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Bulletin letters to the editor: Mike Elwell, A Touch of Home

Recent letters to the editor:

Community will miss Mike Elwell

The community lost a wonderful man recently with the death of Cottage Grove resident Mike Elwell. Mike was active in the Newport/St.Paul Park Masonic Lodge, Shrine and Eastern Star. He was also a member of the North Star Santa group and was a professional Santa Claus for 40 years.

Mike and I made appearances at the yearly Cottage Grove Lion’s Club Breakfast with Santa held every year at the VFW Red Barn in Cottage Grove. Mike would take the first shift from 8-10:30 a.m. and I would follow with the 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. slot.

He will certainly be missed by his wife Donna, son Mike Jr. and daughter Jamie.

Mike and Donna were active with the American Cancer Society since the loss of their son, Jeffery, to the disease some years ago. Mike had a tattoo of Jeffery put on his arm along with several tattoos of Santa. He enjoyed being a Santa and bringing love to the children he met.

He will be missed by the community.

Gary Spooner

Cottage Grove

Help continue A Touch of Home’s mission to serve troops overseas

A Touch of Home will be hosting our 10th annual fundraiser  for our military people overseas. Since March 2003, we have faithfully remembered our military men and women who serve on foreign shores. Early on, we knew there were many who did not receive mail or packages from home.

What touched our hearts early in our endeavor was an email request from a soldier receiving packages from us: “I would like to add a name to your list if I may. This soldier has received no mail from anyone except bills. I can’t help but think that inside he is really longing for some (mail).” He continued: “ . . . . thank you for blessing my day! I received your letter and phone card just at the time God knew I needed ‘A Touch From Home’!”

And what happened with the young man who was only getting bills? The letter of his friend was read to the congregation that next Sunday. Our table was besieged with well wishers who all wanted “Persi’s” name so they could contact him.

He later wrote to us: “Dear graceful Crossroads Church, I deeply want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for having such a loving congregation, who in these fast paced times, has the time to award me with such delightful packages and spirit lifting words. Thank you, for when I thought humanity was just on a steady decline you reminded me that there are still good people out there.  I’ve received a couple packages and ruined my appetite with some junk food, which I enjoyed very much. All this mail is like getting presents because you don’t know what’s in it but you know it’s good. And some of your kids write the most interesting things (and) it’s always a pleasure to see what they have to say … I know I’m blessed because God has always been there in time of need. Please continue on with the wonderful service you provide.” —Spc. Persi A. Asencio

These men and women have been faithful to our nation and we say, thank you. Please help by stopping by our fundraiser, Friday and Saturday, Sept. 28-29. We will be serving brats, hamburgers, pulled pork, hot dogs and fixings at the Crossroads Church parking lot, at 80th Street and Jamaica Avenue in Cottage Grove. While you are there, you can read through books about the past 10 years of A Touch of Home.

Remember, you can add a name of a military person to our list, find out when/where we are packing, get more information about the fundraiser and even sign up to help at our website:

Linda Lehrke

Cottage Grove

Soldier’s message reminds of importance of A Touch of Home

A Touch of Home is having its 10th annual fundraiser to continue to send packages to military people overseas. Please stop by for a sandwich on one of the days: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 28.

The fundraiser will be at a new location, Crossroads Church, 80th Street and Jamaica Avenue in Cottage Grove. There will be books you can look through to learn a little more about A Touch of Home.

An email from a young man in Afghanistan reminds each of us why it is so important to continue. He wrote: “I want to personally thank you for the packages the church has packed and sent over here. I enjoy every bit of it and I share all the goodies with my employees and soldiers. Mail is one thing that everyone looks forward to even though social media on the Internet and cellphones are quicker. Sincerely, Kendall.”

For more information, to add a person to the list or sign up to help, go to

Dave and Lois Halvorson

Cottage Grove