Guarding doors, giving directions, delivering messages, keeping the Convention running — the volunteers are everywhere, some 1,100 of them, made highly visible by their distinctive blue aprons. About three-quarters of them are from Minnesota; the rest, says volunteer supervisor Katie Hardy of Edina, Minn., are from “just about everywhere.”
At the information booth, Trevor Smith, a sophomore at Hamline University in St. Paul, and Amanda Ziebell-Finley, who just graduated from Hamline, took a few minutes from assisting convention-goers to talk about being volunteers. It was his first day and her tenth on the job.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” said Ziebell-Finley, who is a co-supervisor of volunteers. “I’ve met so many great people.”
At the volunteer center in the lobby of the Convention Center, supervisors Dusty Maris of St. Paul and Mari-Lou Triebenbach of Plymouth, Minn., talked about their past General Convention experience. “Mari-Lou and I did this job in 1976, but by hand,” said Maris. Now, she says, it’s all on computers. The four supervisors, who are responsible for scheduling and rescheduling volunteer hours, work at the direction of coordinator Rex McKee of Minneapolis.
The chance to see the Church in action is an important draw for many of the volunteers. “After I got here I found that I could volunteer, so I … could find out more about the convention and the way it operates,” said Roland Wilder, whose wife is a deputy from Southern Virginia. “I have been quite impressed with the way that business is being conducted.”
“The first thing on my mind today is how proud I am to be an Episcopalian because of the dignity and restraint and respect that have been so apparent in the last two difficult days,” said Ann Daly Goodwin of Woodbury, Minn., who has worked nearly every day of the convention. “I was here in 1976 for the ordination of women, and I was here in 1956 at the Anglican Congress. I wouldn’t miss these events for anything.”