Two new Crow Wing Outstanding Senior Citizens were recognized at a ceremony on Thursday. Their next stop is the statewide competition at the Minnesota State Fair.
Mission Park was occupied by 280 senior citizens for an annual senior picnic and recognition ceremony. Nine Crow Wing County senior citizens were nominated to hold the title of outstanding senior citizen, and one man and one woman were chosen.
Ruth Gogolin, Brainerd, and Eugene Kennedy, Pequot Lakes, were named the Crow Wing County Outstanding Senior Citizens for 2000 because of their dedication to serving their communities.
Gogolin volunteers at the Brainerd Regional Human Services Center and has volunteered in hospice care since 1994. Her peers describe her as a gentle spirit and an excellent listener. She is a Bethany Good Samaritan Center auxiliary member and a RSVP volunteer. As past president of the auxiliary, she has been the driving force behind the creation of the gift and coffee shop.
Kennedy is said to be "Mr. Welcome" of Pequot Lakes, as he welcomes newcomers and the needy into his community. He formed and planned the Over 50 group of Nisswa's St. Christopher and Pequot's St. Alice churches. As a family, they have taken countless people into their home to provide a temporary home. He served on the board of directors at the Whispering Pines Good Samaritan Center. He has been active as a merit badge counselor for the local Boy Scouts Troop for the last 20 years.
"I do the things I do because I enjoy them," said Kennedy.
To be eligible for the award, seniors must be 70 years old and have performed volunteer work in their communities. Judging is based on the variety, quantity, diversity of accomplishments, quality and amount of volunteer services performed after the age of 65 years. Judging was done by the officers of the Crow Wing County Council on Aging.
"All of the nominees are outstanding senior volunteers. They are very caring people who give to their communities," said senior advocate Judy Meyer.
The other seven nominated volunteers were Lola Butcher, Nisswa; Pat Martinson, Brainerd; Jean LeDoux, Brainerd; Viola Bodle, Crosby; Arthur Bodle, Crosby; William Pieper, Brainerd; and Vern LeDoux, Brainerd.
The event was sponsored by Crow Wing County Council on Aging, Mid-Minnesota Federal Credit Union and Crow Wing Power and Trust.
"It's not so much an award as it is recognition for the time they put in and the talents they have," said Meyer. "They are truly an example for the younger seniors to follow."
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