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An army of one: Farmington veteran Marilyn Anderson honored for volunteerism

Marilyn Anderson of Farmington (left) was presented with a Veterans Voices Award Sept. 11 at the University of St. Thomas Anderson Student Center in Saint Paul. She is pictured with Humanities Center board member Sakinah Mujahid. Submitted photo courtesy of Minnesota Humanities Center

Army veteran Marilyn Anderson of Farmington was honored with a Veterans Voices Award Sept. 11 at the University of St. Thomas Anderson Student Center in St. Paul.

She is one of 13 legacy veterans in the 40-and-over category to be honored by the Minnesota Humanities Center for their community contributions that extend beyond their military service.

"Everything that she's learned in the military about leadership, teamwork, concern for others, she applies across the whole community in extraordinary ways," Humanities Center president David O'Fallon said.

Anderson works as the education services specialist for the 88th Regional Support Command at Fort Snelling. She has volunteered for Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Program, Heritage Village,

Ronald McDonald House at the Children's Hospital of Minneapolis, Habitat for Humanity, Toys for Tots and Feed My Starving Children.

In her 37-year Army career, Anderson served as the commander of a personnel services company that was mobilized in support of Operation Desert Storm in 1991. In 2007, she deployed to Iraq and Kuwait in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The actions of people like Anderson exemplify mission of Veterans Voices, which is to let them dictate their own narrative, O'Fallon said.

"They say, 'We get trapped into two stories: "You're a hero, thanks for your service," or, 'Oh my God, maybe you're troubled and have PTSD and we don't know how to talk to you,'" he said.

William Loeffler

William Loeffler is a playwright and journalist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He worked 15 years writing features for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has also written travel stories based on his trips to all seven continents. He and his wife, Michelle, ran the Boston Marathon in 2009. 

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