Busch honored at state fair

When Phil Busch headed down to the Minnesota State Fair in August, little did he know he would be recognized as one of the 2007 Outstanding Senior runners up.

When Phil Busch headed down to the Minnesota State Fair in August, little did he know he would be recognized as one of the 2007 Outstanding Senior runners up.

This summer Phil was recognized as one of two 2007 Outstanding Senior Citizens of Hubbard County.

The Akeley resident was recognized at the Hubbard County Fair in July for his volunteer efforts and service to his community.

Phil is involved in several service organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, the Living at Home Program, the Akeley Senior Center, Akeley Lion's Club, 10th-11th Crow Wing Lake Association and Kinship.

According to Phil, while he did not know he would be receiving an award at the state fair, his wife Sharon was notified several weeks ahead of time and she then informed their three sons who live in the Twin Cities. Carolyn Spangler who had written a recommendation letter for Phil's nomination was also told in advance.


"I had no idea this was going to happen," Phil said.

At the fair, around 200 seniors, representing counties all over Minnesota, took the stage for the recognition ceremony on Seniors Day. Gov. Tim Pawlenty spoke and the winners were announced.

First, the female runner up was announced then "they said the male runner up from Hubbard County, and as soon as they said Hubbard County... I just paused," Phil said.

Phil shook hands with the Minnesota governor and received his award. Presenting the awards were Pawlenty and Mary Koep, chair of the Minnesota Board on Aging.

The 2007 recipients of the Outstanding Senior Awards were George Rossbach of St. Paul, representing Ramsey County, and Everal O'Brien of Hibbing, representing St. Louis County. The female state runner up was Dorothy Marsh of Lake Park, representing Becker County.

In 1998 Rosalia Lendt of Nevis, representing Hubbard County, was also recognized as a state runner up.

Phil said after the ceremony, he joined his wife and their sons who had watched him receive the award.

"The first thing I said to my wife was, 'I don't know how you kept that a secret,'" Phil said, after he found out they already knew.


The Minnesota Board on Aging, the Minnesota State Fair Board and the Minnesota Federation of County Fairs began honoring outstanding senior citizen volunteers in 1965.

Outstanding seniors are judged on leadership, diversity of accomplishments, variety of volunteer services performed, quantity of accomplishments and quality of activities. The judges consider only volunteer services performed after age 65 and individuals can be nominated after the age of 70. Each county fair board submits two individuals and their volunteer history to the Minnesota Board on Aging. A panel of nine representatives from the three sponsoring agencies judges the nominations.

Phil said he was surprised he won.

"I only have five years experience. I figured they'd probably give it to somebody who is 85 who has been doing it (volunteering) for 20 years," said Phil, who just recently turned 70.

After his retirement from AhGwahChing in the late 1990s as a certified nursing assistant, Phil decided to spend his time continuing to help others.

"It makes me feel good," said Phil. "It makes me feel that I have done something worthwhile during my lifetime."

Phil said he wanted to thank the people who nominated him and hopes this will inspire others to volunteer.

"It just goes to show that you don't have to be from a big metropolitan area. There are needs in small towns," said Phil. "Small towns need volunteers as well as large towns. People can make a difference."


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