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Cloquet police chief placed on leave

Volunteer Highlight: Leola Rodd

We all have two choices — watch things happen or make things happen. This month’s highlighted volunteer, Leola Rodd, opted for the second choice. She chose to step up to the plate, working to make things a little better for our community. What began as an avocation became a lifelong ambition.

Rodd, a longtime Carlton resident, began volunteering when her children were young. Like many parents, she began by supporting the activities her children were involved in. Thus began a 40-plus-year service relationship with the Carlton Hockey Association, now the Four Seasons Sports Complex, and the community of Carlton as a whole.

So what does volunteering to “make things a little better” look like? While the answer to this will vary from individual to individual, for Rodd it has in part looked something like this: helping to establish and promote a facility for local youth hockey and other events, helping sponsor an event that provides scholarship funds, knowing a child in need has a warm hat and mittens for winter, to making a Christmas gift under the tree a reality for the child of a parent struggling to make ends meet.

No matter the project, Rodd is quick to note she is just one cog in the wheel. She emphasizes it takes many, many people and community partners working together to make these things happen. She notes the “best thing about volunteering is putting forth a lot of hard work to see successful and positive results.”

As with all people, needs and roles change through the years. For Rodd it is no different. Regarding some of the more involved service activities, she says it is a season of transition for her, noting it is time now to let others step up to the plate. She will, however, continue to be involved in the community. One of the more laid-back activities she enjoys is helping with pizza day for the Special Education Department at Carlton High School. And, as when her husband, Robert, was alive, she will continue sharing the Christmas spirit by putting up a beautiful display of holiday lights and decorations for the community to enjoy. Rodd is looking forward to relaxing more by taking time for sewing, cooking for others, and going thrifting with her sister.

Rodd enjoys meeting new people, and has a ready smile to brighten others’ days. Though everyone may not be able to participate in the ways, or to the extent, she has had opportunity to do, she reminds us we all have something we can do… “A smile is a gift you can give away, and it does not cost you anything.”  That in itself can make a big impact in our community. Thank you, Leola, for all you have done and continue to do.

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