A Simple Twist of Fate: Dennis & Densel

One of Densel’s favorite quotes, which means so much to Dennis as well, was from Fred Rogers: “If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.”

Dennis De Leon, a former student of Densel Rasmussen (b. 1955 — d. 2017), started his journey to the Literacy Council from his home country of Guatemala. He worked with Densel at the Literacy Council for many years, and during that time they grew very close. They would even meet at Densel’s house on Wednesday nights to study, share a meal, and watch Modern Family.

When Densel became ill, Dennis took another step on his journey with Densel by moving into Densel’s house to help him as he became more and more dependent upon others for daily tasks. During their years together, Dennis and Densel grew to be like family. Throughout this time, Dennis also became bilingual in Spanish and English.

Although Densel has now passed on, the impact he left on Dennis’ life and the lives of others in our community continues even now. Dennis was inspired by Densel to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, and to pursue teaching with the Literacy Council. He said that he could hear Densel telling him to continue spreading the good.

Dennis and Densel

The student has become the teacher.​​

After “graduating” from the Literacy Council's program, Dennis began to volunteering here. He now teaches bi-weekly Group Classes for Spanish speakers. Dennis feels that by volunteering, he is honoring Densel whom he considers to have been a father to him. Dennis feels that, “To me he was my dad even though he didn’t bring me into this world, because he did something better; he give a good life to live, and I am on the right path that he set me on. He made me the person who I am right now.”

We all miss Densel Rasmussen, and honor his memory for the time and effort he dedicated to the Literacy Council and to other organizations in our community. Dennis wants us all to remember Densel’s life motto, which Dennis uses as a guide for how he wants to live his life now: “Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.”

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115 W. Charles St.
Grand Island, NE 68801