Oct. 30, 2006

Dahlman family gives to foster grandparent program

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

A portion of Stanley Dahlman’s memorial money was donated to help fund the transportation costs for a program that was near and dear to his heart.

The Dahlman family donated money to the co-sponsored foster grandparent program with the Cokato Manor and Cokato Elementary School for transportation to and from the manor.

The Cokato Manor gives a matching grant because the project is fairly expensive due to the cost of transportation, according to Cokato Elementary Principal Lorene Force. Therefore, both pay half for the transportation expense, she said.

The foster grandparent program had always been “near and dear” to Stanley’s heart, according to son, Kevin Dahlman.

So, “in light of the tighter funding,” this was one way the family could ensure this program would survive, he said.

“Stanley loved that program,” said Stanley’s wife, Hazel Dahlman.

After retiring from farming, Stanley wanted to be a bus driver. He drove bus 17 years for Cokato Transportation before he died Jan. 2, 2006.

When the foster grandparent program began at Cokato Elementary, Dahlman was quick to volunteer for the job.

Each fourth grade class takes turns spending 45 minutes with the residents at the Manor once a week for four weeks.

While the kids would play bingo or other activities with the residents, Stanley enjoyed visiting with the residents, students and teachers.

“He was very good at visiting,” Hazel said. Stanley would even visit with people he didn’t know, she added.

On the last day of each foster grandparent program, he would bring the students to the Dairy Queen for a treat, Hazel said.

Stanley took the time to get to know the kids, according to Force.

“He was always thought of as every child’s grandpa,” she said.

The school has found it hard to fund the $600 program. In the past, the money came from Box Tops for Education, milk lids and ink cartridges, “Now, because the Dahlmans were so generous,” that money can be used for something else, according to Force.

The foster grandparent program allows children to be in touch with the older residents of the community, according to Joy Marschel, activities director for Cokato Manor.

“It’s a wonderful program – fulfilling needs for the residents and children,” she said.

“The foster grandparent program and Stanley Dahlman went together,” Marschel said.

“The kids and the residents loved him,” she added.

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