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Bernice “Perk” Monson, center, stands with family members Wednesday before being recognized  as the 2014 Outstanding Senior Citizen at the Freeborn County Fair. From left are Nellie VanEngelenburg, daughter, Barb Buckley, daughter, Bernice Monson, Chrissy Monson, granddaughter, and Deb Monson, daughter-in-law. – Sarah Stultz/Albert Lea Tribune
Bernice “Perk” Monson, center, stands with family members Wednesday before being recognized as the 2014 Outstanding Senior Citizen at the Freeborn County Fair. From left are Nellie VanEngelenburg, daughter, Barb Buckley, daughter, Bernice Monson, Chrissy Monson, granddaughter, and Deb Monson, daughter-in-law. – Sarah Stultz/Albert Lea Tribune

Archived Story

Volunteer program declares Alden senior to be ‘outstanding’

Published 11:10am Thursday, July 31, 2014

An 83-year-old Alden woman was recognized Wednesday at the Freeborn County Fair as the 2014 Freeborn County Outstanding Senior Citizen.

Bernice “Perk” Monson, a former school teacher and receptionist, was the Alden Volunteer of the Year in 1999.

“She exemplifies what volunteerism is in our community and gives without asking for anything in return,” said Carrie Paulson, director of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program.

Paulson said Monson had recorded 175 hours thus far this year through RSVP.

The RSVP director presented Monson with an award after giving an example about her involvement in Meals on Wheels in Alden.

Paulson said in the past the drivers for Freeborn were unable to deliver meals because of health reasons, so Monson stepped in to deliver those meals three days a week for three months.

“We are grateful for her service and willingness to give of herself for the benefit of others,” Paulson said.

Monson volunteers for numerous organizations, including the Alden Historical Society, Alden Bone Builders, Alden Tuesday Supper Club and the Alden Area Food Shelf.

She donates blood five times per year, encourages students to read weekly at Alden-Conger School and helps direct traffic during the Freeborn County Bike-A Thon, among others.

“Bernice always says ‘yes’ and is willing to help out whenever a neighbor is in need, or the community needs help for anything,” her nomination form reads.

Paulson said 390 volunteers from Freeborn County have provided more than 20,000 hours of service from January through July.

Monson encouraged people who aren’t volunteering to give it a try.

“I have a reason to get up,” she said. “I have a purpose.”