Volunteer spotlight: Tree farmers plant seeds of goodness
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Gary and Stacy Albertson have spent much of their lives planting seeds at their Christmas tree farm in Fergus Falls, Minn.
The father-daughter team also plants seeds of goodness in their community. Together they volunteer at the Fergus Falls Salvation Army, organizing and distributing food donations every week.
Gary, 78, has been volunteering for The Salvation Army for two decades. He started helping out after he began attending church at the Fergus Falls Salvation Army in the early 2000s.
“I’d been to a few churches in town – but when I came here, I fell in love with it,” he recalled. “The Salvation Army does a lot of good in the community and I was interested in that.”
Over the years, Gary has also volunteered his expertise in small engine repair.
“I’ve fixed The Salvation Army’s snowblowers and worked on their cars and trucks,” said Gary, who spent years as the owner/operator of a local auto shop.
Gary also supports The Salvation Army financially, donating $2 from the sale of every tree at his family’s tree farm.
“I’ve been doing that for 20 years,” he said.
His daughter, Stacy, works at the tree farm and also as a piler operator at a local agriculture company. She got hooked on The Salvation Army because of Gary.
“He raised me on helping others,” the 52-year-old said.
In addition to distributing food at the Fergus Falls Salvation Army, Stacy recently started volunteering at The Salvation Army’s thrift store in the nearby city of Henning, where she stocks and sorts donations.
“It makes me feel good to help people,” she said. “I love to meet people and hear their stories.”
With help from Gary and Stacy, the Fergus Falls Salvation Army distributes dozes of food boxes every week and serves about 50 hot meals every weekday.
“Without their support, we wouldn’t be able to do nearly as much here,” said Lt. Anthony Nordan, leader of the Fergus Falls Salvation Army. “They work hard and welcome everyone. They are the smile that everyone sees.”