SOS: Eileen Blixrud
Stories of Service: Eileen Blixrud
Eileen Blixrud has been a member of Westwood since 1978 when she and Alden moved their family from Stewart, MN. where Alden had served as the superintendent of schools. Eileen grew up on a farm and as a 13 year old was driving farm products to their extended family during the rationing days of World War II. Eileen enrolled in business courses at Concordia and despite the professor’s belief that women did not belong in the business world; she began working at Lutheran Brotherhood by the age of eighteen. As their family grew, Eileen especially enjoyed singing in the church choir.
Thus, joining Westwood was a very deliberate choice because the chance to be part of a vital music program appealed to her values. Eileen joined the church choir in 1979.Soon she was working with other volunteers to catalogue the music. “I do not want to waste the talents of our music director to do a job that we volunteers can do.”
That reflection from Eileen speaks to her basic sense of stewardship. Eileen went on to work with the wedding/catering circle serving as a dynamic chair who truly values the importance of communication and the building of community. As chair of the Velkommen Circle, Eileen especially championed the process of communicating with each other, of supporting the habit of Bible study, and recruiting and welcoming new members. Traditions of enhancing the ministries at Westwood range from serving and supporting the serving of funeral lunches, baking and serving the pies at the Holiday Fair, and reading every Thursday to the children at Westwood’s Early Childhood Center. The wonderful collection of books appropriate for the youngest are most often selected by Eileen. “I think it is so important that very young children can be exposed to diversity through the books we select. I love reading to the children and receiving their hugs!”
“I have a deep faith because Mom and Dad had deep faith and were positive people who lived lives which demonstrated their faith. Stewardship of resources, including time was natural. When I spend money for the kitchen, ‘I use every dime.’ “When I order books for the children’s library collection, I am certain that we purchase the best authors and illustrators, and that the subject matter positively impacts the young listener. Of course we need to call or e-mail all our volunteers, and we could always use more help!”
When asked why these many hours at her church? Eileen said, “We care for each other. It was our family tradition. I guess I am like the original Martha. I am comfortable volunteering and I love children.”
In the words of the children who gather at the feet of their “Grandma Eileen” every week, “Thank you!” for sharing, for serving, for living a life which demonstrates stewardship of time and talents.