nelson, a lifelong Clarks Grove resident and World War II veteran, who is making a splash in local and national media in an effort to raise money to feed the hungry during the the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the fundraiser, Nelson plans to walk 100 miles this summer to coincide with turning 100 years old in June, and all funds raised will go to support the Salvation Army’s northern division, which includes Freeborn County.

As of Wednesday afternoon, he had already logged 25 miles, and he expects to be complete by the end of August or beginning of September.

We wish Nelson the best in his efforts. As of Friday morning, he had raised almost $50,000, and that is only expected to continue to grow. 

We thank Nelson for being an inspiration to us all and hope others follow his example and consider other ways they can give back to those in need in the community, particularly during this time of instability and uncertainty.


About Editorial Board

The Editorial Board of the Albert Lea Tribune comprises Scott Schmeltzer, Tim Engstrom and Sarah Stultz.

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