Madam Speaker, I rise today to honor Trish Bergren of Clarinda, Iowa as Iowan of the Week. Trish is a respected leader in the Clarinda and Page County community who has touched countless lives through her work as the Executive Director of the Clarinda Carnegie Art Museum and as the curator for the Nodaway Valley Historical Museum. Trish has a deep love, and passion for preserving the history of her community and being a guardian of the knowledge of the past for future generations.
Trish’s family is no stranger to Page County and has family roots in the area that go back more than 160 years. This deep-seated passion for local history and helping young people engage in this history drove her to a career she loves and even a book that covers the subject. Despite having moved away from the area for a time, she made the decision to return and couldn’t imagine being anywhere else. Her love for the community she works is truly heartwarming to hear. Those who work with her claim she has both improved their lives and changed their outlook for the future for the better.
As part of her duties with the Historical Museum, Trish formed the Adopt-A-Grave program in 2013. The program, under the Historical Society, has worked to clean, find lost headstones, and rehab more than 750 headstones across the 50 pioneer cemeteries in Page County. This undertaking has a group of students at Clarinda High School who manage the program, while more than 39 students and 12 adults have assisted with various projects. This is just one tangible initiative run by Trish to give dignity to the history of those who came before us and ensure the pride the community holds in honoring the past.
In addition to her already busy service to the community, Trish serves on the Clarinda School Board, where she was elected in 2019 as a new member.
In consideration of the dedication to serving the community, Trish is a pillar of the community in not only Clarinda but the State of Iowa. Her reputation as a kind and selfless person precedes her and her work speaks for itself. Clarinda is a strong community because of the individuals, like Trish, who make it such a wonderful place. The work Trish has performed, and that which she has inspired others to take upon themselves will ensure that the history of the community will endure. Stemming from this dedication to serve the community and preserve the story of its past for future Iowans to learn from and enjoy, I am proud to recognize Trish Bergren as Iowan of the week.