By Jennifer Gallus
HOWARD LAKE, MN When Grace Stoll of Howard Lake showed up for her usual day of volunteering at the Howard Lake Good Samaritan Society recently, she was greeted with a rose being pinned on her shirt.
Stoll asked why she was receiving such a nice gesture, but was told she’d have to wait to find out during a program that was about to take place.
She soon found out that she was chosen as the Howard Lake Good Samaritan Society Volunteer of the Year, and consequently, the recipient of an award certificate, 12 dozen pink roses, and a certificate to eat out.
“It was a total surprise to me,” Stoll said.
She can be found at the care center at least two times per week helping with bible study and locating songs in the song books, as well as helping with bingo on Fridays.
“It’s really nice to be doing this with the residents they look forward to us (volunteers),” Stoll said. “It’s not only good for them, but also helps us. A reward comes back to you.”
Stoll and her late husband, Martin, began volunteering back in 1992 because Martin had an aunt at the care center at the time.
“Back then, my husband did popcorn, and I did coffee and goodies,” Stoll explained.
Both Grace and Martin had heart surgeries at different times in the 1990s, but kept going back to the care center to volunteer when they could.
“The Lord wants us to be there,” is what the couple always believed.
They were married for 57 years before Martin passed away several years ago. Together they had three children. They also milked cows, had beef cattle, chickens, pigs, and more.
In addition to volunteering, Stoll keeps herself busy in her flower and vegetable gardens, feeding and watching birds, and enjoys her four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, friends and family.
She is a member of the Howard Lake Good Samaritan Auxiliary, Naomi Guild quilting group at St. James, the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, and women’s bible study at St. James.
“I’m thankful to God for all His blessings to me. Without Him, I couldn’t get far, so it’s good to keep Him close by always,” Stoll said with a smile.
Regarding volunteering, Stoll said, “It’s not hard. Once you get started, you want to keep doing it.”
“If you feel a little blue, you just go there, and they’re so grateful, and you think ‘Oh, I don’t have anything to complain about,’” Stoll explained.
“I would miss it if I couldn’t go,” she added.