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Donahue wins 3Mgives Volunteer Award

Kim Donahue of Park Rapids is a recipient of this year's 3Mgives Volunteer Award. Donahue, customer service supervisor at the company's Wonewok Conference Center in Lake Emma Township, is one of 29 recipients of the 2018 award. The award has been...

Kim Donahue
Kim Donahue
Jeremy Simonson

Kim Donahue of Park Rapids is a recipient of this year's 3Mgives Volunteer Award.

Donahue, customer service supervisor at the company's Wonewok Conference Center in Lake Emma Township, is one of 29 recipients of the 2018 award.

The award has been given annually for 32 years, celebrating 3M personnel whose volunteerism "improved lives in the areas of education, community or the environment."

"I put my heart and soul into the community," Donahue said when asked to comment on her award. "I love this community. Volunteerism is my life balance. If you ever feel like you're having a bad day and you go out and volunteer, just bringing a smile to one person's face makes it all worthwhile."

According to a 3M media release, Donahue was honored for her involvement in many community groups and organizations, including the Park Rapids Parks and Beautification Board, Park Rapids Lions Club, ACTION Park Rapids, Living At Home of the Park Rapids Area board, and Park Rapids Downtown Business Association (DBA).

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Donahue added that, through her involvement with the board of 3M's Greater Minnesota Community Relations Committee (GMCRC), she has been able to steer funding to local organizations like Kinship, the FATHER Project, the Northern Lights Opera Company and the Park Rapids Education and Activities Foundation. She has helped annually with the FATHER Project's Daddy-Daughter Dance, now in its third year.

"It's really an exciting event to be a part of," said Donahue. "I used to do a lot of party planning, so to be able to dive in and help that group with such a great event has truly been a blessing."

She was also instrumental in connecting teachers at Park Rapids Area Schools with 3M money through the Donorschoose website, where classroom projects are posted online.

Being on the GMCRC board has given Donahue opportunities to spot needs in the community and direct funding to them. "I am fortunate to be on that committee," she said. "That's what led me to a lot of my volunteerism. Whenever I am able to secure a grant or support money from 3M to the community, I try to volunteer with those ventures."

As part of a group chosen by the community to attend a community leadership training retreat offered by the Blandin Foundation, Donahue also took part in the development of ACTION Park Rapids and the Volunteer Park Rapids website.

"That was a great learning experience," she said about the Blandin retreat, "and a realization that the community does value my input and volunteerism."

Donahue moved to Park Rapids in 2011, after previously serving as a contract worker for Aramark Food Service at the 3M Center in Shakopee.

Her first taste of service to the Park Rapids community came in 2013 when Katie Magozzi, then executive director of the Park Rapids Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce, approached Wonewok for help.

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"She asked our boss if we would be interested in helping with the community dinner on the final night of the Governor's Fishing Opener," Donahue recalled. "My boss gave me his blessing. That was my introduction to the community, and it just escalated from there."

Asked how she feels about the award, Donahue said, "I was very excited to see that it happened. If it wasn't for the people of Park Rapids, I wouldn't be getting this award."

She was nominated for the award by co-worker Sheila Caswell, whose letter notes that Donahue has devoted a total of at least 100 to 120 hours per month.

Caswell also noted that:

• Through the GMCRC, Donahue also brought support to Friends of the Library, the Park Rapids Community Development Corporation, the Hubbard County Developmental Achievement Center and the Nevis robotics team.

• With ACTION Park Rapids, she has helped at the annual chili cook-off to benefit the Hubbard County Food Shelf and promoted workforce development, opioid and drug addiction awareness, Adverse Childhood Experiences awareness.

• Through the DBA, Donahue played a role in supporting the 2nd Street Stage, Legends and Logging Days and Crazy Days.

• Her in-kind, fundraising, donations and volunteer time have also benefited Kinship, the FATHER Project, the food shelf, Disabled American Veterans, Hubbard County law enforcement, hospital and community health projects and functions, the Feed My Starving Children program and the Park Rapids Relay for Life survivor luncheon.

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"Giving is part of Kim's narrative," wrote Caswell. "It fulfills her and provides a greater sense of purpose through each organization she supports."

Supporting Caswell's nomination letter were testimonials written by Park Rapids School Board member Stephanie Carlson, Alternative Living Center coordinator Lisa Coborn, and DBA co-chair Cynthia Jones.

"I am so blessed to work for a company that embraces the efforts of community volunteerism and involvement," said Donahue. "I am thankful that I am a part of this community, and look forward to growth and change."

Robin Fish is a staff reporter at the Park Rapids Enterprise. Contact him at rfish@parkrapidsenterprise.com or 218-252-3053.
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