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Government Center employees wrap gifts for local children

Members of the EET committee stand beside some of the gifts collected by Nobles County employees Thursday afternoon at the Government Center in Worthington. (Brian Korthals/Daily Globe)

WORTHINGTON — Forty-one Nobles County children will have a brighter holiday this Christmas with gifts courtesy of county employees.

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On Thursday, during a holiday gathering at the Nobles County Government Center, employees delivered wrapped packages and gift bags filled with clothing and toys for local kids. The project was spearheaded by the county’s Employee Empowerment Team (EET) as a way to give back to the communities they serve.

“We all work for the county, we all work for the people, we all get paid tax dollars,” said Rocky Kolar, EET chair. “This is a little gesture of good will. We know there are others who are less fortunate.”

The EET consists of 12 members — one representing each of the departments in county government. Those team members built up support in their department and encouraged participation.

In the public works department, Kolar said employees took up a collection. He and his wife went shopping last weekend to fulfill the wish lists of three children.

Southwestern Minnesota Opportunity Council provided basic information, such as gender of child, age and clothing size, and it was up to county employees to decide what to purchase and how much they wanted to spend.

“Our people were very generous,” Kolar said. “I’m very happy to see what we have (collected).”

Colleen Houselog, an EET member from Nobles County Community Services, said she was also pleased with participation in that department.

“Each child got about three gifts,” she said. “They asked for clothing; we thought it would be best that they have a toy to open as well.”

In the Nobles County Jail, four sergeants teamed up to purchase gifts for a 1- and 2-year-old boy and a 9-year-old girl.

“It was difficult to buy for children, but I had some help from staff,” said Jail Sgt. Adam Bohrer, adding that the gift collection was a good program.

“As public servants, it’s our responsibility to give back to the community, so this was a nice opportunity to do that,” he said.

“It’s hard to shop for someone that you don’t know,” added Morgan Woodbury, who works in Rock-Nobles Community Corrections. Seven employees in that department participated in buying gifts.

All of the gifts that were collected Thursday will be gathered by the Southwestern Minnesota Opportunity Council for distribution prior to Christmas.

Julie Buntjer
Julie Buntjer joined the Daily Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington and graduate of Worthington High School, then-Worthington Community College and South Dakota State University, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. At the Daily Globe, Julie covers the agricultural beat, as well as Nobles County government, watersheds, community news and feature stories. In her spare time, she enjoys needlework (cross-stitch and hardanger embroidery), reading, travel, fishing and spending time with family. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at
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