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Backus Center announces staffing changes


Backus Community Center is pleased to announce that Kathryn L. O'Connor has joined the Backus staff as event co-ordinator.

Many locals will know Kathryn as Ron and Jessie Laurion's daughter.

Kathryn's experience in catering and operating a bed and breakfast in Alaska makes her a great asset to not only Backus but the community as well.

Kathryn will be in charge of managing and working events, overseeing the concession stand and cash bar, and working to expand event offerings at Backus.

Kathryn is excited to begin her new job especially since it allows her to work close to family.

“I am happy to be back home for a longer period of time. I've been back home for a week here and a week there, but now I'm here to stay for a while,” said O'Connor.

Robin Bjorkquist, previous Event Coordinator, has returned as administrative assistant.

“I worked for a great local office for a few months, but my heart belongs to Backus.” said Bjorkquist.

“I'm happy to be back working with volunteers and doing more of the administrative work that goes along with all the programs and happenings here.”

Backus is also happy to announce the return of Rick DeBenedet to the kitchen staff.

Due to health reasons, Rick had stepped down as head cook, but now fully recovered, Rick is ready to return.

“I'm happy to cook at Backus again." said DeBenedet. "It's a great group of people to work with.”

Rick's friendly personality, along with Kitchen Manager Mary Ann Lien, make Community Café come to life.

“We are fortunate to have caring people working at Backus to take care of our dining guests, both at Café and other catered meals,” said executive director Ward Merrill.

Backus employs a total of 15 full and part time employees with a F.T.E. (Full Time Equivalency) of 5.5 employees.

If you would like to volunteer at Backus Community Center, please contact Robin at or (218) 373-3004.

If you would like to schedule an event or rent space, Kathryn can be reached at (218) 285-7225 or

You can keep up with Backus events at

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