Collecting safety tips from Coon Rapids police and fire personnel and hearing Jim Klobuchar’s stories of adventure and discovery, Coon Rapids senior safety campers uncovered the secrets to a long and happy life during the Sept. 11 event.
Keynote speaker Klobuchar – with 45 years of daily journalism under his belt and dozens of encounters with the rich and famous along the way – greeted campers assembled at the Coon Rapids Senior Center.
“I’m not going to tell you how to grow old,” said the 85-year-old Klobuchar. “You’ve all got experience with that, but one of the best ways to grow old is to take care of your relationships.
“Stay connected. It’s still the most critical thing to pick up a phone and call someone – even if you haven’t talked in years – and say, ‘Let’s have lunch. Let’s catch up.’”
Klobuchar, most familiar to his readers as an adventurer-columnist, shared with campers stories of long distance bicycling trips, mountain climbing, dancing the tango on Nicollet Mall with Ginger Rogers and surviving a near fist fight with former Minnesota Vikings football coach Norm VanBrocklin.
The author of 23 books and the father of Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Klobuchar told of how his grandparents came to the United States from what is now known as Slovenia and worked in the mines on the Iron Range.
“They came here – to the ‘promised land’ – to work so that their children could go to school, their grandchildren could go to university, a great-grandchild could serve in the U.S. Senate,” he said.
“That’s not just my story. It’s yours, too. That’s what our country gives to us … and you had a lot to do with what makes this part of the country so great. Thank you for being who you are. Thank you for what you do.”
Following Klobuchar’s address, seniors filed through a display of expo tables, got their blood pressure checked and then relaxed to the entertaining sounds of keyboardist and singer Larry Johnson before enjoying a nutritious lunch served by Coon Rapids police and fire personnel, giving a whole new meaning to the term “Protect and Serve.”
Safety tips were delivered by police and fire department staff as Coon Rapids Police Officers Terry Thomton and Tom Sharon talked about personal safety and premise surveys and Coon Rapids Fire Marshal Todd Williams presented fire prevention “gizmos and gadgets.”
More than 150 seniors participated in the 14th annual day-long Coon Rapids Senior Safety Camp.
The camp is sponsored by Coon Rapids police and fire departments, Coon Rapids Senior Services and the Volunteers of America, with additional sponsorship provided by Margaret Place, Mary T. Inc., Klein Bank and Coon Rapids Fire Department Local 1935.
Sue Austreng is at