Verendrye makes landmark donation to historic Karlsruhe church

MINOT, N.D. - A charity campaign started in the 90's by Verendrye Electric Cooperative has now turned into a million-dollar effort.

This unassuming church in rural McHenry County is a piece of North Dakota's history.

For Vera Nelson, her life has revolved around Norway Lutheran Church.

“I've married into this church when I married my husband, and I've been involved ever since,” said Vera Nelson, with the church’s trust.

The church itself may be 110 years old, but the organ still works, after you give the pedals a few pumps.

The church is no longer active, but the trust that keeps it going graciously accepted 17 hundred dollars from Verendrye Electric.

In that amount is the millionth dollar Verendrye has collected from its customers and donated, a part of its 'Operation Roundup' campaign which started in the '90s.

“This is a historic church. It's kinda right in the heart of our service area. It's very close to the little town of Verendrye, where Verendrye started from,” said Randy Hauck, Verendrye General Manager.

“I think it's a great honor for Norway Church to be chosen for this because it's something that's historic,” said Nelson.

Nelson's niece Laurel Nelson Wentz fought back tears when looking back on the role the church played in her life.

“We all met here on Sundays, and we grew up together. And it was just a very, very emotional place,” said Wentz.

Now they're introducing the next generation to this North Dakota treasure, which is on the national historic register.

The money will go to refurbishing the steeple and the church's exterior.

The church is inactive, though they do hold a couple of services each year.

If you think your organization would qualify for a donation from Operation Roundup, you can go on the Verendrye Electric website: http://www.verendrye.com/content/operation-round