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Event Center Honors Karen Breigenzer

While it's a possible secret to some, it's not a secret to anyone who has been involved in the Valley Event Center. The center is run by volunteers, and has been for over a decade. Each year the Hi-Line Hockey Youth Board, which keeps the event center functioning, honors one of its volunteers for his or her service.

The year the board members named Karen Breigenzer volunteer of the year. They personally invited her to the spring banquet, but Breigenzer said she had about three other things going on that evening and decided to pass it up, not knowing they were going to honor her with the award. Tami Burke, who sits on the board, hand delivered the award with a card and boquet of flowers and Breigenzer said she felt so honored.

She can remember when her volunteering started in 1998. She said that the youth played hockey in the outdoor rink that sat on the fairgrounds. Her son was playing hockey in kindergarten. She would help out with concessions, maybe help tie a skate for the kids. A group of people got together and decided they wanted an indoor rink. Breigenzer could name most of those involved with getting the nonprofit formed and getting the work done to make it a reality.

It took a lot of time and effort to get it up and running, and then that effort had to continue as all volunteers help run the concessions, coordinate events and maintain the very large building.

"It can be difficult to track events with so many people involved," Breigenzer said as she explained how she landed her role that she played for the last decade.

After some trial and error, they realized that one person would need to coordinate the non-hockey events at the event center. She ended up being the management coordinator and helped schedule events and coordinate the needs that those bookings would request.

"Someone needed to do it," she said. "I believed so strongly on the purpose of the building."

She said that some of the first events were horse shows, and an indoor rodeo, something that could be done before the concrete was poured. She said that there's been a multitude of several different kinds of events in the building. With a huge space upstairs that can be partitioned off and a full certified kitchen, those who helped create the event center had hoped that the building could be utilized by the community.

Breigenzer stated that it has taken many people who have dedicated hundreds of hours to keep the place going. "They believed in it, the people that have worked with and on the board are incredible," she said.

She stepped down from her position in October, just as the season started. Breigenzer said that she knew that many of the volunteers have been in place for a while and after a decade of volunteering she believed it was time for some new people to step up and take over. Maybe if one of them step down at a time, it won't be so overwhelming for the board to keep things going.

"When people come to Glasgow they're in awe of our facility," Breigenzer said.

When asked about why volunteerism was so important ,she said, "In our community and in any community this size, if we don't have any volunteers to give up their time, the community won't thrive. It helps with our quality of life, and it's my duty."

Burke explained that there's a lot of history with the volunteers and with those who've put a lot of sweat equity into the building. She said that they've been able to keep fees much lower than other places, and that funds are raised by selling advertisement boards and bookings of other events.

"It's been hundreds of thousands of hours that put that place together and kept it going," Burke said. And Breigenzer has been a big part of that.


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