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home : columns : joel alvstad
February 21, 2018

1/31/2018 9:17:00 AM
Local workers are part of the team hosting Super Bowl LII

Joel Alvstad
Sports Editor

Even without the Vikings playing in the game, there is still plenty of excitement throughout the state about the Super Bowl, which will be played in Minneapolis for just the second time.
The efforts to put together the team behind the scenes was underway long before the Vikings found themselves one win away from playing in the game.
For the host committee, the weekend will see years of work come to fruition.
And for a handful of locals, they'll be able to say they were part of the team that made the Super Bowl a success.
Months ago, a statewide call for volunteers went out to be part of "Crew 52."
Lisa Hiebert, the wife of Mt. Lake native Chris Hiebert, is one of the Crew 52 volunteers.
"I'm excited because it's a great opportunity to showcase how fun it is to live in the 'bold north,'" Hiebert said. "We can showcase what a great place Minnesota is. Personally, I have volunteered in a variety of areas and this gives me a chance to volunteer and showcase the place I love."
Each volunteer signs up for three shifts through the course of the week, through Sunday.
"We have very specific roles," Hiebert said. "We have people deployed all over the city. We're basically ambassadors, helping people find their way around and having a great time.
"My job is to be a skyway guide, so there are shifts leading all the way up to the game to help people get from place to place. We want people to not feel like they are lost. The Minneapolis skyway system is the largest in the U.S. and we want to make it as easy for people as possible. We have stations in different zones and know everything that is around us."
From Windom, Jean Fast, Dana Wallace and Anne Foley are spending time in the Twin Cities this weekend, volunteering to help visitors.
"The three of us went to orientation together, but we're working different shifts," Fast said. "We went online in June to apply. In October, I received an e-mail to come for an interview. They had 30,000 applicants. They interviewed 15,000 and chose 10,000.
"In mid-December, we had to go up for orientation. All 10,000 of us were together. Then, earlier this month, we went up for training for our jobs."
Some of the jobs include being a guide in the skyway system or helping visitors at the Mall of America or at the NFL Experience at the Convention Center. Some will work at the airport. Others will work on Nicollet Mall, which is kind of the center of outdoor activity this week.
"I'm not sure about what Dana and Anne are doing, but I will be working at the volunteer headquarters downtown on Nicollet Mall," Fast said. "I would call what we are doing hospitality. We're there to help point people in the right direction."
But Fast added all the volunteers will have other important jobs.
"We're kind of the eyes and ears for security," Fast said. "We're going to be watching for suspicious activity, potential terrorism or even sex trafficing."
The downside for the volunteers is that they won't be able to see the game in person.
"Most of the people in close proximity to the game are employed at stadium security or directly by the NFL," Hiebert said.
Two people who will be working a little closer to the activity of the stadium on game day are Mike and Kera Haugen of Windom.
"We're going to be protective agents, providing security, which is a paid position," Kera said. "There are people working at Mall of America, the Convention Center, Nicollet Mall and at U.S. Bank Stadium. I know at some point I'll be working at the Mall of America, which is where they are having media day."
Kera said she and her husband applied for a security position through Safe Management, which is one of the security firms assisting with Super Bowl week.
The Haugens went to an interview in the Twin Cities a few months ago and were hired on the spot.
"We had to do seven hours of online training and a five-hour training session in the Cities," Kera said. "We can pick our shifts through the week, but Super Bowl Sunday is a mandatory work day.
"We'll actually be on site for the Super Bowl, so hopefully we'll get to see some of the game or some famous people. It's a big responsibility to help the Super Bowl go off without a hitch, but I think we're ready for it."

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