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Partners in living well: Time to recognize our outstanding seniors

A well-kept secret is a person who contributes to others, enhancing his or her own life as well. It's someone for whom volunteering is not a sacrifice, but a golden opportunity. One friend put it this way: "You lose the time to worry, complain or even feel aches and pains." Other benefits are the warmth and gratification of sharing joy with others and the satisfaction of contributing to worthy causes. When my husband was growing up, my father-in-law regularly asked him this question: What have you done for mankind today? Whether it was singing in the church choir, flipping pancakes, lending expertise on various boards, or acting behind the scenes to meet the needs in his community, he organized his life around these activities.

Have you spotted a cheerful person like this in your midst? Have his or her efforts gone unrecognized? You can be the one who makes sure they are recognized by nominating them as the Outstanding Senior Volunteer. The basic criteria posted by the Minnesota State Fair are:

• The nominee must be a resident of Minnesota.

• The nominee's volunteer service must be accomplished after reaching age 65.

• Nominee must be age 70 by June 1, 2013.

• Nominee must currently do a volunteer activity that is unpaid and demonstrates commitment to their local community

The written nomination must include the following:

• Diversity of accomplishments

• How this person has touched the lives of other people in the community

• Total scope of activities, including years of service and time commitment

• Variety of services performed and involvement in organizations

• Quantity of accomplishments and amount of service after age 65

• Quality of activities, especially innovative services

• Geographic area covered by their service

• Individuals are encouraged to submit up to three letters of recommendation that focus on the candidate's achievements. No more than three letters will be used in the judging process.

Nomination forms are available at, or at these locations in Two Harbors: Louise's Place, McDonald's, Lake View Rehab and Fitness Center and the Community Partners office at Bayview Terrace. They will be collected at these locations, or you can drop them off at Community Partners at Bayview. The deadline for submissions is July 31.

A committee has been formed in conjunction with Socially Active Seniors and Community Partners to select the local winner. This winner will be recognized at the annual senior luncheon held Thursday, Aug. 8, at the Lake County Fair. Our winner will be submitted to the Minnesota State Fair to be considered for the state-wide award.

The Senior Day and the Luncheon at the Lake County Fair promises to be an enjoyable event with music, food and friends. Does it get better than that? See you at the Fair!

Arna Rennan is the activity director for Socially Active Seniors, Reach her at 218-525-4534 or

Reach Kirsten Cruikshank at Community Partners at 218-834-8024 or