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Hevern's death leaves 'hole in the heart of Alexandria'

Jennie Hevern1 / 2
After it was announced that Jennie Hevern was the recipient of the Sertoma's Service to Mankind Award back in 2010, she was in awe as the room began to fill with many of her family and friends, including her husband, Monty (not pictured).(Echo Press file photo)2 / 2

It didn't matter if she knew you or not, if there was someone who needed help, Jennie Hevern was ready to step up to the plate.

Hevern, who was an icon in the community, died Saturday as a result of cancer.

KXRA radio personality Patty Wicken, who was a longtime friend, said Hevern and her husband, Monty, who passed away in September of last year, weren't wealthy people, but they gave and gave throughout their entire lives.

"I don't know how or where we will find another Jennie. She left a huge hole in the heart of Alexandria, one not easily — if it ever can be — filled," said Wicken. "Those of us who knew her and the thousands who didn't know her personally are better off and are better people because of Jennie. I will miss her forever."

Wicken shared a story of a time just a few days before Christmas when she met Hevern and Hevern's grandson, Cole, in the mall parking lot. They were carrying huge bags of Christmas gifts. Wicken told them it looked like they were going to have a great Christmas.

"Cole told me, 'These gifts aren't for us. There is one man alone in the safe house right now and grandma thought it would be fun to not buy gifts for each other but instead spend all of our Christmas money on him,' " Wicken recalled. "When I asked Cole what kind of man he was, he replied, 'Oh, we will meet him when we take his gifts to him on Christmas Eve.' "

Wicken said that is who Hevern was, a very giving person.

"Like so many other young women, she was a mentor to me. When I graduated from college and was hired to work in the office, she (Hevern) encouraged me to join the Business and Professional Women group. She impressed upon me the importance of being involved, being aware of the rights of women in the workplace, to never forget how hard women before us worked to get us where we were at the time and that work was nowhere near done. She had so many irons in the fire. It was amazing how she could accomplish everything in the efficient way she did."

Hevern's family thanked the community for its support over the years and said she couldn't have done what she did without it.

From the archives

When searching the Echo Press archives, there are plenty of stories about Hevern and her service to the community.

Back in April of 2010, Hevern received the prestigious Sertoma Service to Mankind Award. Over the years, Hevern has helped and been involved in numerous organizations, including the Business and Professional Women's organization, Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce, United Way of Douglas/Pope Counties, Young People's Place, The Salvation Army, West Central Initiative, Listening Ear Crisis Center and many more.

An article from August of 2013 announced that Hevern was named the 2013 Outstanding Senior Citizen of Douglas County. Hevern was quoted in the article as saying, "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."

Peggy Kill, a representative with The Salvation Army, had this to say about Hevern: "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."

Celeste Edenloff

Celeste is a reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press and has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She first worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from 1999 to 2011, and returned in June 2016 to report on the community she calls home. Besides writing articles for the Echo Press, she has a blog, “Newspaper Girl on the Run.” Celeste is on a continuous healthy living journey and loves to teach bootcamp fitness classes and run. She has participated in more than 200 races with her husband, Al, covering the 5K, 10K, 10-mile and half-marathon (13.1 mile) distances.

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