By Julie Krienke
HOWARD LAKE, MN Determination, generosity, diligence, and benevolence are only a few of the characteristics possessed by Louise Arlien, the 2010 recipient of the Minneapolis Aquatennial Commodore Award.
This award is presented each year at the Howard Lake Good Neighbor Days festival to honor a community member who has displayed a significant amount of service to the community. Recipients are actually nominated by individuals within the area.
Louise Arlien was recently honored for her work within the community of Howard Lake as well as her willingness to help neighboring towns. Arlien’s involvement in countless organizations throughout the area proves that she possess the leadership skills necessary to fuel volunteer work.
According to Arlien, the Howard Lake queen’s committee called her daughter, Sarah, to make sure Louise would be in attendance at the Good Neighbor Days royalty coronation June 27.
As an individual who demonstrates an enormous amount of commitment to the community of Howard Lake, Arlien is a humble person.
“I don’t volunteer to get recognition or reward,” Arlien said. “I don’t feel like I’m doing anything extraordinary.”
Yet, Arlien has been described as the kind of person possessing leadership skills to get tasks done and get others involved. She has been involved in the community ever since her family moved to Howard Lake 10 years ago.
“As soon as we got here, we got the kids into scouts,” Arlien said. “Within a short time, I was active singing in my church. It was a great way of meeting a group of people right away.”
According to Arlien, serving the community helps her feel closer to individuals within the area and get involved with people that she may never have met if she did not volunteer.
“It is just a part of me,” Arlien said. “I enjoy being involved with the rest of the community. I’m a people person.”
Arlien has been active at Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted High School ever since her three children got involved in the district.
In the high school, Arlien has chaperoned band and choir trips to San Antonio and Chicago, as well as a recent National Honor Society trip to Italy.
She has also been active in fundraising for the drama department, organizing football dinners, assisting the marching band, and helping the after prom committee.
“I feel it is important to be involved in my kids’ lives,” Arlien said. “With the school, I have always been real involved in the activities that the kids have done. I feel as a parent, that’s important.”
In 1999, as soon as she and her family moved southwest of Waverly, Arlien joined St. Mary’s parish. She has been a religious education teacher, and now she is involved as circle chairperson. Arlien is also extremely active in the church choir.
“That’s my favorite part,” Arlien said. “I enjoy the camaraderie of the group that I sing with.”
According to Arlien, being active in the church benefits her personally, and she feels that music is a vital part of the worship.
“It helps me grow in my faith and keep my faith strong,” Arlien said. “It helps me connect to the parish. I always look forward to that every week.”
Arlien has also been active in the Friends of the Library program. “I help with the book sale because I am an avid reader,” Arlien noted. She is also the secretary of the Howard Lake Businesses Association.
Of all the organizations that she is involved in, Arlien volunteers the most for the local Boy Scouts and girl scouts.
“I do most of my volunteering with the scouts, and I just think that it is such a great program,” Arlien said. “You just want to keep it strong.”
Arlien first became active in the local scouts of Howard Lake when her family moved to the community. She has been a leader for both the Girl Scouts’ Howard Lake-Montrose Service Unit and the Howard Lake Cub Scout Pack 494.
While a leader of her daughter’s Girl Scout troop, Arlien also served as registrar for the service unit. She made sure that each scout got registered and assigned to a troop.
When her sons became involved in Cub Scouts, Arlien became den leader and committee chair for Pack 494 of Howard Lake. She was a Cub Scout leader for three years, and then her sons moved up to the Boy Scouts.
In 2004, Arlien became the advancement chair of Boy Scout Troop 399, which she enjoys greatly. She keeps track of the advancements in rank for each scout and handles the merit badges.
“I have been the advancement chair in the Boy Scouts for a long time,” Arlien said. “This means making sure everyone meets the requirements for advancements.”
As advancement chair, Arlien assists scouts in completing all the prerequisites necessary for them to achieve Eagle Scout, which is the highest degree awarded to Boy Scouts.
“I enjoyed it because I’m the one that helps the boys make sure that they’re meeting all the requirements toward Eagle Scout,” Arlien said. “Most of the boys that come into our troop will become an eagle. We have been a pretty active boy scout troop.”
Both of Arlien’s sons have achieved their Eagle Scout honor, and her daughter earned the silver award, which is the second highest award that the girl scouts present.
Because of her involvement in the Boy Scouts, Arlien received the Key Leader Award, which is given to someone who demonstrates leadership abilities within the troop.
“Key leader is one of your leaders who makes the troop really do well,” Arlien said. “Keeping track of all the records and making sure the records are accurate was pretty much my job.”
In addition to the Key Leader Award, Arlien also received the Spark Plug Award, an honor presented to someone who has helped the troop grow.
“The spark plug is someone who encourages and gets others to do things,” Arlien said. “They come up with ideas that will be more exciting for the group.”
In 2009, Arlien was honored as the Crow River District Scouter of the Year. This award recognizes individuals who have been extremely involved in the Boy Scouts.
“It kind of recognizes you for your all around involvement in the many areas of your troop,” Arlien said.
As shown by her involvement for several consecutive years, Arlien is exceptionally committed to the Boy Scout program.
“I think it is one of the best programs that children can be involved with,” Arlien said. “I just really feel strongly that they learn so much and so many good things. There is not another youth program out there that involves the family so much.”
When it comes to her own family, Arlien has been married to her husband Cort for nearly 27 years. They have three children Sarah (23), Eric (20), and Matt (18).
“I grew up on a farm near New Rockford, ND, which is about the same size as Howard Lake,” Arlien said.
With an undergraduate degree from the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul and a master’s degree from the University of North Dakota, Arlien is now a nurse practitioner at Ridgeview Clinic in Howard Lake.
Arlien came to Howard Lake with her family 10 years ago when her husband retired from the military and they moved from an air base in Ellsworth, SD.
Because this is where she lives and works, Arlien is dedicated to serving Howard Lake and the surrounding areas.
“I hope it betters the community and inspires other people to become involved in other things,” Arlien said.
According to Arlien, volunteering will continue to keep her busy and occupy a great deal of her time.
“It’s always been so much a part of my life,” Arlien said. “I have always been involved in things. I can’t imagine having it any other way.”