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Carlton County recognition event honors volunteers

It's difficult to fathom just what it would be like to put in 4,000 hours of volunteer work. But a Cromwell couple has proven it can be done. Mary and Niilo Oja were presented with the Presidential Lifetime Volunteer Service Award at last Friday'...

It's difficult to fathom just what it would be like to put in 4,000 hours of volunteer work. But a Cromwell couple has proven it can be done.

Mary and Niilo Oja were presented with the Presidential Lifetime Volunteer Service Award at last Friday's 2008 Volunteer Recognition Event at the Cloquet Gospel Tabernacle.

Deb Lindemood, program director of Volunteer Services of Carlton County, presented each of the Ojas with a framed plaque recognizing their remarkable achievement, which is reached by completing 4,000 or more volunteer hours over their lifetime.

The Ojas have contributed numerous hours to the Cromwell/Wright Area Clothing Depot, the Tri-Community Food Shelf, the Council on Aging, Lakes and Pines and the Young Old Timers.

"They have also touched numerous individual lives by helping with transportation, chores, homemaking and grocery shopping," stated Lindemood.

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Last Friday's annual volunteer event, sponsored by Volunteer Services of Carlton County, hosted 177 county volunteers in honor of their hard work and dedication to their communities and neighbors.

The volunteers represented all age groups, including those in the RSVP (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program) who shared their time and talents at 54 sites throughout Carlton County.

"These volunteers represent the best in American spirit, encouraging and inspiring all American to contribute to their communities and nations," stated Volunteer Services executive director Jill Hatfield.

Other Presidential Volunteer Service Awards were presented to 103 volunteers at three different award levels - Gold, Silver and Bronze - based on the number of documented service hours certified by Volunteer Services.

Meal service for the recognition event was presented by Cozy Restaurant and Catering, and entertainment was provided by the Cloquet High School Madrigals.

Door prize drawings were also held.

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