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Retired principal now works to put faith into action

March 2, 2009

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

WRIGHT COUNTY, MN - Many may know Dean Wessman as the former middle school principal for Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted Middle School and as a Cokato High School graduate.

After his retirement in 2006, Wessman was looking for something meaningful to do with his spare time. That’s when he found Faith in Action, where he is now the Buffalo director.

Faith in Action of Wright County is a volunteer agency with its main mission of helping elderly and disabled adults stay in their homes as long as they are able, according to Wessman.

“I enjoy it because I am doing something to help people. It’s been a good fit for me,” he said.

Faith in Action coordinates volunteers or caregivers with care receivers in need of transportation, grocery shopping assistance, respite for primary caregivers, light household chores and yard work, or just a friendly visit in person or over the phone.

Volunteers can choose to do one or all of the needs of a caregiver, Wessman explained,

“[Volunteers] can do as little or as much as [they] want,” Wessman said.

Faith in Action wants to make it convenient for both care receivers and volunteers.

Since not all volunteers like or want to do the same thing, Faith in Action tries the best it can to match the needs of the care receiver with what the volunteers enjoy doing, Wessman explained.

The mission of Faith in Action really coincides with the Golden Rule – do unto others as you’d like them to do unto you, Wessman said.

“If we have faith, our actions should live out that faith,” he said.

Herb Ludwig of Montrose just turned 70 and has been a volunteer caregiver for Faith In Action for five years.

Twice a week, Ludwig cares for one of his clients, Margy, of Waverly.

Margy is only one year older than Ludwig (they actually have the same birthday), but she has medical issues that keep her from driving and running errands.

So, Ludwig will drive her to the doctor for appointments and run other errands for her.

Ludwig volunteers his time to those who need his help because his parents never got old and he didn’t get the chance to help them, he said.

Also, part of it is faith and helping others with what they are going through because, Ludwig figures, his day is coming when he will need to be cared for.

The two have actually become quite good friends despite their political indifferences, that can cause Ludwig’s blood pressure to rise, he joked.

Though the non-profit agency is nondenominational, it is trying to make all churches in the county aware of its program – both to gain volunteers as well as help those who need Faith in Action caregivers.

Since Faith In Action of Wright County is based in Buffalo, it recently received a grant to help promote the program in the communities of Howard Lake, Cokato, Annandale, and South Haven.

How to become involved with Faith in Action

Faith in Action is looking for anyone who is interested in volunteering their time, has a friend or family member who could benefit from its services, is interested in involving their church or civic organization, or providing financial support.

For more details or to inquire about how you can help put faith into action, contact Wessman or Allison Moser, volunteer coordinator, at (763) 234-3586.


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