The Itasca County Outstanding Senior Volunteer Awards are presented every year to honor the outstanding service of volunteers age 70 and older in Itasca County. Nominations are now being accepted for the 2019 awards. To be eligible, nominees must be a resident of Itasca County, be 70 years of age or older on or before June 1, 2019, and must currently be volunteering. Nominations may be submitted by any individual, group or organization, but not by the nominees themselves.

A selection committee from outside of Itasca County will review the nominations and select two individuals (one male and one female) who best meet the award criteria. All nominees will be honored at the Itasca County “Senior Day at the Fair” on Friday, Aug. 16. The Itasca County award recipient nominations are then forwarded to the Minnesota State Fair for consideration for the statewide awards, which will be presented on Thursday, Aug. 29, at the State Fair. The Minnesota State Fair began honoring outstanding senior volunteers in 1965, and Itasca County has participated since 1971. Itasca County has had quite a showing at the Minnesota State Fair in previous years, with state awards having been presented to Judy Peterson from Grand Rapids in 2018, Gwenn Smith from Deer River in 2017, Lloyd Adams from Wabana in 2013 and Joan Oja from Pengilly in 2011; and First Runner-Up awards going to Jerry Kleven from Grand Rapids in 2018, Chuck Hilgedick from Bigfork in 2017, Jim Sommers from Cohasset in 2015 and Lorraine Linser from Grand Rapids in 2008.

Award recipients are selected based on the Minnesota State Fair criteria including quantity, quality and diversity of their volunteer service after the age of 65, and how their volunteering efforts have touched the lives of people in their community. Other criteria such as leadership roles and service awards are also considered.

Itasca County individuals or organizations are encouraged to submit nominations on behalf of senior volunteers who demonstrate the spirit of generous volunteering, who go above and beyond for their community, and who are committed to volunteer service. Nomination forms and instructions are available at the ElderCircle office at 400 River Road in Grand Rapids, 218-999-9233 or ecircle@eldercircle.org. Nominations will be accepted until 12 p.m. on Friday, July 26.

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