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'Not about me'

Carol Meyer, a retired bank officer with extensive volunteer experience, was honored with the 2018 Outstanding Senior Citizen Award for women at the Douglas County Fair on Thursday, Aug. 16. (Karen Tolkkinen / Echo Press)1 / 2
Art Berg, a retired professional photographer, was honored with the 2018 Outstanding Senior Citizen Award for men at the Douglas County Fair for his many years of volunteering in the community. He was nominated by Helen Glade, left. (Karen Tolkkinen / Echo Press)2 / 2

When Carole Meyer took the microphone after receiving the 2018 Outstanding Senior Citizen Award for women at the Douglas County Fair, she made one thing clear.

"This is not about me," said Meyer, 76, adding that she was accepting the award on behalf of the organizations she cares about: West Central Communities Action, Junior Achievement, the Douglas County Historical Society and the Alexandria United Methodist Church.

Art Berg struck a similar tone when awarded the 2018 Outstanding Senior Citizen Award for men — using his time at the microphone to plead for more volunteers for area organizations.

"I hope we can get more drivers for Meals on Wheels," said the 96-year-old Berg.

Sponsored by the Minnesota State Fair and county fairs, the award is given out each year. Honorees then get the chance to be recognized at the State Fair on Senior Day, Aug. 30. Neither Meyer nor Berg said they were likely to make the trek there.

Meyer, a former bank officer, said she most enjoys helping low-income families with taxes through West Central Communities Action.

"I love numbers and people," she said.

She also enjoys teaching children in the early elementary grades about the world around them, starting with their families and expanding to their communities and the businesses in them.

Ruth Turner nominated Meyer, writing, "We are grateful for the time she has given and the passion and energy she has shown to be an influence in the lives of our youth."

Berg hands out programs at the Central Lakes Concert Association, helps with accounting for the Jingle Bells Telethon, ushers at his church, runs the dishwasher at the Alexandria Senior Center, brings veterans together to share experiences, supplies information for a community calendar, and has visited patients after their surgeries.

He was nominated by Helen Glade, who said that age has forced him to scale back the time he spends volunteering.

"He's getting up there in years," she told the crowd gathered for the award ceremony on Thursday, Aug. 16. "It's nice to smell your roses while you're still living."