Quilt, 'tribute to the human spirit,' inspires LWV member
BY CAROL ASHLEY
LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS PARK RAPIDS
At an August gathering of the Park Rapids League of Women Voters, members were asked, "Why did you join League?"
Pat Alberg had requested to take a bit more time and tell the group a story.
Pat had been talked into running for Hubbard County Commissioner after dealing with water quality issues on area lakes and getting the Coalition of Lake Associations formed. It was while she was commissioner that she discovered how badly the area needed housing help for impoverished people.
After her term ended, the commissioners asked her to determine the need for a new Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) in Hubbard County, which she had fought for as commissioner. The Hubbard County HRA was formed by commissioners and the first HRA commissioners asked Pat to serve as administrator. Pat served for four years, the first two with no compensation.
During her time at HRA, a retired gentleman came asking for some help with their cabin. Pat went out to see what they needed. What she saw was a 6-by-8-foot shack with bare studs. It was so tight that the woman couldn't turn her wheelchair around but could only go in or out.
They had one very small table, two chairs, a bed, a pot-bellied stove for cooking and heating, and no running water with a pump outside. The gentleman had to carry his wife out to use the outhouse. There was one bare 60-watt light bulb and no windows. The gentleman joked that they had to hurry up to fall asleep in the winter because of the cold.
This couple had lost all their savings due to medical bills. The husband wanted a loan but couldn't get one from any bank because his debt ratio was too high. He wanted a loan and was sure he could pay it back.
Pat got the wheels in motion for this couple. Even before they were moved into their new home, the husband came by one day and brought a quilt to Pat in appreciation for what Pat was doing for them. With one light bulb and no room to turn around in their shack, the wife had lovingly made a beautiful hand sewn quilt for Pat.
Pat said she felt a little guilty having this quilt just for herself because it wasn't just her efforts that got this couple their livable home. She finished her story by saying, "The League of Women Voters was my inspiration, my go-to people."
Pat had just given back that inspiration.