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Outstanding seniors honored at county fair

Leroy Chief1 / 2
Darlene Wallick2 / 2

Two local seniors were recognized for their contributions to the community on Friday, July 6 at the Hubbard County Fair. Leroy Chief, 75, and Darlene Wallick, 86, were awarded plaques and sashes in honor of their selfless work.

Nominated by Beth Waller and Bobbi Zigmant, Leroy has assisted in many activities and organizations. One of these is Living at Home of the Park Rapids Area, a non-profit organization that matches volunteers with seniors to help them remain living in the home of their choice. Leroy committed over 200 hours over the past six years to driving other seniors to appointments and physical therapy and providing respite care.

Leroy also volunteered at the Heartland Concert Association, which provides the community with entertainment and gives people access to talented groups, connecting the community. He committed between 100 and 150 hours over the course of four years to helping with fundraising, greets, contacts and meets.

In addition to these two organizations, Leroy also assisted at his church by serving on committees throughout the year, and helped his neighbors by snow-blowing their driveways during the heavy snows in the winter.

Before his retirement, Leroy was a teacher, a principal, and a superintendent.

Also nominated by Beth Waller, Darlene, like Leroy, also assists those at the Living at Home organization. She committed over 350 hours in the last six years to driving other seniors to appointments and providing respite care.

Darlene also volunteers at her church, St. Johns Lutheran, by making banners, serving food, cleaning the building for funerals, and watering her pastor's yard and plants when he's on vacation.

In addition, Darlene helps her friends and neighbors, often sitting with them when their own caregivers need a break, or driving them to Bemidji and Fargo as needed. Darlene also enjoys gardening, and helps others establish gardens as well.

Before her retirement, she was a County Highway Department Accountant. On top of her volunteer work, Darlene has battled Cancer twice; coming out on top both times with enough energy to still help those who needed it.

Preceding the awards was a lunch comprised of Sloppy Joes, chips, pickles, cookies and lemonade. After the awards, Frank Lamb provided musical entertainment on an electric keyboard.

Following recognition at their local county fair, the honored seniors will be judged alongside other county honored seniors at the State Fair to determine this year's two statewide Outstanding Seniors.

To nominate an outstanding senior for next year's county and state fair, visit and click on the "Recognition Programs" link at the bottom of the home page. Nominees must be 70+ and have engaged in volunteer work after reaching age 65.