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Volunteer honor to Vonnie

By Staff | Oct 31, 2014


The Rugby Area Chamber of Commerce’s Volunteer of the Month for October is Vonnie Degenstein. With her resume, you might as well consider her for a volunteer hall of fame.

Degenstein, director of the Pierce County Food Pantry for 34 years running, doesn’t stop with that one volunteer responsibility. Since retiring from The Tribune in 1999 after 30 years, Degenstein has served on the Community Action Partnership board in Minot (serving seven counties), and as the Heart of America Medical Center Auxiliary board treasurer.

For 15 years, she’s delivered Meals on Wheels every Monday from November through April. Degenstein has also delivered Christmas food baskets. For 12 years, she’s made donuts for the long-term care center residents every other week. For 10 years, Degenstein has served on the Pierce Relay for Life planning committee, and helped lead the relay’s silent auctions.

“As long as I’ve been around and I’ve been around forever, Vonnie’s been an amazing volunteer,” said Laurie Odden, Relay for Life specialist. “If you ever have questions, she can get you where you need to be.”

The seemingly busy workload doesn’t faze Degenstein, who is very appreciative of the chamber’s honor.

“I’m a very active person,” she said. “I can’t stand to sit still, but I?enjoy it all.

“It feels great. We all like to be appreciated.?When you know you are being appreciated it probably makes you work harder.”

Degenstein is quick to point out that her volunteering takes help from many other volunteers, especially with the food pantry. Her husband Phil is often right alongside.

“With a lot of my volunteering, it’s great because Phil and I can do it together,” she said. “Also, I?appreciate the high school. Whenver we have a truck (of food), they’ll bring a class to help unload. Over the years, we would’ve had to quit because of how heavy everything is.”

The Degensteins have two grown children: Patricia, a care center nurse in Thief River Falls, Minn.; and Tim, a master plumber, of Loveland, Colo.

Phil also was a master plumber, for 24 years in Rugby, and served in the National Guard for 27 years.

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