A lifetime resident of Martin Co. passed away just over a year ago, but left behind a gift that will impact the city of Fairmont for many years to come.

"He wanted to do what he wanted when he wanted to do it," Fairmont attorney John Edman said.

For Marlin Milbrandt, that meant giving back to his community.
"Marlin was a firm believer and lover of his own community. Martin County and the city of Fairmont," Edman said. 

Even finding ways to continue doing just that after passing away last January at the age of 91.
"It's still surreal. When we first found out we were all sitting in a meeting," executive director of the Fairmont Opera House Blake Pothoff said.
"It came as a complete surprise. We didn't expect it or anticipate anything like this," executive director of the Martin County Historical Society Lenny Tvedten said.

Leaving behind $1 million checks to organizations in the community.

"We have a local man here who believed so strongly in the local organizations, and doing something good for the local people. He was willing to commit the bulk of his estate to go to these charities," Edman said.

The official announcement was made last Friday when checks were given to five lucky organizations: the Fairmont Community Hospital Foundation, Lakeview Methodist Healthcare foundation, the Fairmont Opera House, the Fairmont Chapter of the Salvation Army and the Martin County Historical Society.

"He did like history. He was very impressed with history and I would hope that he felt that we do a good job in maintaining local history and that's one of the reasons that he left money here," Tvedten said.

Tvedten says it is still undetermined how the donation will be spent, but says digitizing newspapers and adding a virtual tour of the museum may be on the list.

As for the Fairmont Opera House...

"We're going to start with renovations here at the Opera House this spring," Pothoff said.
Milbrandt gifted a number of local charities throughout his lifetime, but were all made anonymously until his passing.

--KEYC News 12