2011 Volunteers of the Year

Date: May 10th, 2011

The Saint Paul Public Library named Ray Wallin and Jerry Kettunen as its 2011 Volunteers of the Year during the library's annual volunteer appreciation event Tuesday, May 10, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, downtown St. Paul, Minn.
Ray Wallin has been volunteering at the Rondo Library Homework Center for three years. He is a versatile tutor, skilled in many subject areas, though students tend to seek him out for his math expertise.

For the last 15 years, Wallin has owned and operated his own painting company. He also holds an MBA from Saint Thomas University in Saint Paul. Described as a Renaissance man who likes Ping-Pong, writing, photography and winter-camping, Wallin enjoys tutoring in the homework center for some of the same reasons he likes Ping-Pong-because it's one of the few sports you play with people who are not your own age. In a given volunteer shift, a tutor might work with elementary students on reading, high school students in calculus and adult learners on English and writing.

"His patience, intelligence and investment in the students and their learning was a pleasure to watch throughout the year," said Max Bielenberg, Information Literacy Coordinator, Rondo Community Outreach Coordinator. "He has helped many, many students learn not only how to do their homework, but to recognize their goals and take steps forward. It is for this that he was named the Saint Paul Public Library's 2011 Co-Volunteer of the Year."

Wallin lives in Saint Paul and has two sons.

Jerry Kettunen has been volunteering at the Rondo Homework Center for four years. Kettunen said he got involved with tutoring, because of a sense of civic responsibility. He felt that he had benefited from good public schools on the Iron Range and tutoring was a chance to give back.

Kettunen graduated from the Milwaukee School of Engineering and spent 10 years working for computer hardware companies before joining 3M Company, where he worked for 28 years.

His outlook on tutoring was largely shaped by his years as an engineer. He enjoys being the guru who students regularly for help. However, he prefers to render himself obsolete by teaching students the skills they need to be self-sufficient and to confront future homework assignments on their own.

"Watching Jerry tutor is a delight," Bielenberg said. "His patience shines through in every interaction. If the students have trouble with a concept, Jerry will see them through it. It is for his dependability, his dedication and his deep interest in helping every student reach their potential that Jerry was named Saint Paul Public Library Co-Volunteer of the Year for 2011."

Kettunen lives in Saint Paul with his wife and daughter.

Wallin and Kettunen are among the adult volunteers who participated in the Saint Paul Public Library's volunteer activities in 2010. Volunteers supported special events, tax preparation, paw pals, summer reading, neighborhood beautification, literacy help, computer classes, leisure time activity classes, homework centers, tutors, and other support services within the library.

More about Saint Paul Public Library

The Saint Paul Public Library connects people in Saint Paul with the imperative and the joy of learning through a lifetime. Saint Paul residents can enjoy free access to technology, books, movies, music, classes and more. We're located in 12 neighborhood libraries, Central Library and the Bookmobile. Visit us in your neighborhood or online at sppl.org!