By Tara Mathews
LESTER PRAIRIE, MN WCCO announced last Monday that Shirley Dibb of Lester Prairie had been named a “Good Neighbor,” but people in the Lester Prairie community have known what a good neighbor she is for decades.
“When I got the call that I was being recognized, I thought, ‘I don’t do that much,’” Dibb commented. “There are so many people who do so much more than I, who deserve recognition. I appreciate the honor, but it’s not going to go to my head.”
Dibb is a lifelong Lester Prairie resident, and graduated from Lester Prairie High School.
In school, Dibb began her active involvement in the community through participating in cheerleading and being a member of the homecoming royalty.
Later, she was a member of the school board for four years.
Dibb, along with her husband of 55 years, Wallace, volunteered for Active Christian Teen Leaders at St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lester Prairie for 11 years, which involved chaperoning and driving for camping, canoeing, softball games, and Bible studies.
She has been a member of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League for more than 50 years, holding positions on the board including president, vice president, secretary, and Christian growth.
Shirley also served on the Crow River Conference as the Christian life chairperson.
She has been the chairperson for the funeral committee and a Bible study leader at St. Paul Lutheran Church for 15 years; and sets up the schedule for scripture readers there, along with taking a turn reading.
“God’s given me the health to do it, so I figure I better,” Shirley said.
Shirley has been a longtime volunteer for the Red Cross Bloodmobile, has volunteered with Meals on Wheels for seven years, and has helped organize all-school reunions, bi-centennial celebrations, and centennial celebrations in Lester Prairie.
In the days before the calls were routed through the county dispatch center, Shirley answered phones for the Lester Prairie Fire Department.
She also served on the committee that helped develop Central Square Park in downtown Lester Prairie, including the gazebo project.
“I’m very proud of our work on the gazebo,” Shirley noted. “That is such a beautiful park.”
Shirley helps with sandwich ministry once a month, judges scholarship awards, serves as an election judge for the city and school, is on the fire hall committee, and finds time to be involved with the “Prairie Pacers” team for Relay for Life.
“The smallest reward, a thank you, a hug, a friendly gesture, or even a pat on the back, is priceless,” Shirley stated. “I’m honored by this all, but very humbled.”
Shirley and Wallace raised four children; Kraig, Keith, Kirk, and Kent, who kept them busy with Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. Shirley served as a leader for 10 years.
She is a grandmother to four grandsons, two granddaughters, and one great-grandson.
Shirley worked as a nurse for Dr. John Smyth for 33 years, and later worked as a Nursing Assistant Registered (NAR) at Glencoe Regional Health Services for seven years, where she now volunteers at the gift shop.
“I don’t think of the word ‘volunteer’ when I do stuff,” Shirley commented. “I’m just serving someone where I can be of help because God has given me the ability to do so.”
Shirley’s newest volunteer venture is with an aphasia support group through St. Mary’s Care Center in Winsted.
The group helps stroke, brain tumor, and brain injury patients who can’t speak.
“They respond well, and realize they’re not alone,” Shirley noted. “It’s such a rewarding time.”
WCCO used four words to describe her: supportive, friendly, devoted, and compassionate.