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First-Ever Peace Corps Marker in the Country Dedicated in Plainview

September 22, 2018 11:44 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton declared Saturday, September 22nd Minnesota Peace Corps Volunteer Recognition Day, and Plainview was recognized for its contributions to the organization.

Ken Flies grew up on a farm just outside of Plainview, "I was always interested in foreign countries. I had a set of old encyclopedias under my bed that I got from an old rural school," said Ken.

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After a year of college, Ken decided to turn this interest into a lifestyle, by joining the Peace Corps in its first year of existence.

He took off to Brazil where he could use his Southern Minnesota farming skills to help the foreign country, "I got into agriculture and I had garden projects at one time with 300 families. I had a greenhouse of my own," said Ken.

Ken was one of four Plainview volunteers to serve in the Peace Corps that first year.

It was this contribution that led to the first Peace Corps marker placed in the United States to be dedicated in Plainview, "The community has come out as well to support them and show our appreciation for the Peace Corps volunteers that have served. Plainview is apparently the epicenter of the Peace Corps community," said President and CEO of the National Peace Corps Association Glenn Blumhorst.

About 30 past volunteers from around the state came to the dedication.

Betty Schilling served in Venezuela in 1967. She came from Woodbury to show for support for the dedication, "I think it's important that people know that there have long been people who want to be world citizens and want to have a vision for a world that can work together and honor differences," said Betty.

Ken says Plainview produced many people with these values because of the tight-knit community, "I think it was a very strong moralistic community," said Ken.

Ken recently wrote a memoir about his experience.  It is called Into the Backlands and is available on Amazon.

Credits

Talia Milavetz

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