Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Jim Sommers named First Runner-Up Outstanding Senior Volunteer at the Minnesota State Fair

Itasca County has had quite a showing among the Minnesota State Fair Outstanding Senior Volunteer awards, and this year was no exception when Jim Sommers of rural Cohasset was named 2015 First Runner-Up at the State Fair on September 3, 2015.  Sommers joins a group of other Itasca County volunteers also recognized at the state level, including Outstanding Seniors Lloyd Adams from Wabana in 2013 and Joan Oja from Pengilly in 2011, and First Runner-Up Lorraine Linser from Grand Rapids in 2008. 

Jim Sommers, 2015 MN State Fair Outstanding Senior First Runner-Up

Out of a pool of nominees from each county in the state, two winners and two runners-up are honored at an awards ceremony and open house as they are recognized at the state level for their time and talent to benefit their community since the age of 65.  

            Judges look for diversity of accomplishments, length of service and commitment to serving others and their community.  Sommers volunteers primarily as a driver for older adults who are unable to transport themselves to/from medical appointments. When asked what is rewarding about his volunteer work, Jim replied, “I like to drive, and l enjoy meeting new people. Some of the rides are fairly long, and we get to know each other pretty well. The folks I drive are so grateful for this service, and it makes me feel good to be able to help them.”  Over the years, Jim has logged more than 5,000 volunteer hours, and likely tens-of-thousands of miles serving Arrowhead Transit, Rapid Transit, Senior Wheels and ElderCircle Adult Day Stay.  As quoted in a letter of recommendation, “Jim’s warm and compassionate personality immediately puts his passengers at ease.  He is a great conversationalist, can always find something in common with clients, and his sense of humor is a delight to be around.” 

Itasca County Outstanding Senior Lola Seekman, 2015 MN State Fair Outstanding Senior First Runner-Up Jim Sommers and MN State Fair Board Member Ron Oleheiser

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