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DIA Volunteers
DIA Volunteers

Volunteer Award Winner:
Marlene Erlenbach

Speakers Bureau Records and Awards Chairman - March 2009

Marlene Erlenbach might be best described by her Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) Speakers Bureau (SB) colleagues as thorough and persistent. She keeps track of members' talks, volunteer hours, mileage, and money donated by organizations that request talks as records and awards chairperson. She depends on members for this information and gathers it by email, always making sure stats are submitted in a timely fashion.

Erlenbach's involvement with DIA began in 1977 when her husband accepted a job as DIA budget analyst. Philip J. Erlenbach retired from that job in 1998, then signed on as a volunteer in Gallery Service. Erlenbach worked 20 years for several financial organizations, hiring and training agents. She began volunteering on the Gallery Information committee in 1996. "On my first day, they made me shift captain," she said. She eventually served two years as chairperson of the committee. "In 1997, Vic Tahill, now an honorary member of SB, asked me to keep track of SB talks," Erlenbach said. "At the time the DIA had a specific program for record keeping which meant that I had to come down to the DIA to do my job. Then, about eight years ago, the DIA went with Word, a system I have at home. Now I work at home."

The Erlenbach's have five children, five grandchildren and one great-granddaughter. They live in a condo for seniors, where Marlene serves as head of the condo's library committee. She and her husband love traveling. After her husband retired, they went to Europe and the UK and they took six weeks off to travel throughout the southeastern states. They've cruised in Alaska, the Mediterranean, the East and West Caribbean and the Mexican Riviera. Erlenbach said her years volunteering at the DIA have been interesting and rewarding. "What better place," Erlenbach said. "What beauty, especially since the re-opening. We got teary-eyed when Graham Beal locked the door last May and closed the museum for six months. It was an emotional time for a lot of us. I love (volunteering at the DIA)."

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