Long-time Medora volunteer survives stroke, returns for her 15th year

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A senior volunteer at the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation suffered a stroke that could have greatly affected her passion. Fortunately, she made a full recovery and was able to return this year.

Lonnie Bonner has committed her past 15 years to volunteering at the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation.

The foundation offers life-changing experiences through history, education and entertainment.
Among the many activities available, there’s the one she enjoys most.

“The shooting gallery. That’s my favorite because I can stand there and talk to everybody that goes up and down the street,” said Bonner.

In February, Bonner noticed something unusual about herself when she woke up. There was little feeling in her leg.

She made a visit to the doctor and heard some shocking news.

“They told me I had a stroke,” Bonner said.

The 73-year-old did not let the stroke get in the way of doing what she loves most: volunteering.

“I had already signed up to volunteer out here, and I didn’t want to miss that,” Bonner added.

Volunteer Coordinator Peggy Gunther said it would not be the same without Bonner’s annual visit.

“It would have been a loss of spirit loss in this group to be very honest with you. Her sense of humor, her dedication, her joy is infectious. It just would have been a missing link,” Gunther said.

Gunther says volunteers at the foundation build a bond.

“In many ways, we think of each other as family, we take care of each other like family. That’s just who the volunteers are to me in general,” she said.

After spending just a day and a half in the hospital, and 10 days at home, Bonner recovered and knew she would be back volunteering this summer. She said there’s no place like Medora.

“I feel like I’m strong. I don’t have that same feeling at home. I’m not afraid of my safety, it’s just something about Medora,” Bonner said.

The foundation uses about 650 volunteers during the summer season and 720 during winter activities.

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