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Woldens picked to join Crew52 volunteers

Wayne and Lori Wolden of Wadena were among the 10,000 volunteers chosen for Crew52, the official volunteer force who are helping the more than one million visitors expected to visit the Twin Cities this week for Super Bowl LII. Submitted Photo

Wayne and Lori Wolden made the cut, and it got them a job last weekend on former Minnesota linebacker Chad Greenway's Crew52 in downtown Minneapolis.

The Wadena couple were part of a group of 10,000 volunteers who are hosting more than one million visitors this week during the Super Bowl LII (Super Bowl 52) festivities in the Twin Cities. More than 30,000 applied to be volunteers.

"We submitted online back in August, we were interviewed in September and then it took quite a while for them to assemble their volunteer teams," Wayne said. "As far as I know we were two of very few from our immediate area."

While the Woldens met and worked with people from Detroit Lakes, Duluth and Moorhead, they also rubbed shoulders with a retired principal from southern Minnesota, a woman from Florida and a group from the Netherlands.

"The fun connection was that we all visited between each other and got to know new people and found out the world is still quite small when it comes to people knowing of Wadena," Wayne said, adding that there were volunteers there from 40 of the 50 states in the United States.

The Woldens stayed with Lori's sister in a northern suburb of the Twin Cities and beat the crush of traffic by taking public transit from Northtown for their shifts Friday and Saturday at the volunteer headquarters on Nicollet Avenue and Seventh Street, just a short distance from U.S. Bank Stadium.

The volunteer experience put the Woldens right in the middle of one of the world's largest sporting events as it began.

"Super Bowl Live, the concerts, the NFL booths, there were news channels and it all started last Friday," Wolden said.

The Woldens were assigned to work three five-hour shifts. They both worked a double shift Friday and then returned Saturday for their final shift. The Woldens checked volunteers in, made sure they had their credentials and then sent them to the event's volunteer captains who assigned them to their duties. Lori also helped with providing snacks and beverages.

The Woldens have done their bit, and Wayne said they will not be returning to the Twin Cities this week.

The Woldens did not bump into New England quarterback Tom Brady, but they did meet Greenway, a retired Minnesota standout who is the face of the gigantic volunteer effort.

"He was running all around," Wayne said.

The New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles meet Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium, but the football game is only the climax to a week that is expected to bring many millions of dollars into the Twin Cities.