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1947 wedding dress links four generations of brides

Anna Amann is the latest bride in her family to wear her great-grandmother's wedding dress.
HAM LAKE, Minn. — The Swedish settlers who built Our Saviour's Lutheran Chapel in rural Ham Lake girded it with concrete, wood, and tradition.
“Christmas time, every summer service, they always ring the bell,” Anna Amann says while pulling the rope that extends to the bell tower of the white wooden church.
Aside from special occasions, the old church is now retired from service. Still, Anna has built plenty of her own traditions here.  
“Every Christmas morning, before we could open presents or anything else, we'd come to church Christmas morning here,” she says.
Constructed in 1872, the old still somehow connects with the young.
“Yeah, it feels like home,” Anna says as she stands in the church’s center aisle.
Anna was sure of one thing from an early age.
“You know every girl has their wedding planned out since they were 10 years old, so I knew I wanted it here,” she says.

But traditions aren't just constructed with hammers and nails.
“We were talking about wedding dresses and wedding planning fun,” Anna recalls. “And my mom pulled her dress out and was like, “Put this on, see how it looks.'”
Anna's mom, Sheri Stockinger, wore the simple white dress for her wedding in 1995.
Twenty-seven years later, Anna slipped it on.  

anna posing with her dress

“And it was a perfect fit. I didn't need to wear heels. I didn't need to take it up. Everything was perfect,” Anna says.
While Anna admired the dress, her mom’s mind went elsewhere.
“I can't believe I was that little at the time,” Cheri laughs.
In that moment, for the first time, Anna considered extending a legacy. Before her mom wore the dress, her mom’s mom, Barbara Bylund, had also worn the dress on her wedding day in 1969.
“My dad just got back from Vietnam,” says Cheri, holding up her parents’ wedding photo. “And they got married right after he returned.”
But the story of the silk and rayon dress begins even earlier.
“This is my grandma's wedding party in 1947,” Cheri says, holding up another wedding picture.
In the photo, Hank Longley back from WWII, stands next to his bride, Alice, who’s looking stunning in the same white dress.

three generations wearing same dress
caption- Anna Amann’s great-grandparents (left) parents (middle) and grandparents (right), all married with the same dress.

Anna recaps three-quarters of a century of family history. “My mother wore it, my grandmother wore it, and my great-grandmother wore it,” she says.
Then, last month, on a five-degree day, in a 150-year-old church with marginal heat and suspect insulation, Anna wore the same 75-year-old dress.
She was, however, the first of the brides to accessorize with Will Steger Mukluks.
Perfect for a young woman well-grounded.
“The little buttons are my favorite,” says Anna as she touches the tiny white buttons that stand in rows up the dress’ sleeves and down its back.
Their faith tells Anna and Cheri the first two women who wore the dress are now in heaven.
They like to imagine the looks on their faces when Anna put on their dress.
“Oh, they would have just loved it,” Cheri says.
Anna thinks so too.
“’Let me alter it and let me fix your hair and let me find you a matching vail.’ They would have been very happy,” she says.
For decades, Cheri has displayed in her dining room a framed photo of herself in the dress, sandwiched between wedding pictures of her mother and grandmother.
Anna envisions a similar photo display in her home.
Plus, one.
“I definitely want to keep the story alive,” she says.

anna wearing the dress in her wedding
caption: Anna and Max Amann on their wedding day. Anna is wearing the dress also worn by her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother

CPR Save in Linwood Township

The Linwood Township Fire Department was recently featured in an M-Health Fairview article for their life saving efforts during an emergency incident last summer in which they were part of a lifesaving effort. Kim Mannila was visiting her son at his new home in Linwood Township when the emergency occurred. CPR can save lives.

Kim Mannila and her son, Chad Wilczek. Submitted photo.

For Kim Mannila, timing was everything. On July 29, 2021, Mannila, who lives near Aurora, was helping her son, Chad Wilczek, prepare his new home for a surprise birthday party when her heart suddenly stopped beating. She was vacuuming less than an arm’s reach from her son when she collapsed. “I tried talking to her, tried shaking her, with no response,” Wilczek said. He waited a few seconds to see if his mom would come to, then called 911 and began to perform CPR.

A quick response time is essential for people who suffer sudden cardiac arrest, which is different than a heart attack. A heart attack happens when built-up plaque blocks an artery supplying blood to the heart muscle. Sudden cardiac arrest occurs when an electrical problem causes the heart to stop beating altogether. Just weeks before his mom collapsed, Wilczek passed a four-week Emergency Medical Response (EMR) course as part of his application for the Minnesota State Patrol. Thanks to this training, he was able to remain calm and provide compressions and rescue breaths with coaching from a 911 dispatcher.

At 60 compressions, the front door burst open and an Anoka County Sheriff’s deputy rushed into the house. The deputy took over CPR. He asked Wilczek to find and prepare his automated external defibrillator (AED). Because of his training, Wilczek was able to set up the device. Together, they administered a shock to his mother’s heart, then went back to CPR. Within a minute, the Linwood Fire Department team arrived, followed by an M Health Fairview EMS team. Acting quickly, the team used a mechanical chest compression device called a LUCAS to restart Mannila’s heart and get her breathing again before rushing her to M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Medical Center for emergency care. Fortunately, the fire department and the EMS team had also just undergone training in the usage of a LUCAS device.

At the medical center, Mannila was put into a medically induced coma and her body cooled with ice packs for 24 hours to lower risk of brain damage. She doesn’t remember the first five days of her 16-day stay at the hospital but said she’s thankful for the care she received. In October, Mannila met the team that saved her life during the Linwood Fire Department’s weekly training session. They showed her how the LUCAS device worked, and she shook their hands and thanked them for their lifesaving care. M Health Fairview Paramedic Jason Van Tassel was part of the emergency team that evening in July. The speed of the response was a crucial part of the outcome, he said. He also encourages everyone to enroll in CPR training and keep up their certification.

Wilczek also recommends taking CPR classes. The training is more than learning the technique, he said. It builds muscle memory and helps you learn how to set aside panic and think clearly during emergencies. “Have it fresh in your mind because you don’t know when you’re going to use it,” Wilczek said. “Hopefully you never have to, but it’s a blessing that it happened the way that it did.”

For Mannila, the fact she survived is evidence of a larger plan. If she hadn’t been with her son, if the sheriff’s deputy hadn’t responded so quickly with the AED, and if the necessary training by the fire department hadn’t taken place so recently, that night could have unfolded differently.

“God was working,” she said. “Everyone was in the right place at the right time.”

Source: M Health Fairview