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Community Foundation to honor Willmar couple, Jennie-O Turkey store

The Willmar Area Commumnity Foundation will honor Colleen Thompson Michels and Dr. James Michels with the Award in Philanthropy for their charitable giving and volunteering. (Contributed)

WILLMAR — The Willmar Area Community Foundation announces that it will honor Dr. James and Colleen Thompson Michels and Jennie-O Turkey Store Inc. with its 2014 local philanthropic impact awards. The Community Foundation will recognize the honorees at the ninth annual Awards in Philanthropy Dinner on October 2 at the Willmar Conference Center.

Award in Philanthropy

Dr. James and Colleen Thompson Michels of Spicer will receive the Award in Philanthropy for their charitable financial support and volunteerism within the Kandiyohi County community. Dr. Michels is a graduate of the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry and practiced in New London and Willmar for 35 years.

Thompson Michels served in leadership positions at Ridgewater College — the Hutchinson and Willmar campuses — including five years as its president. The Michelses are active volunteers and patrons of numerous organizations believing “the most important giving is of yourself through service.”

Community Builder Award

The foundation will present the Community Builder Award to Jennie-O Turkey Store Inc. for significantly contributing to the field of philanthropy in the region. Established locally in 1949 by Earl B. Olson as Farmer’s Produce Company, the company grew significantly. Today Jennie-O Turkey Store is known worldwide and has nearly 7,000 employees supporting its mission, “A commitment to give back.”

Organizations within the Kandiyohi County community benefit greatly from the company’s significant corporate giving and encouragement of employee volunteerism, according to a foundation spokesman.

Table sponsorships are available for the awards dinner. Sponsor a table of eight for $800 or a table of four for $400. Individual dinner reservations are $50.

For more information, contact Nancy Lee Johnson at