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Bergen retirement reception Jan. 20

January 13, 2013
By MIKE DONAHEY - Staff Writer ( , Times-Republican

"Jean Bergen is the House of Compassion."

House of Compassion (HoC) board president Sharon Olson said that of Bergen, and now central Iowans can thank the outgoing director for aggressively working to better the lives of the homeless, the hungry and the needy.

Bergen is retiring as HoC executive Jan. 31 after 16 years of service.

Article Photos

This Dec. 20, 2009 photo shows House of Compassion director Jean Bergen sacking paper products for a resident at the facility’s supply closet. During Bergen’s tenure, the House of Compassion became the headquarters for Marshalltown’s homeless shelter, school supplies, soup kitchen, supply closet, and numerous other free-of-charge services benefiting needy central Iowans.

A retirement reception honoring Bergen will be from 2 to 4 p.m. Jan. 20. at Marshalltown's Trinity Lutheran Church, 1011 S. Third Ave.

A short program will commence at 3 p.m.

The Rev. Gregg Davison of Trinity, who was instrumental in developing the House of Compassion, lauded Bergen.

Fact Box

If you go ...

What: Retirement reception for House of Compassion director Jean Bergen

When: 2 to 4 p.m., Jan. 20. A short program will be presented at 3 p.m.

Where: Trinity Lutheran Church, 1011 S. Third Ave., Marshalltown

"For 16 years Jean dutifully served the poor and the homeless ... we honor her for the faithful ministry she has had on behalf of the people of our community. The public is encouraged and welcome to attend."

However, Bergen said she plans on volunteering at the soup kitchen periodically and will be helping the less-fortunate in other capacities.

She credited her faith, prayer and a strong commitment to helping those in need as critical in helping her rise to daily challenges.

"I've always loved working with those in poverty," she said. "It has been a passion. I grew up poor without knowing it."

Karen Frowhein of State Center was hired to succeed Bergen.

She began her duties Jan. 2.


Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or



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