Two Crow Wing County volunteers stepped out from behind the scenes Wednesday, July 18, and received plaques and corsages in front of a cheering audience during a picnic at Brainerd's Lum Park.
Peggy Saumer of East Gull Lake and Nick Reindl of Brainerd are the winners of the 2018 Outstanding Senior Citizen Awards, presented by The Center in Brainerd.
Both recognized for their compassion and willingness to help others in the community, Saumer and Reindl will be honored at the Crow Wing County Fair, the Minnesota State Fair and the Distinguished Service Awards Banquet. They will compete with other senior volunteers for the Minnesota 2018 Outstanding Senior Citizen Award.
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KLICK! Photo Gallery - Crow Wing County Outstanding Seniors
39 photos - Klick to view!
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Though the awards were surprises for both Saumer and Reindl, they each knew something special was going on when their family members showed up to the picnic. For Saumer, it was her daughter's presence and for Reindl it was seven grandchildren, who got the honor of presenting their grandfather with the award.
In a nomination letter signed by Maggie, Nicolai, William, Ivan, Jonah, Simon and Clara Reindl, the kids described their grandpa as nice and really fun, also noting he drives three hours to see all of their school plays.
Outside of family life, Reindl, 67, serves on The Center's board of directors and helps out with the annual plant sale and the theatre program at The Center. He also volunteers with the Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge sustainable garden at the Northland Arboretum, the Sons of Norway, the Knights of Columbus and the Crow Wing County Genealogy Society.
Despite all of their personal volunteer contributions, Reindl made sure to mention he and Saumer are not alone in helping out the community.
"We're just part of a larger core of volunteers at each of the organizations we participate in," he said.
Saumer, 71, echoed those sentiments.
"I'm just totally humbled because I realize how many other people do the same thing and do it well, so it's very touching," she said.
DeAnn Barry, executive director of The Center, noted Saumer's willingness to help out those around her.
"You just ask and she volunteers," Barry said. "She's loved by everyone where she volunteers. She's dedicated and a joy to be around."
Saumer's volunteer activities include patient advocate and endoscopy receptionist at Essentia Health-St. Joseph's Medical Center, serving on the SGK Education Committee for Susan G. Komen, ushering at the Lakes Area Music Festival, helping with registration at American Red Cross blood drives, serving in the soup kitchen at Trinity Lutheran Church, and volunteering with the Sons of Norway.
"Peggy is the type of volunteer that slides under the radar - she comes, does her work and is gone," wrote Deb Anderson, volunteer supervisor at Essentia Health-St. Joseph's Medical Center, in her nomination letter for Saumer. "Peggy is very dedicated and lives out the mission of our organization with joy, compassion and empathy."
The Minnesota State Fair dictates the criteria for award winners. Judges for the Minnesota Outstanding Senior Citizen Award look at each nominee's quantity of accomplishments and service activities after age 65 and make their decisions based on diversity of accomplishments, total scope and quality of activities, variety of services, and how each person has touched the lives of others in their community.
For more photos of the outstanding senior presentation go https://bit.ly/2O1PExU