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Ecumen’s Mattson receives Volunteer of the Year Award

Grace Mattson, center, was recently the recipient of the Aging Services of Minnesota Volunteer of the Year Award for 2014. Presenting her with the award were Ecumen chaplain Vicki Marthaler and clinical director Cheryl Krause. SUBMITTED PHOTO

A volunteer at Ecumen-Detroit Lakes’ Emmanuel Nursing Home for more than eight years now, Grace Matson has made an indelible impression upon residents and staff alike.

Grace first became a regular visitor at Emmanuel when her mother-in-law Helen became a resident, after surviving a life-changing stroke.

As Helen adjusted to her new home, Grace helped her maintain a positive attitude with creative, home-spun therapies to help stimulate the affected parts of her brain.

Grace gradually began to reach out to the other residents at Emmanuel as well, helping to see to their shopping needs, bringing them outdoors into the sunshine, encouraging them to tell her their stories and even brings in homemade jellies and jams or fresh fruits from her orchard, helps deliver the mail and escorts residents to their appointments.

To honor her for the loving care that she lavishes upon Emmanuel and its residents, Ecumen nominated her for the Aging Services of Minnesota Volunteer of the Year Award — which she won.

“Grace enhances the quality of life for those who call Emmanuel Nursing Home their home,” said  Janet Green, executive director of Ecumen-Detroit Lakes, in nominating her for the award.

“She demonstrates eceptional commitment to supporting and assisting residents, their families and employees. Her volunteer duties take many forms, ranging from not being afraid to tell me things that are not right or could be better, to holding a resident’s hand so they know they are not alone.

“Grace also makes sure that meals are the ‘centerpiece’ of each person’s day,” Green added.

“I also love that she shops clearance sales to provide new or next-to-new clothing to brighten people’s day… we can always count on Grace to help when needed, 24/7.”