Rod and Linda Harren are often found at Holdingford Daze helping with various activities.

This year, the Harrens will be adding one more thing to their lists of responsibilities for the town festival, as they are the 2018 Holdingford Outstanding Senior Citizens. 

Throughout “The Old West” celebration, July 13-14, the Harrens will proudly represent their title as they volunteer at bingo and partake in the parade. 

“It’s an honor to be rewarded for the time we put into our community,” Rod said about receiving the award. 

Linda agreed.

“We like to stay busy and that’s why we do all these things,” she said. “We don’t do any of this for the attention, but it’s nice that people recognize what we do. We appreciate it.”

Every year, Helping Hands Outreach presents the award to seniors who are seen as notable assets in the community.

Both Rod and Linda have a rich history of involvement in the Holdingford area community. 

Over the years, Rod has served as a member of the Stearns County Mounted Reserve Unit, on the board of directors for Helping Hands Outreach, as one of the construction captains for the school playground project, and numerous positions with St. Columbkille Church in St. Wendel.

He currently drives for the senior outreach center, helps with Meals on Wheels in Albany, and serves as treasurer for the local Lions chapter. 

Likewise, Linda’s list of service to the community is as equally detailed. 

Not only did she dedicate more than 20 years as a teacher in the Holdingford School District, but Linda also helped kick-start the post-prom event, was a chairperson of the recently developed Holdingford Huskers’ Hall of Fame, a board member for the town’s senior outreach center and member of both school playground projects. 

Today, Linda also helps provide meals to town residents and is on the board for the Mother of Mercy Foundation in Albany.

“Helping others is a way to build relationships and socialize with people in the community,” Linda said.

While retirement has allowed the Harrens to invest more time into serving others, volunteering is an act the couple hopes to have instilled in their own children. 

“As a teacher, it was only natural to volunteer and want to keep doing so after leaving the classroom,” said Linda, who focused much of her time as a kindergarten teacher. 

When the couple moved to the Holdingford area to raise their family, they made a point to participate in the booster club, post-prom committee and support their children’s extracurricular activities. 

Now, they are watching their children take on similar responsibilities in raising a family. 

“It’s gratifying … and volunteering makes me feel less selfish,” Rod said. “I can see how what I do impacts other people’s lives, and I’m glad I can help.”

The Harrens are most looking forward to the parade on Saturday evening for Holdingford Daze. 

“We get an honorary position in the parade,” Rod said, smiling. 

The Harrens will take part in the festivity with their horse, Tommy, and a buggy as their mode of transportation, fitting in well with this year’s theme. 

 As the Harrens reflect on the work they have done leading up to being named Holdingford Outstanding Senior Citizens, the couple is humbled and looks forward to many more years of service to their community.

“Volunteering is a way to keep Holdingford vibrant and a better place to live,” Linda said. “Volunteering is vital.”