St. Croix County senior citizens recognized for serviceDave Durand and Margaret Mitchell have been named this year’s Outstanding Older Adults by the Aging and Disability Resource Center of St. Croix County.
By: Gretta Stark, New Richmond News
Dave Durand and Margaret Mitchell have been named this year’s Outstanding Older Adults by the Aging and Disability Resource Center of St. Croix County.
Durand, of Somerset, was nominated by Karen Barger of Somerset, based on his volunteer work, giving rides to the hospital for people who need them.
“Not everyone is as fortunate as we are,” Durand said, speaking of himself and other volunteers. “We try to share.”
Durand said many of the people he transports to and from doctor’s appointments are cancer patients. Durand can relate to what they are going through, he said, because he went through it with his wife, before she died of cancer seven years ago.
After she died, Durand said he put more energy into volunteering.
“I thought, well, I can give back,” Durand said.
Durand said he also grows tomatoes, sweet corn, apples, squash and cucumbers, which he brings to the senior center and the food shelf.
“Some people have said ‘why don’t you go to the farmer’s market?’” Durand said. “’Cuz,’ I said, ‘If some little old lady came down and wanted a couple of tomatoes, I would probably give her half a bushel at no charge!’”
Durand has lived in Somerset for 28 years. He retired from Andersen Windows after working there for 30 years.
Durand also helps with two horseback riding programs for children with disabilities every week, Courage Riders on Tuesday evenings and River Valley Riders on Wednesday nights. Durand said although he does not get paid in money, he is rewarded for his work.
“You put the kid on the horse and there’s a grin from ear-to-ear, you just got paid,” said Durand.
Michelle Mitchell said she was surprised but pleased to be nominated for Outstanding Older Adult, and even more pleased to win.
“I feel very honored, and I couldn’t believe all the things they had written about me,” Mitchell said. “It feels just wonderful.”
Mitchell was nominated by Marlene Ellingboe of Wilson for her volunteer work with ADORAY Hospice Care. Mitchell visits hospice patients in their homes or care facilities.
“For some you just sit there,” said Mitchell, “and some you read stories to and talk. You play music. Some, even, if you are able, you drive them around in your car for little trips and things.”
Mitchell has worked with ADORAY for six years, and she said it is very important to her.
“I just wanted to take care of people,” Mitchell said.
Jerry Adams, Carol Englund, Don Klein, Carol McConaughey, Don Munkwitz, Phil Nelson, Claire Stene and Janice Thompson all were nominated for the Outstanding Older Adult award, and received honorable mention recognition.