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Heltemes runner-up for state award

Photos provided Paul Sailer, Human Services director, Carol Heltemes, financial worker, and Bill Stearns, Wadena County Board chairman, were on hand for the presentation of Heltemes's award.

On Oct. 20, Carol Heltemes was awarded the Minnesota Financial Worker-Case Aide Association Worker of the Year Runner-Up. The award was given to her by Wadena County Board Chair Bill Stearns.

Carol was nominated by her co-worker, Social Worker Linda Kirk in the following letter:

"Carol Heltemes is a Rock Star! After 20 years working as a financial worker in Wadena County, Carol thought she had seen and heard everything; that is until the June 17 tornado ripped through her community. Besides the increased volume of work at the agency that follows such a disaster, Carol volunteered approximately 50 hours between June 17 and June 29. Carol made and served meals at St. Ann's Church for the victims and sympathetically listened to many 'storm stories.'

"Over the past 20 years, Carol has learned and implemented any and all financial programs. Carol recently accepted a unique opportunity to serve as the financial worker at the Tri-County Hospital satellite office. With Carol's vast knowledge of social programs she has become an asset in that position. This new challenge has brought a smile, a spring in her step, a new dress code, and a renewed energy for her work.

"I personally work well with Carol; she is approachable, knowledgeable, and willing to go that extra distance to answer my questions or to re-direct my energies to the appropriate resources. I carry a heavy caseload and oftentimes need an answer sooner than later; she never fails to act quickly.

"One cannot complete this picture without mentioning Carol's involvement with her community of Wadena. For the past 18 years, Carol has been involved with the Cub Scouts/Boy Scouts locally, she teaches religion classes, and serves on her Parish Council. Carol has opened her home to five different foreign exchange students in the past nine years. Wadena County and the City of Wadena are fortunate to call Carol one of their own."

Another financial worker, Cheryl Hahn, was also nominated for this award and her coworkers were very complimentary of her work with the elderly and Long Term Care facilities as well.