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Outstanding Senior Citizens honored at fair

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Two of Carlton County's seniors were honored Friday at the fair for being outstanding volunteers.

The Outstanding Senior Citizen Awards went to Barbara Ramey of Moose Lake and James Dennie of Wrenshall.

Bernadine Atchison, Aitkin-Carlton County Retired Senior Volunteer Program director at Volunteer Services of Carlton County, Inc., said the two were selected by a community committee for "the diversity and quantity of their accomplishments" as well as the variety and quality of activities and organizations to which they give their time.

Atchison gave further details about each outstanding volunteer:

+ Barbara Ramey was chosen as one of this year's winners because of her overwhelming devotion to those in her community and communities around her. She helps assist with chores for homebound seniors or disabled persons, provides rides to seniors which allows them to stay in their homes longer, and helps at her community SHARE program by distributing food. Ramey is active with the Carlton County Council on Aging where she shares information which impacts seniors. She has been a volunteer for Volunteer Services of Carlton County since January 2009, and has contributed over 1,300 volunteer hours. Ramey loves the people she serves and puts them under her wing. She understands their needs and goes the extra mile to make sure they are taken care of. If she knows someone is going without food she will make a point to go to the grocery store and pick up needed items or will make something special to share with them. Along with transporting or delivering groceries, she also provides friendly visiting and lends an ear to those who are lonely and are in need of someone to talk to. When Ramey volunteers to help someone she takes care of them as if they were family. Her integrity, compassion, and giving personality reflect the heart of a true volunteer -- that's why she is the Outstanding Senior Citizen of 2013.

+ James Dennie is a person who is always willing to help out in his community. He is an active member of the Wrenshall Booster Club, where he is the club treasurer and also helps organize fund-raising activities. During the school year he contributes 700 hours and in the summer months contributes 300 hours. The booster club volunteers provide funds for student activities that would otherwise need to be funded elsewhere. As a U.S. Air National Guard veteran, Dennie is passionate about military organizations in the area such as the Disabled American Veterans. He volunteers as treasurer and is on the board of directors for The Retired Enlisted Association (TREA), Chapter 119, which awarded him the Recruiting Award in 2009-2012. He is the chapter vice president of the American Legion where he has contributed 1,000 hours a year. Dennie is always willing and available to help people in a time of need. His latest act of volunteering came last summer during the June 2012 flood. He helped rebuild the community of Fond du Lac in Duluth, which was devastated by the flood. He contributed 50-60 hours by hand and by use of his four wheeler to remove debris, dirt and trees. These honorable acts are what made him the Outstanding Senior Citizen of 2013.

The 2013 Carlton County Outstanding Senior Citizen runners-up were Loren Bergstedt of Esko, Roger Harp of Cromwell, Jan Koski of Carlton, and Harry and Joyce Solheim of Barnum.

The Outstanding Senior Volunteer Award, which is sponsored by the Minnesota Board on Aging, the Minnesota State Fair Board and Minnesota Federation of County Fairs, also recognizes winners at the state level. Ramey and Dennie have been entered in the state Outstanding Senior Citizens competition, which will be held at the State Fair on Thursday, Aug. 29.