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To serve, with love; Sue Braun is elected president of United Way

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First in Fargo and then in Detroit Lakes, Sue Braun has been a United Way volunteer for more than 20 years now.

"It takes a huge amount of people to make the United Way happen," says the Detroit (Michigan) native. "It's an incredible organization."

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Braun says the board of the United Way of Becker County is "one of my favorite boards to serve on -- it's probably the most work, and yet the easiest, in the sense that everybody works together."

Never has Braun been more aware of that spirit of cooperation than this year, after being named as the organization's 2008-09 president.

"Our community is so incredible," she says. "Even under adverse conditions of their own, the people of this community are willing donate time, talent and money through payroll, mail in, from their business and at the Community Celebration (which replaced the organization's residential fund raising drive several years ago).

"The needs of our community are growing each year and only through an organization like the United Way are they able to serve so many through their donation."

Braun, who is employed as a senior living counselor at St. Mary's Innovis Health, has served on the Board of Directors and chaired several of the committees prior to her election as president.

"I am totally humbled by the opportunity of serving the community as the president of the board of the United Way of Becker County," she says. "I was very honored to be asked.

"Our theme for this year is 'Community Matters; Live United,' and I truly believe that Becker County is the epitome of this statement. We have an excellent board of directors and many committee members -- but we can't do it without the support of the community...

"I promise you that I will do all that I can to serve you and our community for the good of all, to the best of my ability. With the work of our volunteer board and your support, I know we will succeed."

"Becker County's economy continues to change, and this requires us to constantly evaluate how we raise funds, how we distribute donations, and how needs are changing. I look forward to look forward to working with Sue as this process continues," says LuAnn Porter, executive director of the United Way of Becker County.

"She is an enthusiastic leader who is dedicated to investing leadership, time and talent to address community needs that will have a positive impact on the quality of life for the citizens of Becker County."

This year, 2008, is the chapter's 25th anniversary, and Braun says part of their focus this year will be to honor those who have built the organization to what it is today.

One of the reasons for its continued success, Braun believes, is that the local United Way "holds in high esteem any contribution made, and spends it wisely, to make it as beneficial as possible to the whole community."

The fund-raising goal for this year is $220,000, and while Braun realizes this is an ambitious number, she feels it is an achievable one.

Braun and her husband, Gerald Schumacher, have been residents of the Detroit Lakes community for 20 years. A graduate of Eastern Michigan University, she worked for CFS Continental, an institutional food distribution service, for 20 years before being named as the executive director of the Downtown Business Association in Fargo.

She held that position for 16 years -- and commuted from Detroit Lakes to Fargo every day for most of that time. In 2001, she went to work for St. Mary's Regional Health Center (now St. Mary's Innovis Health) in Detroit Lakes.

Other board officers who will serve with Braun this year include Denise Eggebraaten (Wells Fargo), president elect; Sally Askelson (Herzog Roofing), secretary; Katie Lundmark (Sunnyside Care Center), treasurer.

New board members who were named to three-year terms this spring include Joy Crouch, Hospice of the Red River Valley - Lakes Office; Sam Rufer, Pemberton Law Firm; and Kara Berger, youth representative.

"Joy, Sam and Kara will be excellent additions to our board," said Porter.

"Their concern for our community and enthusiasm about serving on the board and taking on new challenges will help keep our board energized and focused on achieving our goals and taking the United Way of Becker County to an even higher level of success."

For more information on the United Way of Becker County contact your United Way office at 846-7400.

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Vicki Gerdes
Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers and editor of MN Boomers magazine for the past 13 years. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.
(218) 847-3151
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