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Geiselman “Lives United” in her advocacy for transportation services

November 16, 2013

CULVER – “Live United” isn't just a slogan. It's a way of life for one active Culver senior. Her journey, recently shared with the United Way of Marshall County, shows that community engagement sometimes involves lending a hand. And sometimes it means lending your voice to support a cause and help build a better life for all.

Jeanette Geiselman figures that she has paid her dues.

“I'm originally from Rochester,” she said, adding with a laugh, “but I married a man from Culver and I've been here 60 years so I imagine Culver has accepted me by now.”

Geiselman admits she's “a farm girl” and loves to work in her garden. Retired now from her long time job at the Culver Academies she spends much of her time in her garden now. This summer she's also found a new hobby. Like many Culver residents she had a chance to taste a little bit of Hollywood during the summer months this year, taking time to “star” in several scenes from the upcoming movie “Little Savages” that used the Marshall County lake community as the setting for the film.

“I spent a couple days down at the museum being filmed for my scenes,” she said. “I guess I'm a movie star now too.”

A devoted mother and wife she and her husband Forest raised three children in the community who have all gone on to successful careers of their own. The family has been involved in the community in sports and other ways.

Some things have changed for Jeanette over the years – her husband Forest has passed away and her children moved to various places for their careers – but there is one thing that hasn't changed; her involvement with the community.

She's worked at the nutrition site in Culver.

“I like being sure that people who can't afford it have a place to get a meal,” she said. “It's tough nowadays. It seems people need two or three jobs sometimes just to make ends meet. I'd really like to see us get more money for the site, so that we can feed more people.”

She's also active in another area, helping advocate for funds to keep alive bus service for seniors through the Marshall County Council on Aging, a program supported by the United Way of Marshall County.

Recently she appeared before the Culver Town Council seeking additional funding for theses services. Her efforts paid off, and in the end the Culver Town Council allotted funding to keep this service active in Culver.

“I use (the service) every time I can to go to my eye doctor in Warsaw,” she said. “It is very helpful since my daughter doesn't have to take time off work to take me for my appointments.”

While Geiselman still drives herself many places, her eye ailment requires that she receive shots in her eye periodically, and obviously she cannot drive herself home from those appointments.

“The treatments are helping but I don't really drive at night anymore either,” she said. “Sometimes it's painful but I can still see, and that's the important thing. I can drive still, but you know I really don't mind walking most of the time. I only live about a mile from town so I do a lot of walking.”

Throughout the future, Geiselman hopes she can continue to bring the bus service for seniors to Culver.

“I think it's very important for seniors. Some of just need a little help taking those long trips to the doctor and other places that we have to go. I think it means a lot to the town and I know that it means a lot to us.”

The United Way of Marshall County has continuously conducted annual fundraising campaigns in support of local health and human service not-for-profit organizations for over 50 years. The United Way has allocated more than $8 million to local agencies for everything from basic necessities like food to tutoring programs for youth to helping the elderly get to the doctor.

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