Holy Rosary Church in Detroit Lakes, MN
Bob and Irene Braukmann are two of the most selfless, giving people I’ve ever known. They truly live the Catholic faith and qualities and have raised their children and grandchildren to be equally selfless. Bob and Irene are quietly active in the Holy Rosary community, in our Catholic United council/Parish Volunteer Team, as well as in and around Detroit Lakes. Bob coordinates our Catholic United council/Parish Volunteer Team’s Adopt-a-Highway cleaning days twice per year, rounding up volunteers (heavy on his family members when needed), and performs extra work himself. Irene assists with calling others for this and other activities. Irene cooks meals for Lenten Soup Suppers each year, bakes bars and cookies for events all year, and serves at many of these functions. Both volunteer at church for anything needed – decorating the church for holidays, cleaning after events, filling open Adoration hours, serving as crossing guards at the annual Marathon for Nonpublic Education, pruning bushes and plants around the church and school campus, helping clean the parish basement to set it up for the youth group (that their daughter now runs), and many more activities than I can enumerate. Bob also frequently volunteers at a local day center for community members, Bob and Irene prepare and give food to those in need, they help at the local food pantry, they often drive people to Fargo (an hour each way) for medical treatments (2-3 times per week for a man undergoing cancer treatments – for at least two men that I am aware of over the past few years), assisting a local widow with car repairs, moving, donating, cleaning, etc. Bob works part-time in the maintenance area for affordable housing apartment buildings, and frequently helps residents with rides, work, and anything at all after he clocks out.
Bob and Irene are retired and in their mid-70’s, and both are more active than most people half their age – and they put that activity almost entirely to helping others every single day. They give of themselves, their time, talents, and money. When we try to give them gift cards as a thank you, they usually give those to someone else to get a meal. I’ve never known anyone so completely generous and giving as Bob and Irene.
Bob and Irene make a great team. When they see a need, they find a way to fill it. Their daughter became the Youth Coordinator at our church last year, and the space for youth activities was drab and uninviting. They worked with their daughter to clear out the worn furniture, fundraise to buy new items, clean and paint the space. It is now wonderfully inviting. When Irene is planning a Soup Supper, she calls around and asks for donations for specific food items needed, buys the missing ones herself, and lines up people to assist with cooking, serving, and cleaning. Bob is usually helping every step of the way. When they commit to something, we absolutely know it will be done, and done well. They usually fulfill the volunteer hours for their grandkids at school and help them find donations for fundraisers to get close to or at the top level. They demonstrate this every day and their grandkids are usually around helping too.
Anyone at Holy Rosary could testify to the selfless giving of Bob and Irene. When we discussed possible nominees for this volunteer award, everyone present immediately said Bob & Irene – no other candidates could compare!
Lauretta Kapphahn is a teacher at Holy Rosary Catholic School and also a leader on our CUF PVT. Lauretta sees Bob and Irene helping at the school and church regularly. Becky King, our CUF sales rep, also sees Bob & Irene helping often. Many service-related events just would not occur without Bob and Irene’s leadership or service.