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Woman Lends Hand, From Morristown to Brazil

Berit Ollestad finds any opportunity to help where needed most.

If you have read Morristown Patch for any length of time, chances are you have seen the name "Berit Ollestad" pop up now and again. It would be hard not to.

Ollestad, originally from Seattle, has only been in Morristown for about two years. Yet, this married mother of two . And, usually, those hands have been involved in some sort of positive event.

Most recently, Ollestad was instrumental in the assembly of , complete with food, games, presents–even a visit by Old Saint Nick.

Last summer, Ollestad . To get the word out, she appealed to town government, local media, even by setting up a tent across from her Hamilton Road home, anything to get people talking–and donating–to the cause. On June 4, two trucks stocked with donations were filled at Town Hall and driven–with Ollestad on board–to their final destination.

And, for the last couple years, . About every six months, Ollestad takes a trip there to deliver the donations, meet with friends and generally bring out the smiles and laughs in a place where it can sometimes be tough to muster either.

The organizer is quick to remind people, however, that it takes a village. For the "Morristown Relief Effort" to Tuscaloosa, she had T-shirts made that acknowledged all of the local support. For the Christmas party,

Ollestad also is quick to remind people how her good fortune in life, which she has pledged to try and give back in some way to those who need it most.

"I know a lot of people who have a lot of fluff in their life," she said. "I've been really fortunate to be given the life I've been given. And, I have recognized that giving back to others really is what makes me feel a part of my community. I love this community."

Again, Ollestad points to others in the community and what they bring to it, and to her love of Morristown. "The willingness of people here to get on board and help out has been reallly impressive," she said. "That has motivated me even more to get involved and try to make a difference for the residents, individuals that need a little extra help."

Betsy January 06, 2012 at 03:06 PM
I'm thinking kernel of an idea for a summer camp for teens, here. Berit leads? One week per cause. Small group each week. There is tuition. My kid would jump at the favela camp.

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