Every month I receive my copy of The Danish Pioneer and faithfully read about the many wonderful events, organizations and people that are all things Danish in this decades old publication that is published in print and online.  My Mormor told me that this publication will receive the Essence Award at the annual Danish Home Benefit on September 21. So I asked April, who knows all about The Danish Home and just about everything Danish, “What is the Essence Award?”

“The Essence Award was created to honor a person, people or organization that preserves the legacy of The Danish community through their commitment to The Danish Home and its residents,” said April.

Of course, I had to know more.  Linda Steffensen is always about at The Danish Home and while I knew she is the editor of The Pioneer, I never fully understood what this publication meant to Danish organizations and culture.  Diving into the Hope Chest I found an old copy of the Danish Pioneer Newspaper dating back to 1872 and published in Omaha, Nebraska.  Linda was obviously not around then so I had to do some more digging.

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The Pioneer moved to the Chicago area in 1958 and was then published by the Bertelsen family.  Chris Steffenson and his family became involved with the historic newspaper in 1982.  Chris was actually born in Vinderup, Denmark and was knighted by Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II of Denmark for his outstanding service to the Danish-American community.  Today, the parent company of the Pioneer is owned and managed by the Steffensen family.

Chris’ daughter is Linda.  She follows in her father’s footsteps as a champion for the Danish-American community.  Like her father she serves on the national board of the Danish Immigrant Museum and the Rebild National Park Society.  But Linda has added several more organizations to her roster of benevolent causes:  she is on the board of directors for The Danish Home, is secretary of Dania Ladies Society and co-secretary of the Danish Old Settlers along with Sally Hoppe.  Linda is also a board member of Scandinavian Park and the Midwest Danish American Chamber of Commerce.  She is an auxiliary member of DAAC, Danish Brotherhood Lodge #35, Danish Sisterhood Dagmar Lodge #4 and the Women’s Auxiliary.  Also like her Dad, Linda has received the high honor of being named “Mayor for a Day” in Aalborg Denmark.

Elsa and Elizabeth Steffensen also hold important positions at the Danish Pioneer and old offices in many Danish organizations.  The family has launched a vibrant new website for the newspaper:  www.thedanishpioneer.com.  They are continually working to celebrate and preserve the Danish culture and heritage.

We know how deserving the Pioneer and the Steffensen family are of the Essence Award and will certainly be in attendance when they receive it at The Danish Home Foundation Annual Benefit on Sunday, September 21 at Arlington Park and Race Track.  For more information about how you can attend this event and personally congratulate and thank the Steffensen’s, call April at the Danish Home:  773-753-7353.