On Nov. 12, along with the entire Minnesota House delegation, I proposed two bipartisan bills that would rename two post offices in the 7th District.
The Oklee Post Office would be renamed the Coya Knutson Post Office, in honor of the first Congresswoman from Minnesota. Ms. Cornelia “Coya” Genevive Gjesdal was born in Edmore, North Dakota, in 1912 to Norwegian immigrant farmers. She attended Concordia College in Moorhead before moving to New York City and attending Julliard School of Music with dreams of becoming a professional opera singer. Later, she moved back to Minnesota, where she married Andy Knutson and moved to his farm near Oklee, where they eventually operated a hotel and grain farm and adopted an 8-year-old boy, Terry.
In 1955, she became the first female elected to Congress from the state. She served from 1955 until 1959, where she primarily focused on protecting the family farm and opening educational opportunities. Later, President John F. Kennedy appointed Knutson the liaison officer for the Department of Defense. In her retirement, Coya moved in with her son’s family and helped raise her grandchildren. She passed away Oct. 10, 1996, at the age of 82.
The Vergas Post Office would be renamed for Jon Glawe, a veteran who dedicated 36 years to delivering mail in the Vergas area. Glawe was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1970 and served as a sergeant stationed in Frankfurt, Germany, until he was honorably discharged in 1972. In 1973, he married his high school sweetheart, Darla Olson. After the passing of his father in 1975, Glawe moved home to operate the family dairy farm with his brother and deliver mail to the town of Vergas and the surrounding areas for 36 years until his retirement in 2011.
This mail route was more than a job for Jon. In a way, it was his birthright, because it was the same route his father worked. And, like his father, Jon was beloved by this community. Despite having two full-time jobs, he was always there to give a helping hand, from mowing lawns to delivering important packages after hours to volunteering at his church. He thrived on being with people, had a terrific sense of humor, and could make a friend out of a stranger. He set an example for all those around him on what it meant to lead a good and decent life. Glawe passed away in 2016 at the age of 66.
I’m honored to be able to commemorate these individuals who made such an impact on their communities.
Rep. Michelle Fischbach, R-Minn., represents the 7th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.