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Benedictine Garrison Recognizes Outstanding Supporters during National Volunteer Month

In celebration of National Volunteer Month in April, Benedictine Living Community-Garrison recognizes long-time volunteers Rick and Marian (Johnson) Lehnherr for their outstanding contributions to the nonprofit senior care community and its neighbors over the past 20 years.

Marian Lehnherr has long-standing ties to the area. Raised in Garrison, Marian graduated from the University of North Dakota before returning to Garrison to work in her parent’s Red Owl grocery store and also as a substitute teacher. After marrying her husband, Rick, they lived throughout the US before eventually returning to Garrison. One set of her great-grandparents and grandparents lived in Garrison for most of their lives, as did her parents.

Rick’s mother arrived in Garrison in 2003 and lived at Benedictine Living Community-Garrison until 2009. During that time, Rick and Marian were regular visitors to Benedictine Garrison and formed close relationships with its neighbors and staff. After her mother-in-law’s passing, Marian continued to make weekly visits to Benedictine Garrison, brightening the neighbor’s days with her fun, outgoing nature, genuine interest in their lives, and decorative attire that she wears on holidays. Her mother now resides at Benedictine Garrison, as do many members of her church.

Marian’s father served on Benedictine Garrison’s board of directors. Following in his footsteps, she also joined the board and still serves as an active member. Since 2007, Rick has also been involved with Benedictine Garrison. He was one of several people that helped in bringing The Meadows assisted living community to the city. In 2008, he became a member of the Benedictine Garrison board and continues to serve today. In 2010, Rick was asked to join the Benedictine Health System board of directors, where he was a member for 12 years.

Marian has been a volunteer with Benedictine Garrison’s annual St. Patrick’s Day brunch and auction every year since its inception 20 years ago, and also helps with Benedictine Garrison’s community appreciation picnic. In addition to her regular stops at the community to visit with neighbors and attend birthday parties and holiday gatherings, she also helps with church services there.

She looks for ways to make positive contributions to the neighbors’ lives. She recalls two sisters who lived at Benedictine Garrison, whose Christmas wish was to have a tree and holiday decorations. As a surprise, she decorated their room from floor to ceiling. The sisters loved the decorations so much, they kept them up until Valentine’s Day.

Explains Marian, “I started volunteering at Benedictine Garrison because my dad did. I came back as a volunteer when my mother-in-law began living there. Rick and I were very happy with the care that she received. She had a good life there. I became invested in her and the other neighbors I met during my visits. I continue because of the wonderful people and now because my mother is a neighbor there. I try to make their days happy and full of fond memories. I want their lives to be as good as possible, so that inspires me to give back.”

“For 20 years, we have been so fortunate to have the support of both Rick and Marian Lehnherr, whose dedication, talents and initiative have helped enhance the lives of countless neighbors as well as further our mission to provide quality care to older adults in the Garrison area,” stated Scott Foss, executive director of Benedictine Living Community-Garrison. “We thank them for their outstanding contributions not only to Benedictine Garrison and The Meadows, but also to the other individuals and organizations they’ve supported in the greater Garrison community.”

For those interested in making a difference like the Lehnherrs, Benedictine Garrison has a variety of volunteer opportunities available, including helping with social gatherings, playing cards and other games with neighbors, one-on-one visits, hair setting and styling, crafts, and gardening. Days and hours are flexible. For more information, contact Deb Foss at 701-463-2226.