COON RAPIDS, Minn. (WCCO) — What do you call a couple who travels across the country over and over again to help disaster victims? Good Samaritans? Saints? No, just call them Myron and Thelma Nash.
“I want other people to know how great they are,” said their son Phil Nash.
He nominated them for a Making a Difference award. WCCO-TV and American Equity Mortgage give out the award honoring community volunteers twice each month. The winners receive $500 to spend any way they want.
When presented with the prize at home in Coon Rapids, Thelma Nash was surprised.
“I thought these things only happened to other people,” she said.
Myron Nash downplayed the work he and his wife have done.
“No more than anybody else in our situation,” he said. Thelma added, “We feel we benefit probably just as much or more than the people.”
Myron and Thelma were high school sweethearts in the southeastern Minnesota town of Wykoff. They just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. For the Nashes, it just makes sense to volunteer.
“We feel that we’ve been blessed with health at our age,” said Myron. “We’re both over 70 now. We can go down there and help people who are less fortunate.”
The Nashes are members of the Disaster Relief Team at St. Phillip’s Lutheran Church.
“Once we did one trip,” Myron said, “we were hooked,” Thelma finished.
Since 2005, the Nashes have made six week-long trips to help Hurricane Katrina victims in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.
“They started calling this team the Boomerangs, ’cause we just kept coming back,” said Myron.
The Nashes also traveled to Galveston, Texas three times to rebuild homes following Hurricane Ike. Last month, they drove to Tennessee to work with flood victims.
They help out closer to home, too. Myron, a retired electrician, rewired a home in Houston, Minn., that was damaged by floods. Together, the Nashes have traveled to Cedar Rapids, Iowa several times to help flood victims there. The retired couple also volunteers at church and for Meals on Wheels.
Their advice for others who don’t currently volunteer?
“Try it, you might like it,” said Thelma.
“We know you’ll like it,” added Myron.
Paula Engelking, Producer