SOS: Gene and Sandy Dallman
Stories of Service: Gene and Sandy Dallman
Written by Connie Aase
It is a warm, sunny February morning as I drive to Westwood for Sunday worship services. Like most folks, I am a creature of habit, parking in the same spot each Sunday and entering the church through the same doors. Most Sundays, the church is quiet and nearly empty, but this morning is different. As I start down the hallway, I come across Gene Dallmann already busy tidying up the Lakeside Room. Westwood’s Families Moving Forward program has just wrapped up another week of hosting families in crisis. Gene and Sandy Dallman are a few of the many volunteers that make this ministry a great success. This week they happen to be the set-up/take-down crew and overnight hosts for Saturday. I stop to say good morning and comment on the disarray but Gene states in an upbeat tone, “Oh, it’s not that bad” and continues to bag up stray blankets and pillows. Just then, I spot Sandy Dallmann coming down the hall with more cleaning supplies. She cheerfully says good morning and goes about her work.
I first met Gene and Sandy when I joined the staff at Westwood this September. On my first Sunday, I was excited to see the entire usher team clad in western dress shirts and bolo ties – being a country girl, I thought, now these are my kind of folks! I asked if it was the required attire for the ushers, but soon found out that the Dallmann’s family was visiting from Texas and had been promptly put to work for the morning as ushers.
Although Gene willing serves as a leader in his usher captains role, in his career as a software specialist at Lockheed Martin, he was careful to avoid management. He tells me that he truly enjoys ushering, and that the trying aspect of being an usher captain tends to come in the areas of recruiting and scheduling.
When asked what motivates them to serve, Gene and Sandy are quick to say that they have been very blessed in their lives with good health, great kids and successful careers that even led to early retirement. Their blessings have actually made them more aware of those who struggle and they make an effort to volunteer where they can. When Sandy retired from her career as an IT specialist with Target, she began volunteering each Tuesday at STEP in the clothes closet. Then, when Gene retired they told him he might as well come along on Tuesdays and help in the food shelf area – so he did!
Gene and Sandy were our lead ushers during Advent midweek Vesper services this year. The goal was to facilitate a much requested reflective, table-style communion where the congregation could gather around the chancel together. The couple showed up each week and successfully guided folks to make this style of communion flow smoothly. When I tell them how appreciated they are and that they are the type of people whose mere presence has a calming effect on others, Sandy comments, “It’s a bit like the duck floating on the water…underneath he’s paddling like mad!” Thanks for paddling, Dallmann’s!