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Isle man makes big donation to Salvation Army

A Brainerd Dispatch news story last week recounting a plea by the Brainerd Salvation Army to help fill their food shelves inspired an Isle man to donate $1,000 on Tuesday.

Dale Siems, 87, of Isle, made the donation and also brought in about 50 pounds of food according to Linda Loftis, food shelf coordinator for the Brainerd Salvation Army.

Siems, an Iowa transplant who moved to Minnesota about two years ago, said he periodically would donate $20 to Salvation Army or other charities but decided to make a bigger donation when he read that the Salvation Army was having trouble keeping enough food on its food shelves to keep up with demand. He said he liked knowing that his money was going to someone who was deserving.

"When you give a $1,000 you know it's going to help poor people," Siems said.

Loftis said the gift is particularly timely since the Salvation Army is receiving a proportional match for contributions made during the month of July. She said she had also received other generous donations after the publication of the news story.

"It's just been wonderful," Loftis said. "I can't tell you how much we appreciate it and how much we needed it. It's been individuals, businesses. Everyone has been responding."

Keeping food on the food shelves is a priority, Loftis said, but there have been times when they've had to ask families to come back the next day when a delivery is scheduled.

Siems, who worked for 54 years in Iowa at a garden nursery that supplied other businesses with tree shrubs and flowering bushes, said he wasn't trying to act like a white knight but that he was inspired by the news story and hoped his example would encourage others to give.

"My middle name is encouragement," he said. "I try to encourage people."

Mike O'Rourke
Mike O'Rourke began his career at the Brainerd Dispatch in 1978 as a general assignment reporter. He was named city editor in 1981 and associate editor in 1999. He covers politics and writes features and editorials.
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