From the Northwoods to Hammer

By Karen Lafferty, Graphic Designer

My connection with Hammer Residences began in the 1990s, before Hammer moved to their current office building. I met with Ellen Timmerman-Borer in hopes of doing graphic design work as an independent contractor. We met a number of times over the next year or two as Ellen made some decisions on working with new graphic designers.

Karen (right) volunteering at Reach for Ralph 2014.

Karen (right) volunteering at Reach for Ralph 2014.

Then, on a beautiful summer day, I was hiking deep in the woods with my husband and two small children on the Superior Trail in Northern Minnesota. It was deserted until we saw another family approaching. As we got closer, the woman called my name: “Karen, is that you?” It took me a second to recognize the voice and face, but sure enough, it was Ellen.

She took our unlikely wilderness meeting as a sign that we should work together, and we have ever since. Over the years I have produced newsletters, annual reports, appeals, and brochures for Hammer. I have volunteered on a number of projects, served on the arts committee and have even painted a few of the big Ralph statues you see around Wayzata.

RFR logo 2015Hammer has truly enriched my life. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed everyone I have met and worked with over the years. I am constantly amazed by the care and support each employee provides to improve and enhance the lives of the individuals they serve. I consider it an honor to help share just some of the many amazing stories of this great organization.

Now that summer is here, Reach for Ralph is quickly approaching. This annual benefit is always an exciting event! This year I have been lucky enough to design the invitation and program using the colorful art of Robin Westergreen who lives in an apartment supported by Hammer. It is a joy to meet other Hammer supporters at the event and I cannot wait to see what magic the night will unfold.

I sincerely value my connection to Hammer and plan to stay connected for years to come!


  1. Angela Bernhardt

    Thanks Karen for your great work on behalf of Hammer!

  2. Suzanne Wanous

    Thank you so much, Karen, for all the time and talent you give back to those we support at Hammer. You are a Hammer treasure!


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