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CALLERS THAT CARE — Telecare callers June Holmen and Marie Querna are ready for more area residents to join in on the free service that very well could save a life. (Star Eagle photo by Rachel Rietsema)


Staff Writer

A phone call every day keeps the Telecare subscribers okay. At least that’s what long-time callers, Marie Querna and June Holmen say.

“Telecare is a service provided by volunteers to check in with elderly every day, at no charge,” Querna said. “They are called six days of the week and can be called on Sunday if they want too.”

A service since 1976, Telecare has remained strong in its mission. No matter what obstacles stand in their way, they will prevail in the search for an area resident.

“Many years ago, we had a person we couldn’t find,” Holmen said. “I did a little calling to her next door neighbor. The neighbor walked across the street, hit on the windows and hollered, ‘are you ok?’"

She still remembers as plain as day, the big sack of rhubarb placed between the resident’s back door. Fishy as all get out, she drove to Budachs to find a close relative of the missing person.

“I must have looked scared when I walked in the door,” Holmen said. “She said, ‘what’s the matter? It looks like you’ve seen a ghost.’ I said, ‘I think I have.’"

Pale-faced, she wrote down the cell phone number of another relative whom could perhaps help with the matter. A few rings later, it was learned that “grandma had gone to a college graduation.”

“Even if we have to hunt the world, we are going to find them,” Holmen said. “I don’t care how hard it is.”

Holmen and Querna’s quest for care isn’t done all in their dialing alone. Eighteen volunteer callers claim different days of the month.

“These days, we just have seven elderly people that are called,” Holmen said. Querna added, “We are always looking for people to request and carry out our services.”

Area residents with little or no direct connections close by are great candidates for Telecare. It’s not something to be embarrassed about. It might actually save a life.

“Right now, we don’t have anyone that wants to be called on Sunday, but we will call if they want us to,” Holmen said.

Upholding such a long-lived, respected reputation doesn’t always come easy. Querna and Holmen both confer to the volunteers how important it is that they call and get an answer.

“We are afraid somebody might be laying there if we don’t do our job,” Holmen said. “We don’t want that record. We’ve never had it in all these years.”

These Telecare representatives’ greatest hope is to see this service’s participant number soar. Quite frankly, reaching their thirty-five number mark once more would tickle them pink.

“Marie and I live alone and sometimes we think we should be put on there too,” Holmen said. Querna added, “In any case, those that use our service we encourage to let us know beforehand when they will be out of town or busy.”

Clearly, those receiving and considering this service can rest assured that Telecare really does live up to its name.

“Sometimes, we talk until we run out of breath with some of them,” Holmen said. “You could never tell another person how grateful they are.”Querna added, “They always say, ‘have a good day.’”

For further information, they extend an invitation to call them right at home. Querna can be reached at 507-465-3432. Holmen will answer to 507-465-3778

“We could use some more callers,” Holmen said. “Also, if we are going to call 6, 7, 8 people already, we might as well call more.”

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