By Teri Finneman
Since we found it too difficult to only recognize eight North Dakotans age 80 and older making a difference, we granted honorable mentions to eight others.
Here they are:
Bob Keim, 84, of Bismarck
Nominator Arlene Farnsworth of Bismarck wrote: “Bob volunteers most days of the week. For example, every Thursday morning, he can be found in the Waterford on West Century store, serving residents at this 55-plus resort-style community. He also calls bingo at Waterford, as well as at a number of senior centers and nursing homes.
“Bob helped to form Bismarck’s Golden K Kiwanis Club … today, he chairs the Youth Committee. For more than 15 years, the club has helped to sponsor a five-day camping trip to the North Dakota Badlands for five to 12 students and their instructors from the Youth Correctional Center.
“Another project Bob and his Kiwanis club support is the annual one-day Cops N Kids Fishing Derby.
“Several times a month, Bob is in the kitchen of the Martin Luther School. He is a self-described “cook’s helper.
“Retirement isn’t in Bob’s nature. Service is.” Keim also does gardening at the Waterford and is treasurer of his church foundation.
Norma Kjellberg, 91, of Stanley
Nominator Jo Reep of Stanley wrote: “We are nominating this volunteer for all the services she provides for our nursing home and community.
“This volunteer is organist every Sunday for church services (at the nursing home) and plays piano for musical programs weekly. She is also the organist and helps with communion for the Thursday chapel services that are conducted by our local pastors.
“She comes to special events held at the nursing home to be with residents who do not have family members around.
“This volunteer has not let age interfere with her enthusiasm, caring and compassionate attitude toward others.
“This special lady is very active in community events. She quilts at her local church weekly and is always ready to help out with church activities. She takes the elderly to doctor appointments, goes to their home and fixes their hair, takes them on shopping trips and runs errands for them.”
Kay Kroulik, 90, of Grafton
Nominator Nancy Burke of Larimore wrote: “Kathleen Kroulik deserves recognition for the work she does at Century Elementary as well as for the Grafton community. Grandma K, as she is called by staff and students, has been a foster grandparent at Century Elementary in Grafton for 17 years.
“Grandma K starts her day about 8 a.m. when she rides the student handicapped school bus. The school bus picks her up so she does not have to drive to school. At the same time, she helps the adult aide that rides the bus make sure children preschool through grade 12 are in the seatbelts and safe on the bus until they get to school. Grandma K spends the entire school day working in the school with teachers and children in classrooms.
“She is an inspiration to adults and students at Century Elementary.”
Lowell Latimer, 80, of Minot
Nominator Roger Reich of Minot wrote: “Lowell is the director of the Minot Public Schools Foundation, but his service to the community goes much deeper then that. He is a member of over 20 organizations and spends over 100 hours a month doing volunteer work for them.
“Here’s a list of just a few of the organizations he is involved with: Norsk Hostfest, Minot Area Community Foundation, Minot Area Retired Teacher Association, Minot Lions, Chamber of Commerce, First Lutheran Church and many more. Lowell is one of those unsung heroes of the volunteer world.
“His endless energy and winning smile make you feel special. I know many lives in Minot have been touched by Lowell and his good works. By knowing Lowell, my life and many others have been enriched. I can think of no one person more deserving to be nominated for his outstanding service.”
Janet Miller, 91, of Fargo
Nominator Roberta Shreve of Fargo wrote: “Rev. Miller has a long history in church ministry and became fully ordained as an elder of the United Methodist Church before women commonly held such roles. Rev Miller still serves as visiting pastor in area churches and leads Bible studies, things she delights in doing.
“She strives to bring people together in ecumenical ways through involvement with groups such as Church Women United and the Native American Christian Ministry. Janet Miller’s passion is social justice for all. She has supported the efforts of the Native American Christian Ministry and the Recovery Worship, for people struggling with addictions.
“She has served on the Coordinating Committee for the CROP Walk for about 10 years, doing all the publicity. Janet continues to support the efforts of Churches United for the Homeless and has assisted in preparing meals for those in the shelter.
“Presently, she is writing and directing some dramatic skits on musical history for meetings of the Music Club.”
Jim Rathert, 101, of Forman
Nominator June Fritzen of Forman wrote: “Jim Rathert is a lifelong collector of cars and tractors, having amassed perhaps the largest collection of significant antique automobiles and tractors in the state. Much of Jim’s and his son Rudy’s collection is on display with the Sargent County museum in Forman.
“Jim delights in getting into his electric cart and driving himself over to the museum to give personal tours of the museum to visitors. He has encyclopedic knowledge and crystal clear personal memories of each and every piece of equipment in the museum and can expound at great detail upon any of them.
“He is a wonderful volunteer at the museum and an incredible asset to the community.”
Jean Rockne, 90, of Hazen
Nominator Mari Lynn Crowley of Moorhead wrote: “Jean, my grandma, is a tireless giver of her talents and loves to serve others wholeheartedly. She has volunteered countless hours and currently continues to volunteer at the local hospital, putting in eight-hour shifts once a week.
“Each week she joins others in quilting for families in third-world countries. Her week also includes joining a team dedicated to working on making Braille New Testaments for the visually impaired. In her “free time,” of which there is not much, she knits baby/toddler sweaters for disadvantaged children in impoverished countries.
“She has been making these sweaters and donating them for over 20 years. It is a rare moment when she is sitting down and not knitting a sweater at the same time. The number she has made is truly countless. It is difficult for members of the community to believe she is 90! She is dedicated to giving her best in every way.”
Mary Young, 90, of Jamestown
Nominator Jayme Job of Binghamton, N.Y., wrote: “Anyone from Jamestown knows Mary Young, the town’s unofficial historian. Mary works with the community’s youth in a program with the local elementary schools in which she gives annual tours of the town’s history.
“The tours are part of every Jamestown child’s fourth-grade education. In addition, Mary works with several other community groups and gives lectures and tours as part of community events. She is full of stories about North Dakota, North Dakotans and the history of the state.
“She is always ready to greet any visitor with warm treats and interesting stories, and her age, if anything, has only added to her homespun grace.”