Pam Williams Selected as 2016 Giant Days Grand Marshal
July 13, 2016
Le Sueur News Herald, July 8, 2016
Pam Williams selected as the 2016 Giant Days Grand Marshal
Pam Williams has always cared for her community—in more ways than one. So when the Giant Celebration selection committee sat down to choose this year’s grand marshal, Williams was a clear choice.
Ruth Vortherms, one of the selection committee members, explained that previous grand marshals are offered the opportunity to nominate community members, and the three most recent grand marshals still in the area are tasked with making the final choice. This year, about 10 names were considered, but Williams came out on top.
“Pam is an excellent selection,” Vortherms said. “She has done some wonderful things over many years. She really served the community wholeheartedly and, while not alone, had a lot to do with the existence of our health care community.”
Williams certainly has left quite a mark on Le Sueur’s health care scene. The Rochester native studied nursing and first found a job at a nursing home when she and her husband, Dean, moved to Le Sueur in 1980. After some time, she moved on to the Minnesota Valley Health Center, eventually working her way up to interim CEO before being named CEO/President in 2015. During her time as interim CEO and now full CEO, Williams worked to initiate urgent care at the health center, as well as advocating at the state legislature for better pay for rural nursing homes.
“That cause really has made a big difference in our viability here,” she said, pointing out that it is easier to attract and retain healthcare workers when they aren’t lured away by the higher wages sometimes found in the metro area.
Williams has also volunteered for several years with the Le Sueur Volunteer Ambulance Association, starting with her time as a nurse liaison between the association and the health center. Eventually, she became an EMT, and she served as the association’s president for several years, ending in January 2016.
During her time as president, she oversaw the association’s involvement with the Minnesota Mission: Lifeline, which is sponsored by the American Heart Association and supplies grants for medical equipment to rural areas. Through this collaboration, Le Sueur was able to obtain an EKG machine and a Lucas CPR machine, which aids EMTs in more consistent chest compressions. She also worked with Unimin to secure the donation of a new ambulance truck.
In her spare time, Williams has been even more involved in the community throughout the years, serving as Cubmaster and Den Mother when her three boys were in Cub Scouts, as well as teaching confirmation at her church. She and her husband both sit on the board for the Minnesota chapter of the Foundation Fighting Blindness, and she has also volunteered at events hosted by the Le Sueur Lions Club, where her husband is a member.
“It’s fun to be involved in the community,” Williams said. “That way you get to know the community and the community gets to know you.”
Williams and her husband have even volunteered at several Giant Celebrations in the past, either helping at events or walking in the parade with different groups.
“The hospital will have a walking group, and the ambulance would have a group,” Williams said. “Back in the day, you could be in the parade three times. You could circle around and go through again for the different entities you’ve been involved in.”
This year, though, she’ll be in the parade just once—right at the beginning.
She admits she was surprised to learn she had been selected as grand marshal, but she was touched, too.
“I really appreciate the committee for nominating me and picking me,” she said. “It’s an honor to represent and be part of this community in this capacity.”
Even so, she said she’ll still probably work a booth or help with other Giant Celebration activities as soon as she’s done with her official duties.
“It’s fun to see people enjoying themselves,” she explained. “There’s nothing for me to do except ride in the parade, so I might as well work.”