Why I love Albert Lea

Published 3:36 pm Wednesday, July 14, 2021

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When asked why I love Albert Lea, I did not have to think about it very long. It hit me immediately. It is the people of Albert Lea!

I am retired. I am a Girl Scout leader, nursing home volunteer, grandma and a Relay for Life volunteer. Asked why do I volunteer? I have found it a great way to meet new people in the community. I enjoy working with people! I find it fulfilling and rewarding. It has strengthened my ties to the community.

The people of Albert Lea are caring and helpful people. I can remember during my battle with breast cancer in 2014, I had many people offering to help me. They provided much needed encouragement to me.

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Freeborn County Relay for Life is a community-based fundraising event for the American Cancer Society. We make sure nobody fights alone and support those who have lost loved ones and celebrate survivors and caregivers.

Relays in the past were held at the fairgrounds with speeches from cancer survivors, entertainment and a luminary-lit track filled with walkers. This year the relay committee made a lot of adjustments due to COVID-19 guidelines at planning time. Everyone was looking forward to our traditional big event, but changes had to be made. Teams could hold an individual event.

Our team “Zion’s Beautiful Feat” went around town flocking people’s yards with pink flamingos. People were very willing to donate and help spread the spirit of enjoyment we were trying to create. Since COVID-19 kept many people cooped up, it was fun to spread a little cheer along with getting donations for a very worthwhile cause: cancer. We got to see so many beautiful smiles.

Relay for Life luminaries were sold by team members, Frames R Us, Broadway Bikes and the Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce. Decorated luminaries were displayed in windows of downtown businesses from June 22 to 29. People were able to observe their loved one’s luminaries during that time. 

This year’s honored cancer survivor, Rosemary Bloomquist, was slated to share her cancer journey at Zion Lutheran Church where “Zion’s Beautiful Feat” team had luminaries displayed, along with several items for a drawing with donations for tickets. Individuals stepped up generously to help with the event and provided baked goods.

Thank you to all who participated and donated to the American Cancer Society!

Yes, people in Albert Lea are what I love most about Albert Lea. By volunteering, I have found out that Albert Lea people are something to be proud of.


Diane Hanson volunteers in several efforts in the community but at this time of year is especially known for her volunteer efforts through the Freeborn County Relay for Life.