Arnold "Casey" Stengel may have retired as a Brainerd High School counselor and assistant football and baseball coach back in 1992, but Stengel never stopped making a difference in the lives of others.
Stengel was recognized Wednesday during Senior Citizen Day at the Crow Wing County Fair for being named the 2005 Crow Wing County Outstanding Senior Citizen of the Year. He will represent the county during the Minnesota State Fair on Sept. 1, or Senior Day, competing for the title of Minnesota's Outstanding Senior.
Stengel, 70, of Brainerd, was nominated for the honor by Kinship Partners in Brainerd, where he has volunteered as a Kinship Partner for the past 12 years. Before that, he had been part of the Big Brother program and partnered with a young boy who is now in his 40s, he said. His current Kinship Partner is a BHS senior and his previous one is about to graduate from college.
Stengel volunteers about two hours a week for Meals on Wheels, delivering meals to the elderly and shut-ins. He is an Interfaith Befriender and visits weekly with a wheelchair-bound person. He provides transportation to cancer patients who need rides to medical appointments. He also leads and organized an Over 55 softball and volleyball league, is a supporter of Brainerd Sports Boosters and volunteers building homes for low-income families through Habitat for Humanity. He also solicits donations for several charitable organizations, including the American Cancer Society, Leukemia Foundation and March of Dimes.
Stengel is active in the Brainerd Kiwanis Club, where he is chair of the Young Child Committee and has been working this week at the organization's booth at the county fair. He also is involved with coordinating the selection of inductees into the Brainerd High School Distinguished Achievement Hall of Fame and serves as secretary of the Brainerd chapter of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association and co-chair of the association's Hides for Habitat program.
As a Kiwanis member, Stengel spends time during the school year reading to 4-year-olds enrolled in HeadStart.
"I like to think I do stuff that really counts," Stengel said.
Stengel and his wife, Doris, have been married 49 years and have three children and five grandchildren. He retired 13 years ago from BHS where he had been a counselor for 28 years and had been an assistant high school football coach for nine years and an assistant high school baseball coach for 11 years. He also coached a ninth-grade VFW baseball team.
Stengel said he always felt that his life's calling was working with children. He grew up in the small town of Saum in Beltrami County. Both his parents were Norwegian immigrants.
Many people may not be aware that Stengel's real name is Arnold. Stengel earned the nickname "Casey" when he was in college, coined after the famed manager of the New York Yankees, Casey Stengel.
The announcement for the Crow Wing County 2005 Outstanding Senior Citizen of the Year was made on July 21 during the annual senior picnic at Mission Park. The program is sponsored by the Crow Wing County Council on Aging.
JODIE TWEED can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5858.
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