Senior citizens at the Anoka County Fair celebrated at the bandshell July 25 with raffle prizes and recognitions.
Anoka County Fair Secretary Jeri Bates awarded Anoka County’s Outstanding Senior Citizen of the Year award to Rolland Voelker of Coon Rapids. Voelker volunteers with the Coon Rapids Senior Center as a bus driver.
According to Coon Rapids Senior Center Program Specialist Kris Niebler, Voelker also volunteers with Hamilton Elementary School fourth-graders, Safety Camp, Feed My Starving Children, Panera Dough-nations, Habitat for Humanity, Zion Lutheran Church and Family Table.
Seniors are nominated for the award through residents within their area, according to Bates. Coon Rapids Senior Center nominated Voelker.
Bates also honored around 20 couples at the bandshell for 50 plus years of marriage.
Sherman and Joyce Baklund have been married for 57 years and were among those at the fair. Joyce said their interest in music and being active in the church has kept them together so long. Sherman is a singer and Joyce is an organist.
Jan and Jerry Grote have been married for 52 years and said their differing personalities have kept them together.
“He doesn’t argue at all, he’s easy going and more introverted… I think opposites attract,” Jan said.
“I just let her talk,” Jerry said with a laugh.
Melvin and Dawn Gjertvig of St. Francis also received recognition at the bandshell July 25 for their family farm.
Anoka County Historical Society Executive Director Todd Mahon and Anoka County Historical Society Board of Directors President Al Pearson presented the Gjertvigs with an Anoka County Century Farm award as their farm has been in the family bloodline for 100 years and is 40 acres or more.
“It certainly is an honor and I appreciate it, but all I’ve had to do with it was the last 30 years or so. It’s not all me, it’s my ancestors too who kept it together,” Melvin said.
Bethany Kemming is at firstname.lastname@example.org