Northern Division: Serving every county in Minnesota and North Dakota

Store volunteer in Henning is energetic, ageless

Added on Monday, April 29, 2019

By Kassi Swiontek, Writing Intern for The Salvation Army Northern Division

Salvation Army volunteer Vivian Palm is proof that you are only as old as you feel.

Portrait of Vivian PalmPalm is 92 years young. Despite her age, she has still managed to give more than 6,600 hours of her time during the past two decades.

Palm spends about 20 hours per week working as a volunteer cashier at the Salvation Army Store in Henning, Minn. Her heart for serving others has helped transform a little thrift store near Fergus Falls into a wonderful place where people come to laugh, pray, smile, and be encouraged.

“She sits by the register greeting you with a hot cup of coffee, some freshly baked treats, and a beautiful smile,” said Lynne Verhaagh, Community Relations Director at the Fergus Falls Salvation Army.

Palm is incredibly dedicated to The Salvation Army.

“The purpose of her life for the last 22 years has been to work as the volunteer cashier,” Verhaagh added. “Can you imagine what you will be doing at the age of 92? If you were like her, you would wake up in the morning, get ready for your day, and then walk to work.”

Palm is humble and thinks hardly anything of the contributions she makes. “I would never call it work,” she said. “I do not feel like am doing anything special.”

But she is doing something special. She is helping to create a special community.

“Because of Vivian, this thrift store is like no other,” Verhaagh said. “Her commitment to helping others is endless, and her love for others does not discriminate. She would do anything within her power for anyone, and if it was outside of her power, she would add it to her prayer list because she knows everything is within God’s power.”

Palm especially loves greeting and talking to customers. She helps them bag items and makes sure they have a comfortable shopping experience.

“What I love the most is the people,” Palm said. “I cannot explain it more than that.”

Palm’s heart for serving the community goes back to 1977 when tragedy struck her family. She received a call from a local sheriff who said her 19-year-old son had been in a terrible hunting accident. He had accidentally shot himself and would not recover. Palm had to make the decision to release her son to the Lord.

“That was when she decided to dedicate her life to helping others,” Verhaagh said. “She spends most of her free time paying it forward to many in her community. She volunteers over 20 hours per week because that is what Jesus would do.”

Palm makes an impact every day and is an asset to the Salvation Army Store in Henning. It’s people like her who truly share the vision and mission of the Salvation Army.

“She is a Godly woman and an excellent representative of The Salvation Army,” Verhaagh said.

The Salvation Army Northern Division pledges to do the most good with your gifts of time and money, with 81 cents of every dollar going directly to services. Join us by volunteering or making a donation to support your local community. Stay current on how The Salvation Army is changing lives in Minnesota and North Dakota by signing up for our e-Newsletters.