Chamber honors go to hometown favorites: Janet Lindberg, Sjostroms

By Louis Hoglund

Earning the PRIDE award for her long history of volunteer and service work in Pelican Rapids and Otter Tail County, Janet Lindberg, with her husband Kirk, are pictured foreground. Family members joined in at the Pelican Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce annual banquet to celebrate the honor. Back, from left, Wayne and Carol Rogelstad, and three of the Lindberg’s four sons—all Pelican Rapids High School graduates: Kris, Class of 2003; Jan Erik, 2009; and Peder, 2005. Unable to attend the event, Tom, a 2007 graduate of PRHS.

True-blue Pelicanites earned high community honors at the Pelican Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce banquet Sept. 13. 

All three earning annual honors have deep roots in the Pelican Rapids, and have contributed combined decades to the community—through various ways, from volunteering to active members of the business community. The Pelican PRIDE award was given to Janet Lindberg, visible in recent years as the dedicated Pelican Rapids Community Food Shelf board chair. But her connections to Pelican, and Otter Tail County, stretch back decades. 

Chamber Member of the Year honors were presented to Terry and Connie Sjostrom, and their Birchwood Golf Course. But their contributions extend far beyond the fairways. 

And—all three are Pelican Rapids High School graduates, all from the 1970s era. 

Whoever or whatever research studies suggested that Baby Boomers don’t have the same commitment to community of their parents’ generation had it wrong, especially when it comes to the Sjostroms and Lindberg.

Lindberg is a quiet, behind-the-scenes trooper 

In nominating Lindberg, she was identified as a “person who works diligently and tirelessly—but for the most part, outside of the spotlight.”

“Credit, recognition and accolades are not this person’s objective. Rather, the goals are serving the community, and those in need.”

This personality trait was evident at the banquet announcement, as Lindberg graciously accepted.

“I’m honored and humbled,” said Lindberg, who was joined at the banquet by family, including three of her four sons. “It has been such a privilege to have grown up in Pelican Rapids…we raised our children here and we’re watching grandchildren growing up here.”

Prior to the presentation, her husband Kirk alerted Chamber officials: 

“I know her so well after 41 years of marriage, she will be humbled to the point of being slightly embarrased, and not feel worthy,” said Kirk—and his prediction appeared largely accurate. “But it will be very meaningful to her, after it sinks in.”

Serving others and volunteering in the community has been a thread throughout her life. 

As a volunteer and Board Chairperson for the Food Shelf, she puts in numerous hours a week, many behind the scenes. This isn’t just during the public distribution hours—but also taking inventory; ordering food; purchasing and picking up food; and keeping things organized and well maintained at the Food Shelf.

Healthy food, healthy lifestyles a lifelong thread for Lindberg

Health and fitness have also been constants for Lindberg. This stands to reason. Lindberg was one of Pelican’s early standout female athletes, in the 1970s—as women’s sports moved to the varsity stage. In fact, she was among the first female sports figures named to the Pelican school Hall of Fame.

Many remember her for leading the “Biggest Mover Fitness Challenge” in Pelican, in about 2007.

With “Partnership for Health,” one of her responsibilities was to help make healthy food more accessible. This included working with farmers markets and food shelves, and restaurants throughout Otter Tail County.

Trinity Lutheran Church has benefitted from her volunteer spirit, from various board committees to women’s circle, teaching Sunday School, assisting with kids’ Bible School, leading Bible studies, serving meals, ushering, visiting elderly members, and other capacities.

Other involvements:

• Community Garden

• CROP Walk for the hungry

• Meals on Wheels

• Friendship Festival

She is a current board member of the Children’s Services Association (Otter Tail County).

She is retired from Public Health of Otter Tail County and served as WIC Program Dietician.

Good deeds by the dozens—and dozens—characterize the Sjostroms 

Honored as “Members of the Year” by the Pelican Area Chamber of Commerce at the annual banquet were Birchwood Golf Course owners Terry and Connie Sjostrom.
Chamber leaders at left, John Waller III, and new president, Joe Clauson.

It remains to be seen if Terry Sjostrom will make it into the Pelican school “Hall of Fame,” like Lindberg—though he was a noted Viking athlete. 

But he and his wife Connie are a “famously” admired pair of high school sweethearts. 

Both have been long-time supporters and members of the Chamber of Commerce. Connie has been a key figure in the Muddy Moose family business, and together, they bought Birchwood Golf Course five years ago. A family business for the prior Evenson family, the Sjostroms carried on the family-friendly golf course tradition at Birchwood—believed to be among the earlier public golf courses in the entire state. 

With those hands-on, demanding, very public businesses, the hardworking duo often work sun-up to sun-down.

They have consistently been active in Chamber efforts, volunteering, planning, and attending events.

And, like the true-blue, Viking black and orange alumni they are, the Sjostroms are big supporters of Pelican School activities and athletics.

Advocates for the community of Pelican, they are visible around town and promote the community in a positive way.

They have hosted and been involved in numerous fundraisers in the community, and Terry himself was the focus of one of Pelican’s most memorable fundraisers, last May. A multitude of friends “Teamed up for Terry,” with a golf tournament, dance, comedy show, auction, and other activities to aid the family and Terry’s battle with pancreatic cancer. Uncomfortable with all the attention, Terry would have preferred to downplay his challenges—but there was no stopping the momentum, as folks from literally around the nation stepped up on the Sjostrom’s behalf. 

What goes around, comes around—and the support for the Sjostroms was a good deed—recognizing their decades of good deeds.