Jean Halvorson, who lives at Harmony Community Healthcare but lived in Whalan much of her life, was selected as the 2013 Whalan Standstill Parade grand marshal.  PHOTO BY ANTON ADAMEK/BLUFF COUNTRY NEWSPAPERS
Jean Halvorson, who lives at Harmony Community Healthcare but lived in Whalan much of her life, was selected as the 2013 Whalan Standstill Parade grand marshal. PHOTO BY ANTON ADAMEK/BLUFF COUNTRY NEWSPAPERS
"Everyone should have a sister like her," shared Dale Peterson about his sister, Jean Halvorson, who has been selected to be this year's grand marshal for the 18th annual Whalan Standstill Parade. This year's celebration is set to be held on Saturday on Whalan's Main Street.

Jean, 66, currently resides at the Harmony Healthcare nursing home in Harmony following a stroke she suffered several years ago. Despite her current situation, she was selected because of her continuing caring attitude and the work she has done for the community of Whalan.

"She was always there to help someone if they were in need," shared Peterson, who is Jean's younger brother who owns Doc's Auto Body Shop in Whalan. Due to her stroke leaving her unable to talk, Peterson, Jean's son, Jerome, Jr., and her cousin, Donna Novotny spoke for her.

Growing up with Jean, who is 6 years older than he, showed Peterson the kind of person she is. "She was always there when I was growing up. She was very protective of me and always in my corner," he recalled.

Jean lived in Lanesboro for much of her adult life until her stroke, but as Peterson explained, "Her heart is in Whalan."

She worked for Fillmore County in the Zoning Administrator's office for 31 years until her retirement in 2004. She married the late Jerome Halvorson and had a son they named Jerome, Jr., who is now 48.

"She is unbelievably caring and she is a giving person to others," shared Jerome. "She was that way not only to her immediate family, but to extended family and friends. She put everyone else before herself."

Jerome said he has learned a lot from his mother over the years about looking out for others and being selfless. Even out of her unfortunate stroke, he said he has learned from her. "Things don't always go the way you want, but they go the way they go. I'm learning patience," he explained.

Jerome felt that having his mother as the grand marshal is "real huge for her." Participating and helping organize past Standstill Parades was right up Jean's alley and so she was honored to be selected.

Jerome and Dale visited her and were able to tell her the news of her selection. According to Dale, Jean, who is cognizant of her surroundings, beamed when she was informed.

"She really has always cared deeply about the community and this is where her ties and roots are," he added.

Jerome shared that Jean hadn't been having a good day when they visited her, but she lit up when she found out she would be the grand marshal. Noting her humility as an individual, Donna said Jean would probably be the first to ask why she was picked and to pick another, more important person. However, as Donna also shared, "She is important."

It means a lot to Jean because she has put so much time and effort into the Whalan community. "She is one of the most thoughtful and giving people that you could know," Donna added. She remarked that the stroke hasn't deterred that thoughtfulness. "That giving spirit is still there," she said.

When Jean lived in Whalan, she was a member of the Whalan Lutheran Church and their Ladies' Aid. As a leader in the Quilting Group, she often made quilts which were sent off to missions.

Dale said she loved to bake and was a very good cook. "She could put together a wonderful meal in five minutes. She was always baking someone cookies."

Jerome agreed saying whenever Jean went to visit someone, she brought along a dozen freshly baked cookies. She served for years as the secretary of the Whalan Legion Auxiliary. Jean was also instrumental in getting the old village hall restored.

"She is very civic-minded and always a part of a cause," stated Dale.

Whether it was sending money to the American Cancer Society, selling raffle tickets and tulips to community members, or just talking with others over cookies, Jean did many things.

"I think if we do a lot of little things, it has a big impact. That was the way Jean did things," said Dale.

"She has affected a lot of people and I can't say enough good about her," Donna added.

This year's parade will take place from 11 a.m. through noon on Saturday with various activities taking place from 10 a.m. through 3 p.m.

Jean will be introduced at 10:55 a.m. before the Pledge of Allegiance and singing of The National Anthem by Glen Jensson. Musical acts Walter Bradley, barbershop quartet Thick and Thin and The Solid Gold Band will be serenading the crowd throughout the day.

The Aroma Pie Shop will be sponsoring a Pie Eating Contest at 2 p.m. The Whalan Lutheran Church will be serving up a meal including Egg McWhalans and homemade lefse and rommegrot. Children's games, a petting zoo, arts and crafts vendors, and other activities are planned.

More information can be found on standstillparade.org.