Healthy Communities Collaborative hires part-time coordinator

A former Lutheran pastor, who also has management experience in for-profit and non-profit organizations, has been hired to coordinate activities for the Morrison County Healthy Communities Collaborative. This not-for-profit organization, funded by St. Gabriel’s Hospital, Morrison County, and other generous partners, is a county-wide effort addressing health issues.

Don Ludemann has more than 20 years experience performing community outreach, team building, marketing, problem solving and public relations activities. His education and work experience is impressive and varied.

“I served parishes in St. Peter and Grand Marais and did my internship at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in St Cloud,” he said. “I have always enjoyed working with people, and I plan to put my listening skills and management experience to use in Morrison County as well.”

The coordinator is a half-time position that will work with the collaborative’s board and many county residents who volunteer to participate. The community health survey, currently underway, is just the beginning of activities the coordinator will oversee. Ludemann asks that households that received the easy-to-complete survey (mailed to a random sample of 1,400 Morrison County residents) return it as soon as possible.

“This is a very important source of information for our efforts; we’d like you to share your thoughts and feelings about the health of Morrison County,” he said.

Ludemann earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Foreign Service from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Washington, DC. He also has a Master of Divinity degree from Luther Northwestern Theological Seminary in St. Paul, and a Master of International Management degree from the American Graduate School of International Management in Glendale, AZ. He was a Fulbright scholar in the early 1980s.

After leaving parish ministry, Ludemann held several management positions with the Pillsbury Company in the mid-1990s, and most recently has been self-employed as a consultant to non-profit charitable and civic organizations.

Ludemann and his wife live in Pierz. He began his new responsibilities for the collaborative in mid-January and is learning all he can about the position and our communities.

“I think part of the role for the Healthy Communities Collabora-tive coordinator is to help communities understand their strengths and challenges, to be more aware of the breadth of the entire county, not just one or two cities,” Ludemann said. “Our county is fairly large geographically and, while not especially diverse in regard to people of color, it is diverse in that we have farmers, retirees, business owners, folks who work in St. Cloud and Brainerd, etc. I think it’s much more diverse than it at first appears.”

He’s looking forward to jumping right into the effort.

“I look at every situation as a ‘learning from people’ opportunity” he said. “Connecting with people and understanding them has been a key to whatever success I’ve enjoyed in my life.” He plans to continue connecting with people. “I hope to visit every church, attend a meeting of every civic organization, all over the county just to get their perspectives on the issues relevant to their lives,” Ludemann said. “I expect it to be very rewarding to me personally and to the collaborative’s goals.”

For more information about the Healthy Communities Collaborative, or to join a task force, leave a message for Ludemann at 320-632-1198.

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