Jay’s Sporting Goods: Good Citizen Award - Farwell’s Jessie Theisen
By: Cody O’Rourke
With the presidential election season heating, we are inevitably faced with the state of the nation; we ask ourselves where we are heading, how it needs to be changed. Fingers point in all directions. Blame is shifted and the naysayers decry the state of youth.
But then we hear stories of the next generation setting aside the daily grind and pouring out their days for the benefits of others. Understanding their role in making the world a better place, they reach out into their own communities and beyond to address the problems at hand.
Farwell’s Jessie Theisen is yet another fine young lady who understands importance of self-sacrifice for others. Jessie recently spent a week in Grand Marais, Michigan with the Farwell United Methodist Church volunteering.
The Jack Pine Tribune recently sat down with Jessie to talk about her experiences and her philosophy on civic duty.
Jack Pine Tribune: So tell us a little bit about your trip to Grand Marais.
Jessie Theisen: It was a church mission through the Farwell United Methodist Church. We had a total of 11 people on the trip. There were five teens; Becca Howard, Caron White, Kendra Robison, Courtney English and I. We had six adults joining us from our church; Ruth Ann and Denny Wissinger, Lee and Nancy Eisenhauer, Kap Pasens, and Lois Denham. Since there is a lot of older people up in Grand Marais, we did a lot of work on things that they are just not capable of doing such as, washing windows, painting trusses, power washing decks, and digging a ditch for an electrical line. We also did two bigger projects, painted two houses! The smaller of the two was painted bubble gum pink for a 96 year old lady. She was so grateful!
JPT: But this mission trip isn’t the only way you’ve been active. Tell us some of the other ways you’ve worked in your community.
JT: At school I play several sports. I was involved in volleyball, and basketball but my knee injury kept me from playing softball. I also was in quiz bowl. At church I helped out with fundraising for our trip by selling hot dogs at Witbecks, and having Mission dinners at our church. I also volunteer at the chicken BBQ during Labor Day that our church puts on and I have also worked on Project Kids Christmas.
JPT: Who has inspired you to give back to the community?
JT: There are many, many people who inspire me to give back to my community, but the biggest influence is my family. They are always supportive in whatever I do, and I’m always wanting to make them proud.
JPT: What message would you give people to encourage them to make the world a better place?
JT: To encourage people to help make the world a better place, I would tell them about the compassion you get from the people you help. It’s like you gave them a miracle or something. You get such a sense of accomplishment and a feel good attitude, you just want to keep doing it. They are so appreciative, and thankful.
JPT: Who are the people that inspire you to become a better person?
JT: I don’t think there is a certain person who inspires me to be a better person, but there is a type of person who does. The type who is strong in their faith, confident in themselves, and happy to serve at any time of the day – those are the qualities that I look for. I think you can pick those types of people out just by walking by them down the street.
JPT: Name one time somebody went out of their way to give you a hand in your life.
JT: I can’t really think of a particular time someone has gone out of their way to help me but, through out my life there have been many people such as coaches, family members, and people from my church family who have helped push me to become who I am today. They’ve given me advice, criticism, confidence and much more to lead me where I am now.
JPT: What is one way that you’d like to change the world for the better ?
JT: One way I would like to change the world for the better is to help get the poverty rate down. Right now 15% of the people living in the U.S. live in poverty, and yet we are the wealthiest nation? I don’t get it.
JPT: Thanks Jessie, it’s always so refreshing when we are reminded that so many young people are working so diligently to make their little corner of the world a bit brighter.