Long-time volunteer is gift to the Laurel community

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Photo And Story By Jaci Webb Of The Laurel Outlook
Thursday, December 23, 2021
Phyllis Bromgard showing one of the quilts she recently made to donate to someone in need.

Phyllis Bromgard showing one of the quilts she recently made to donate to someone in need.

A giving heart is something we cherish, particularly this time of year. But for some, giving comes all year round.

One of those people is Phyllis Bromgard, who has been recognized for her work with many organizations, including the Roadrunners 4-H, the Laurel Jaycees and the Lions Club. Her cozy home on Laurel’s south side is a wonder of trinkets and mementoes that she has gathered since moving into her home in 1987. You could spend an hour just looking through the antiques and driftwood in her yard, and inside there are teddy bears and dolls and figurines. But amidst all the souvenirs are her most cherished memories – pictures of her family and the plaques and framed letters she has received over the years for her service to the Laurel community.

Bromgard first moved to Laurel in 1959 when she was a high school freshman. She married a Silesia farmer when she 17 and by the time she was 21, she had three kids, and later gave birth to one more_—all boys. She lost two, but still has two sons left.

“As a teenager I had a dream of marrying a farmer and being a nurse. I never got to school to become a nurse, but a friend said, ‘You have helped so many people, you are a nurse.’”

Bromgard looks after two people in Laurel, an Alzheimer patient and an individual battling cancer, taking them to doctor’s appointments and checking in on them.

“It makes my heart feel good to know I have helped people in some way,” Bromgard said. “When I’m out helping somebody, everything else just goes away.”

Bromgard joined the Lions Club in 2008 when she and one other woman were the only women in the group.

“I have felt good about being a Lion. And now, we have our project completed – the pathway and dock at South Pond.”

Bromgard was mostly raised by her grandparents, who lived without running water. Because of her humble upbringing, Bromgard calls herself an “old-fashioned person.”

Bromgard took those work ethics she learned from her grandparents and spent a life-time helping others. In 1992, Bromgard was named Jaycee Woman of the Year and in 1996, she was named the Outstanding Leader in 4-H for serving as a 4-H leader for 21 years.

On a plaque announcing her 4-H award, Bromgard’s work is described this way: “She has pretty much adopted the whole club. She will help anyone.”

For 10 years, the Roadrunners 4-H group ran the Chief Joseph Run water station. So in 2000, Bromgard donated one of her hand-sewn quilts to the Nez Perce Tribe during a memorial ceremony at Fireman’s Park in Laurel. She has a framed letter of appreciation from the tribe, stating, “It is people like you and the things you do that make our memorials so special.”

One of her greatest honors was receiving the Melvin Jones Fellow award in 2020 from the Lions Club International Foundation, based in Oak Brook, Illinois. She was acknowledged for writing letters to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks to get their support for the South Pond project.

As a member of a Search & Rescue team, Bromgard helped rescue two people on the Yellowstone River during the annual Yellowstone River Boat Float, and she served as a Boy Scout leader. Bromgard continues hand-sewing quilts, some of which she gives to needy children. One recent winter, she sewed 21 quilts to give away.

“I got called an angel yesterday,” Bromgard said. “I got a call from a friend who needed some help and she called me an angel. I told her, ‘I came because somebody needed me.’’’

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