Richard Endres of Brainerd is one of 11 Minnesotans who will be honored today with a Virginia McKnight Binger award in human service.
"I am very pleased to earn this award," said Endres.
This annual award pays tribute to "unsung heroes," who go out of their way to help others without expecting anything in return. The awards, each including a $7,500 check, will be presented at a private ceremony today at 2:30 p.m. in Brooklyn Center.
Endres was honored for his work with the Confidence Learning Center, the country's first year-round camp for people with developmental disabilities. He founded the camp in 1976 as a volunteer and became the full-time director. He then retired and came back to the camp as a volunteer. People age 6 to 87 attend the privately funded camp.
Endres said he was told decades ago that people with developmental disabilities could not ski, cook or canoe. He did not agree. He began researching how he could open a camp to help people with disabilities.
"We do things here to help them build confidence in themselves," said Endres. "We do activities with them to help encourage them."
Campers at Confidence Learning Center enjoy typical camp activities, such as fishing, boating and skiing. Endres said people with disabilities are able to do these activities and should be given the chance.
Endres said he appreciates the fantastic job that Jeff Olson, executive director of the camp, has done. He also thanks his wife, Jeanne, for her support.
The McKnight Foundation created the awards in 1985 to honor Minnesota residents whose personal sacrifices enhance the quality of life in their communities. Candidates are nominated by someone who knows the candidate's work. Ten awards are given each year and this year two recipients will share an award.
J.S. Endres nominated Richard Endres.
Other candidates to receive the award are Jean Andrews, Falcon Heights; Melvin Carter Jr., St. Paul; Sylvia Carty, St. Paul; John and Julie Funari, South St. Paul; Hazel Jacobson, Minneapolis; Raleigh Kent, St. Louis Park; George Nelson, Minneapolis; Delroy Schoenleben, Waite Park; and Manuel Zuniga, Moorhead.
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