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Seven 'outstanding' seniors recognized for community contributions at Douglas County Fair

As part of Senior Day at the Douglas County Fair on Wednesday, Aug. 17, seven Douglas County senior citizens were honored for their volunteer work within the community.

Outstanding Seniors at the Douglas County Fair
Seven seniors were honored for their community achievements during Senior Day at the Douglas County Fair on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022. Back row, from left: Neil Ranum, Dave Anderson, Marlys Englund and Bob Loucks. Front row, from left: Marcia Gae Schmitt and Dorothy Anderson. Not pictured, Pat Kvanbek.
Lowell Anderson / Alexandria Echo Press
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ALEXANDRIA — Seven seniors from various Douglas County communities were honored with the Outstanding Senior award for their volunteer work during the Douglas County Fair's Senior Day on Wednesday, Aug. 17, on the Knute Nelson Heritage Stage.

Dorothy Anderson

Most people in Brandon know Dorothy Anderson as “Grandma Dorothy.” Even in her retirement as a childcare provider, she still provides guidance and a helping hand wherever it is needed.

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Dorothy Anderson

She was selected as one of the "Outstanding Seniors" for her work with the Brandon-Evansville School’s Early Childhood Program. She works with 3 and 4 year olds by reading to them and working on puzzles and art activities and even helps them write letters to their teachers. She will often eat with the students and push them on swings during recess. The school staff regularly asks her for advice.

According to Kathryn LeBrasseur, Anderson helps out wherever she is needed. She walks into school every day with a smile on her face and arms always ready to give a needed hug.

Neil Ranum

Neil Ranum of Osakis received was awarded as an Outstanding Senior for his work at the Osakis Senior Center.

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Ranum taught math at Osakis for many years, according to LeBrasseur. He is active in the Osakis Lion’s Club, the VFW and Let’s Go Fishing.

With the desire to help anyone in need and a "can’t say no" quality, he began delivering meals to homes through the senior center almost a decade ago. A role that became expanded when demand increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. He began picking up necessary meal supplies and even assists with the meal preparation.

“He does it all,” says LeBrasseur.

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Neil Ranum of Osakis adjusts a quilt during a 2015 event, Quilts Along the Trail.
File photo

Pat Kvanbek

Pat Kvanbek of Forada was designated as Forada’s Outstanding Senior by the Forada Senior Club for her time and talent to enrich the quality of life for others.

She is often seen weeding community and town hall garden beds and picking up litter. Outside of Forada, she runs bingo at the Douglas County Fair and works with Alexandria Small Mall, the Douglas County Library, the Alexandria YMCA and the tax clinic.

LeBrasseur says Kvanbek is proud of Forada and enjoys helping keep the spirit of the community alive and the quality of life for its residents great. Since the May tornado that severy damaged the Forada community, Kvanbek has been wholeheartedly involved in volunteer efforts in any way she can.

Marcia Gae Schmitt

Marcia Gae Schmitt of Alexandria, sometimes known as the "brownie queen" for her baking skills, was selected by the Alexandria Senior Center for her tireless contributions to not only the center but the community as a whole.

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She has served as the center's volunteer director on two separate occasions for a total of three and a half years. She not only volunteers for small projects but often in full-time positions as well.

Schmitt is a member and officer for the Golden K Kiwanis, as well as PEO — an educational group for women. She often helps Habitat for Humanity of Douglas County with its builds and is a dedicated church leader and a supporter of Alexandria Technical and Community College.

LeBrasseur says Schmitt involves herself in many ways and uses her talents and treasures in a broad array of leadership and supporting roles.

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The Alexandria Senior Center was awarded AARP Driver Safety’s Top 100 Host Award for hosting 42 driver safety courses in 2013. Pictured are (back row, left to right) Bob Dahlheimer, Dick Telander, Craig Smith, Dennis Lyngen, (front) Kathryn LeBrasseur, Andy Lopez, Dianna Anderson, Darrell Lorsung, Marcia Gae Schmitt and Helen Glade.
File photo

Marlys Englund

Evansville Senior Center selected Marlys Englund as its outstanding senior for not only her contributions to the community center but also for her work as a genealogy expert at the Evansville Historical Foundation.

Englund contributes to the center’s potlucks, and the fall bazaar and teaches crochet — currently, she is the leader of the Needle Arts Group. She stays active at her church as a Sunday School teacher. For the last 20 years, she has been a 4H leader and worked as a genealogy expert at the Evansville Historical Foundation where she helped connect an Australian to an Evansville Family.

LeBrasseur says Marlys is much loved by the community and is considered to have a “wealth of knowledge” in many areas which she shares with anyone who will listen.

Dave Anderson and Bob Loucks

Dave Anderson and Bob Loucks were nominated for their 25 years of work and contributions to Habitat for Humanity of Douglas County.

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From left, Co-Founders Bob Loucks and Dave Anderson speak on the early years of Habitat for Humanity of Douglas County with Executive Director of the Alexandria Area Economic Development Commission Nicole Fernholz and Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity of Douglas County Lori Anderson behind them.
File photo

“Without their joint vision, perseverance and inspiration, Habitat Douglas County would not exist nor would 134 families now have safe, affordable places to call home,” says LeBrasseur. “They have the qualities of leadership to inspire others and existing staff. They not only inspired the start of it, but they have also led us to be one of the foremost units that adapt and develop new ways to utilize the talents of other retirees to enrich the lives of others.”

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Alexandria's Dave Anderson and Aubree Morken, 5, pour some fresh sap through a filter and into a pan to boil over a wood-burning stove on April 11, 2018.
File photo

Together, the two built the framework for the organization's policies and procedures. They worked tirelessly for two years prior to the formation of Habitat to complete paperwork, recruit volunteers, find financing options for homeowners and locate donors. To date, Anderson and Loucks remain active in nearly all aspects of the organization.

What To Read Next
A new episode is released every Tuesday and Thursday, giving readers a brief look at the stories found in Wednesday's and Friday's papers.
A new episode is released every Tuesday and Thursday, giving readers a brief look at the stories found in Wednesday's and Friday's papers.
Organizers hope to make this an annual event.
A new episode is released every Tuesday and Thursday, giving readers a brief look at the stories found in Wednesday's and Friday's papers.