Red-Vested Rockstar: Glenn Nylander
Why he rocks: “For most of my adult life I have felt the need to help those less fortunate. Some of my volunteer work has been one on one, but for 10 years in the 90’s I headed up a large charitable garden project in Burnsville where we grew vegetables to give to food shelves, community centers and homes for the disadvantaged. In an average year we would grow about 4000 lbs of veggies that often was fed by our main crow…about 250 tomato plants. That project, called Love Grows a Garden, ended when the area around the garden was bought by Fairview Ridges Hospital and is now a parking lot across the street from the main entrance.
As to my life happenings, I was born and raised in Pittsburgh Pa. My father owned a gas station but I never aspired to take over that business. So, after HS and college, where I was a pretty good football player and decent student, I got married to my HS sweetheart, entered graduate school, and was immediately drafted into the Army. I served, unfortunately, in a combat role in Vietnam, getting out of there alive in 1970. From there I have always been employed in industrial products sales and marketing jobs. The last one before retirement in 2013 was for an Italian valve manufacturer, so my wife and had the opportunity to visit Italy several times.”
Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering? “Now in retirement I stay busy with my therapy dog work with Sadie at my side and I also play a lot of tennis. I also volunteer for a Mobile Loaves and Fishes truck team that delivers food to those in need.”
Do you have any kids or pets of your own? “My wife and I, now married for 47 years, have 3 grown daughters and 7 grandkids. We are very fortunate that all the kid’s families live in the Twin Cities area. And of course my dog Sadie, who has been by my side for all 11 years of her life. We currently do therapy visits at Children’s St. Paul, Gillette Childrens’, and the VA Medical Center. We recently were chosen at Children’s (thank you very much!) to have parents of patients visit us each week at the Parent Lounge/Center on the 3rd floor.”
Aside from visting amazing kids, what is one of Sadie’s favorite parts about volunteering as a therapy dog at Children’s? “Sadie loves her treats as we are making our rounds. Often these treats are offered by staff and the dogs religiously go to the stations where they know they will get a treat. One of those stations is the 6th floor where Joe is often at the reception desk. Sadie knows exactly where Joe has the treats! Last week, Joe gave her a treat as usual, and after, Sadie explored the floor for a few minutes looking for crumbs… she refused to believe there were no more to be found. I literally had to drag her by her leash as she was on all fours (the floor there is very slippery), away from the desk area. Joe and the other attendants laughed and laughed at this sight.”