People packed Trinity Lutheran Church in Owatonna on Saturday to show appreciation to Chuck Jamison, who has retired after 36 years as the Young Life director.

Jamison came to Owatonna in 1981 with the hope of staying a while, "Actually, I hoped I would...When we moved here, I knew it was a possibility." Jamison wanted to become involved "deep in a community." He added that it takes many people to spread the word, "It's been a team effort. Lots of leaders. Lots of committees. But we hope that Christ has really made a difference in people's lives." Jamison announced his retirement early in the school year.

Young Life staff, Owatonna High School representatives, and former and current students shared stories Saturday and told of their appreciation for Jamison's commitment toward youth.

As Owatonna's Young Life program gets ready to install a new director, Jamison says it healthy to give that person space, "some room to put their own stamp on it, not feel like someone's looking over their shoulder." Jamison and his wife, Bonnie, are moving closer to relatives in the south metro, but says he will still visit Owatonna regularly as their daughter has just moved back to town. He also says he will continue to support local causes. He believes a new director will be in place by about October.

He said, "Thank you to this community. We could not have asked for anything more. The people, the support for this ministry and for us. Owatonna will always he home and we are eternally grateful."

In addition to directing Young Life, Jamison has served as an assistant tennis coach at Owatonna High School.