Don Tarr Moves On – Please Step Forward to Help Fill His Shoes

I attended Don Tarr’s funeral today. Don is pictured here, two weeks ago today, doing the Locally Grown podcast, raising the issue of Workforce Housing in Northfield. Three weeks ago today, Don was touring the site of the Building for Creative Professionals with the State of Minnesota. It’s hard to believe he’s gone; it’s even harder to believe we’re going to have to do it all without him.

As reported in a variety of outlets, Don played big roles in the Northfield Arts Guild, the American Friends of the Asian Rural Institute, the United Church of Christ, the Northfield Area Foundation, the Northfield Housing and Redevelopment Authority, the Manger Inn, the Community Land Trust, and Health Finders. Don didn’t just show up to meetings, Don actually worked.

Northfield runs on volunteer efforts. At the NDDC, I’m blessed with 12 board members and at least an equal number of community advisors who do quite a bit of work. In fact, as part of a grant application, I once figured out how many hours a week the NDDC gets from volunteers. I didn’t just pull a number out of the sky, I totalled up all the meetings, projects and gatherings and it was pretty clear that we get about 50 hours a week of volunteer work.

I ran the same calculation for Don. Those of you who knew him well realized that he worked seven days a week. I’ll bet he put in about 70 hours a week in volunteer work for Northfield, maybe more.

So, to try to fill Don’s shoes, we’ll need 10 hours for the NAG, 10 hours for the ARI, 10 hours for the UCC, 10 hours for NAF, 10 hours for the HRA, 10 hours for the Manger Inn, 10 hours for the CLT, and 10 hours for Health FInders, per week.

So please, step up to help fill Don’s shoes. Another challenge will be to do so with Don’s genuine joy of giving and providing service to others. Perhaps the greatest challenge will be to do so with his unflagging sense of humor that made it such a pleasure to work with him.