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Rose Elam receives Presidential Volunteer Service Award

Rose Elam of Silver Bay recently received the Presidential Volunteer Service Award signed by President Barack Obama. The award is given to those who provide 4,000 volunteer hours to their communities. From left to right: Ward Wallin, Rose Elam, and Michelle Miller of the Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency. Photo by Ken Vogel

Ken Vogel

Last week, the Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency Retired and Senior Volunteer Program coordinator Michelle Miller presented Rose Elam with the Presidential Volunteer Service Award. Elam is one of few honorees in the region.

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The prestigious award is a national honor given to volunteers in recognition of providing at least 4000 hours of volunteer service to their communities. Established in 2003, the award was intended to recognize the sustained commitment of citizens who volunteer their time to promote healthy communities, and to inspire others to contribute volunteer service, also. The program continues as an initiative of the Corporation for National and Community Service.

“This is a prestigious award that has been given to only two people in northeast Minnesota,” Miller told Elam. “You are being honored by the President for completing over 4,000 hours of voluntary service to the veterans home.” Elam was a little taken aback by the honor.

“It was such a surprise I thought I was going to faint,” she said after receiving the coveted award.

Elam is no stranger to volunteer service, having been involved in PTA, church functions, Girl Scouts and Meals on Wheels, to name a few. She has been volunteering her time at the Minnesota Veterans Home in Silver Bay, where her husband is a resident, since 1991.

“One of my favorite things is taking the woman of the Vets home up to the beauty shop,” she said, “even though they may have limitations, they like being cared about.”

Although she has received an award for her commitment to volunteerism, Elam has no plans to rest on her laurels. She said she plans to keep serving her community as a volunteer.

“I am going to continue to do this for as long as I am able to walk,” she said. “It is so rewarding to get a smile returned from the people there, and they depend on me.”

Elam said she wanted to thank everyone for the award, adding that “it is one of the best things I ever received, I feel so honored.”

“It’s pretty awesome that one of the volunteers for the vets’ home is the recipient of such a prestigious award. Rose truly loves to volunteer here and it shows,” said Silver Bay Veterans Home Volunteer Services Coordinator Ward Wallin.