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Local newspaper delivery driver remembered for keeping a safe eye on Bemidjji

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local Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

Glenn Morrison, a 15-year veteran Bemidji Pioneer delivery route driver who saved a family from a house fire in January 2004, will be laid to rest Wednesday.

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Morrison, who delivered Pioneers for 15 years, spoke with his wife, Bertha, shortly before noon Dec. 22. When she returned home about 4 p.m. she found him collapsed with his lunch still in the microwave and his dog by his side.

"We've spent three quarters of our lives together," said Bertha. "He's a special person."

Glenn's funeral will be held at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 30, at Olson-Schwartz Funeral Home. Visitation will be held one hour before the service at the funeral home.

Glenn delivered the newspaper in the Cass Lake-Walker route. Every night, he drove through parts of Beltrami, Cass and Hubbard counties.

"He was very involved with the Beltrami Community Guard," said Tedd Wisner, Pioneer circulation director. "Being out at that time of night, he could keep an eye on things."

Beryl Wernberg, Beltrami County emergency and communications director, said former Sheriff Keith Winger established the Community Guard in 2001 after the attacks on the Twin Towers and Pentagon. The members drive around the county in shifts watching for any suspicious activity or anything that seems unusual.

"The Community Guard is our eyes and ears," she said.

In that capacity, on Jan. 25, 2004, Glenn was driving in Hart Lake Township, Hubbard County, when he spotted a fire. Realizing that something was wrong, Glenn dialed 911 on his cell phone and drove to the site of the fire near the Cass County line. He found a house engulfed in flames. After arriving at the scene, Morrison repeatedly honked his horn and pounded on the door to wake anyone inside.

Gloria Bodhaine of rural Cass Lake, her husband, Robin, and Shane Overton, were able to escape the fire. Gloria Bodhaine told Mills and county officials that Morrison was a guardian angel and a hero.

Mills described Glenn's actions as a prime example of responsible citizenship.

During a recognition ceremony in Park Rapids Feb. 4, 2004, then Hubbard County Sheriff Gary Mills presented Glenn with a hero plaque. Beltrami County also gave Glenn a hero plaque. Bertha said she will display these honors at the visitation Wednesday.

Wisner said Glenn, a member of the Just Ride Group, always talked of his dream of taking a motorcycle trip out West with Bertha, but he never managed to fulfill that desire.

"When you're a route driver, you're very tied to your route," he said. "He was very reliable and dependable and well liked by his customers."

He said Glenn would also fill in for other drivers if someone failed to turn up or there was some emergency.

Glenn was always very well liked by the route drivers," he said.

Christmas tips and gifts were still coming into the circulation office this week, Wisner said. He will present them to Bertha Wednesday.

mmiron@bemidjipioneer.com

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