By Tara Mathews
LESTER PRAIRIE, MN Prairie Days 2015 Honorary Senior Citizens Vernon and Elaine Briesemeister don’t volunteer for recognition, nor do they expect it.
Vernon and Elaine will be riding in the Prairie Days parade Saturday, July 11 at 6 p.m. in Lester Prairie.
“We were shocked when we got the letter that we were chosen as Honorary Senior Citizens,” Elaine said. “We were just doing what we thought we should do.”
“We really never expected it,” Vernon noted.
The Briesemeisters have been volunteering for Lester Prairie festivals since the very beginning of Longhorn Days, which is what Lester Prairie’s town festival was called before Prairie Days.
Both volunteer for Lester Prairie Senior Citizen Club, Meals on Wheels, Community Chest, Aid Association for Lutherans, and for many events at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Lester Prairie.
The couple also helped with the town’s centennial celebration and all-school reunion; not to mention, they are very active members of the local American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary.
Elaine helped take the school census, taught Sunday school at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church for many years, volunteers for Sandwich Ministries, and has been an active member of church choir and the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League for more than 55 years.
Vernon was also “King of McLeod County” in 2011.
A piece of history
Vernon grew up in New Germany, but Elaine is a Lester Prairie native.
“I lived in Lester Prairie all of my life, except for three years when we lived in New Germany,” Elaine stated.
The couple has been married for 63 years.
They have six children: LaJean Hoof, Gary Briesemeister, Marjorie Herrmann, Kathy Briesemeister, Brian Briesemeister, and Scott Briesemeister; 12 grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren.
Vernon worked at Sterner Industries in Winsted for 37 years, and Elaine took care of their family.
While working, raising their family, and volunteering, the couple still found time to bowl on a league for 50 years.
They were also charter members of the Hi Low Camper Club for 17 years.
Between all the other events and organizations, the couple also found time to attend nearly every high school sporting event their grandchildren were involved in.
“We love to watch the grandchildren with whatever they are doing,” Elaine noted. “Not only sports, but musicals, plays, and National Honor Society. We went to all of our children’s events, also.”
“We follow the local high school sports, still,” Vernon commented. “Football, basketball, and baseball.”
Although Vernon likes high school sports, he expressed a wish for a town baseball league to return to Lester Prairie.
“We used to have a city league in Lester Prairie,” Vernon reminisced. “Just like in Winsted.”
He used to enjoy watching the games, he said.
“But, I think people lost interest, or maybe they just went to Winsted’s team,” Vernon joked.