The Rice County Senior Volunteer of the Year award for 2022 was awarded Thursday to a Faribault couple that can be seen all over town volunteering.

The Straight River Room on the Rice County Fairgrounds had some past recipients of the Senior Volunteer of the Year in attendance.

Each year organizers make an effort to hide the news from the recipients so it's a big surprise when the announcement is made during the Rice County Fair.

This year's recipients have been Fair Board members for a number of years and volunteer all over their community Faribault

I was honored once again to emcee the event.  One of my favorites because most years I have known the recipient or recipients.

This year a married couple was chosen for the honor.

Below is the program in it's entirety.  We started by getting to know what the Ambassadors and Junior Ambassadors had been up so far to this week.

Charlene (Char) Wetzel was a Media Specialist in the Faribault Public School District for a number of years.  Wally farmed before the couple retired and moved into the city.

Hopefully you listened to the program but if you didn't have time a brief summary of the things this couple have done in volunteering includes:

  • Working at Buckham West (Wally on the board)
  • Watering the flower baskets downtown Faribault
  • Being on the Rice County Fair Board
  • Numerous hours volunteering for their church
  • River Bend Nature Center
  • The list of volunteer efforts is practically endless

It was awesome to see their children and grandchildren come out from behind a curtain and surprise the couple although both said they had a hunch they were receiving the honor when they were asked to be at the announcement.

Wetzel Family Photo at Rice County Fair. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld
Wetzel Family Photo at Rice County Fair. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld

Mona Kaiser, Buckham West Executive Director gave the couple an envelope of money she said was given by a anonymous donor.

She told the Wetzels they could use the money however they desired.  Maybe at the State Fair.

The Wetzels have the option to participate in the Senior Day at the State Fair where they have the opportunity to be named a State Senior Citizen of the Year.

Most of the past recipients have gone to the State Fair to be recognized.

In the past Pat Rice of Faribault was chosen for that honor.

This might make you feel a little old but it is nice to go back in time.

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