Herald JournalWinsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Aug. 5, 2002

Helen Guggemos named grand marshal for festival parade

By Ryan Gueningsman

For Helen Guggemos of Winsted, who is this year's Winsted Summer Festival parade grand marshal, hard work has been something she has been accustomed to her entire life.

Raised in New Germany, her family farmed when she was growing up.

She eventually moved to the Winsted area. The only time she has not lived in the area was when her husband Don, who is the mayor of Winsted, was in the service and stationed at Fort Knox for about one year.

"Don and I were married in 1956, and he still had a year of military service yet, so we went back to Fort Knox in Kentucky and I was a nurse there," Guggemos said.

The newly married couple returned to Winsted following his military stint, and has been here ever since.

They had six children ­ Debra White of Slinger, Wis., Paul of Northfield, Mary Carlson of Hutchinson, Chip of Winsted, Ruth Hallock of Cottage Grove, and Bill of Chanhassen ­ all who have attended and graduated from Holy Trinity. The Guggemos' also have 15 grandchildren.

She took on a job at St. Mary's Care Center, and worked there a total of 29 years.

"I started as a staff RN, and winded up taking additional courses to get the appropriate certification, and I became administrator of the care center from 1991 to 1998," she said.

Guggemos has also been known for her volunteer work around Winsted and the surrounding communities.

"I just love it," she said about volunteering.

"When I worked at St. Mary's, I didn't have as much time to volunteer, as I dedicated my life to that, in addition to my family," she said.

Both Guggemos and her husband Don have an active interest in gardening.

"I love gardening. We did a major landscaping project in our yard, and also I am a tour guide at the arboretum. You take classes for that, and as a return for the knowledge you gain, you are asked to do some tours," she said.

Guggemos has also been involved with the Meals on Wheels, American Legion Auxiliary, the Winsted Chamber of Commerce, and the McLeod County Food Shelf.

"Marietta (Neumann) is in charge of that (food shelf) and she does appreciate having volunteer help ­ the summer time is especially busy for her," Guggemos said.

She also serves on Linden Wood Apartments' board of directors.

"I'm very proud of Winsted," she said. "I think we have a lot to be thankful for. People have a sense of pride about living here."

Guggemos enjoys the Winsted Summer Festival because it gives the community a chance to get together.

"In '99 and 2000, I actually helped co-chair the food tent, and it's a significant project, but thanks to all the volunteers ­ things go."

"People have a lot of fun too, even though they are working," she said.

Guggemos believes it is important to welcome the new people into Winsted.

"I honestly don't know why I was chosen," she said about her selection as grand marshal. "They talked about the volunteering and stuff I do."

"I guess if there is any impact I can make at all, it is the value of volunteerism, especially for retirees. It keeps you young, it keeps you involved, and you have an opportunity to return to your community or to your family the things you probably received as a younger person," she said.

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