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VIDEO: Hevern honored for helping homeless, the hungry, those in crisis

Jennie Hevern (center) received the 2013 Outstanding Senior Citizen of Douglas County last week and she was joined by Jessica Boyer and Paul Thompson of the United Way of Douglas and Pope Counties - one of the organizations Hevern volunteers her time with. Thompson nominated Hevern for the award.(Echo Press photo by Amy Chaffins)1 / 2
Last Thursday at the Douglas County Fair, Paul Thompson of the United Way presented the 2013 Outstanding Senior Citizen of Douglas County award to Jennie Hevern of Alexandria. (Echo Press photo by Amy Chaffins)2 / 2

Last Thursday, Jennie Hevern was named the 2013 Outstanding Senior Citizen of Douglas County and even during her acceptance speech, she encouraged others to simply care for one another.

"Most of all what I'm thankful for is that I'm approachable enough that people will call me because everybody at some time in their life is going to have a struggle and they may be people all of us think are doing really pretty well and they get into a time when they're not doing so good. It's not always about money; it's about the human relationships that we can build with people and sometimes [with] people we may not think we'd really like to get to know. I would just say... that we all need to care about each other because there's plenty of work to do."

Hevern, of Alexandria, was nominated for the award by several people, including Paul Thompson of the United Way.

In a nomination letter, he wrote: "Jennie is the Salvation Army of Douglas County. As the volunteer coordinator of the Salvation Army, Jennie is on call 24/7. She is the go-to person nonprofits call when people need immediate assistance. She helps people in crisis. She helps the homeless find housing, she assists when people are hungry and need groceries. In addition, Jennie is constantly advocating for people in need. Whenever there are opportunities to help people in need, Jennie is there."

Hevern has served Alexandria Business and Professional Women, Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce, Young People's Place, Salvation Army, West Central Initiative and Listening Ear Crisis Center.

During her service with Salvation Army, Hevern has assisted people in need with more than $100,000 with temporary, emergency assistance in a single funding year. Plus, she recruited triple the number of children who used to attend the Salvation Army's summer camp and she often helps the kids get swimsuits and sleeping bags and personally helps them fill out paperwork.

Peggy Kill, the Central Minnesota representative for the Salvation Army, noted in a nomination letter: "This remarkable woman goes above and beyond what is asked of her. She has truly made a difference in so many people's lives and has been one of Douglas County's best assets. I personally believe the world would be a much better place if we had a 'Jennie' in all of our counties."

Hevern will now advance in the contest - she's in the running for the State Outstanding Senior Citizen Award, which will be awarded on August 29 at the Minnesota State Fair.

Amy Chaffins

Amy Chaffins is a journalist working for the Echo Press newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota.

(320) 763-3133
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