When Nancy Palubicki announced she was relocating to Colorado from Pelican Rapids, the Pelican Rapids Public Library lost one of its most steadfast volunteers. In fact, there was serious concern that the highly successful truckload book sales wouldn’t continue without her. Thankfully, another “extreme” volunteer Ruth Holmgren stepped up to the plate.
Palubicki, right, is passing the keys to Holmgren following the last day of the book sales, August 27.
Bidding farewell to dedicated volunteer Nancy Palubicki were these friends, at a small gathering at the Muddy Moose Aug. 28.
Nancy is in the foreground, with Joan Ellison, Barb Leger, Joyce Burnham, Kathy Knutson, Paulette Nettestad, Glenys Ehlert, Jill Preston, Ruth Holmgren, and Mary Kay Babb.

There was little fanfare with the departure of quiet, dedicated community activist; but you’ll miss her–even if it isn’t immediately evident 

A dedicated, but quiet, community volunteer was delivered a fond farewell with a rather modest affair at the Muddy Moose Aug. 28. 

For a 23-year resident of Pelican Rapids who has volunteered extensively, though largely behind-the-scenes, “modest” is precisely Nancy Palubicki’s cup of tea.  

“I like to be back in the kitchen,” laughed Palubicki, at a small gathering of friends and volunteer colleagues.  Gifts, cups of coffee and a bunch of smiles were exchanged. But there was no brass band, confetti and glitter, or a mayor’s proclamation.  

Palubicki has been an indispensable volunteer as a Friend of the Pelican Rapids Public Library; the Pelican Multi-Cultural Committee; and other volunteer activities.  She served on the Welcome Place board, and was a member of the D.A.R Fergus Falls chapter.  Though not as well known in today’s world, a couple centuries removed from the U.S. colonial era, D.A.R. is the Daughters of the American Revolution.  She traces her ancestry to Daniel Boone, and well before we rebelled against Great Britain.  

For17 years of her most active volunteering–Palubicki and her husband Duane welcomed more than 30 young people into their home as foster parents. Many of those children had special–and demanding– needs. 

“I attended the Blandin Leadership program, and I told one of the leaders ‘you have the wrong person–I like to be back there in the kitchen,’” said Palubicki, of the community leadership training program, of which there are numerous Pelican area graduates.  “The leader noted ‘remember, all those people fighting for the microphone also need to eat,’” recalled Palubicki. “I’ve always prefered to work behind the scenes.” 

At the Pelican Library’s popular book truck sale, Nancy recently “passed the keys” to Ruth Holmgren–who will keep the rig loaded and sales counter hopping next summer. Nancy was mostly out-of-view at the book sale events, but the promotion has been so successful that you hardly knew somebody was doing the background work.  

“She has been fantastic for our community,” said Joan Ellison, another hard-core volunteer–except “Joannie” finds herself in the spotlight a little more often, whether she chooses it or not.  

The Palubickis are moving to Grand Junction, Colorado.  But before they made the decision, Nancy insisted that there was a hometown library–and a strong library volunteer organization as prerequisites before relocating.  

“Grand Junction’s gain is our loss,” said Jill Preston…smiling…sort of…

Secretly, “we were hoping her house wouldn’t sell…I tried everything to keep her here,” laughed Ellison–short of sabotaging the real estate transaction. 

“She was never one to push herself into the limelight.  She mentored so many of us and was so encouraging,” said Glenys Ehlert. “She was always open and listened to ideas.”

An organized, “multi-tasker” were also qualities freely attributed to Palubicki.  

An Iowa native, she also lived in Arizona and Nebraska before landing in Pelican Rapids.  

Her deep, pre-Revolutionary War ancestral roots in the U.S. always kept her interested in the Daughters of the American Revolution.  Her ancestors tended to “move west,” just as she is to Colorado.  “One of the families moved out to California during the Gold Rush,” said Palubicki.  “To our knowledge, they never struck it rich…if they did, they hid it from the rest of us,” she added with a laugh. 

In Pelican Rapids, she didn’t necessarily find a gold mine – but the community struck it rich with Nancy Palubicki, thanks to her quiet, diligent volunteer contributions.