Bob Ohrlund was named as the Senior Volunteer of the Year for his dedication to Storm Lake at the annual Prime Time event Thursday.
"They set me up," the surprised but appreciative Ohrlund laughed. Family members and many friends knew about the award but kept it a secret.
The Senior Volunteer of the Year award is given annually by CommUNITY Education to honor an area resident 55 years or older who has shown long-standing commitment and dedication as a community volunteer.
Individuals, church members and organization members have the opportunity to nominate their friends, neighbors and relatives. CommUNITY Education's adult/youth committee makes the final selection.
Ohrlund is known by many to "jump right in" - just as in the new Storm Lake logo.
"As a professional businessman, now retired, dedicated family man and church and community volunteer," said CommUNITY Education's Director Pat Cowan, who presented the award, "he continues to show us all what it means to not only get wet, but to dive in and swim the distance - again and again and again."
Ohrlund's current interest has been in the Awaysis project. He and Gary Lalone served as co-chairs for the fundraising efforts which raised over $2 million, logging in hundreds of hours. He is quick to say that there were many other people involved in the fundraising project and everyone deserves applause for their efforts.
Ohrlund is a 51-year member of the Hy-Noon Kiwanis, proud of the fact that he has had perfect attendance for that many years, holding high offices at the local and district levels.
"Kiwanis is a great organization," he said, "that helps young people and does things in the community."
He also serves as the Buena Vista University Circle K liaison - the college-age version of Kiwanis.
His leadership within the Kiwanis doesn't go unnoticed - in fact, it was Kiwanis president Justin Yarosevich, who nominated his pal Ohrlund for the award.
"As liaison to our sponsored BVU club, one would expect he would act as a communication tool, transporting information between the BVU Circle K club and the Hy-Noon Club," he said in his nomination.
"Bob does so much more. He is hands-on helping the Circle K club at every turn. He attends their meetings, or makes arrangements to work with their executive board before or after the meeting when he can't be there. He has utilized a committee of Hy-Noon members to effectively be available to help the BVU club when needed."
In addition, Ohrlund has served on the Planning and Zoning Board, the Storm Lake Municipal Band Board, the Airport Commission for 14 years, the Parade of Flags organization (president for some time) and was the president of the Iowa Pharmacy Association.
Ohrlund is also quite involved in church activities at St. Mark Lutheran. There he shares his voice as part of the choir and has served on a number of boards.
He also is a Master Gardener and enjoys raising flowers and in the past has coached Little League.
Ohrlund and his wife Dorothy have been married for 61 years. They moved to Storm Lake in 1950 after he graduated from the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy.
He worked for John Ressler for a number of years, purchased the business. He sold the business to Mike Porsch in 1986 and continued on there until retiring in 1992.
The Ohrlunds have five children, 12 grandchildren and two step-grandchildren.
"I really love Storm Lake," he commented. "There are many things that go in the community that are a lot of fun."
He admitted that he doesn't go looking for things to volunteer for. But when the opportunity pops up, he is there. (His wife said he has a difficult time saying "no!")
He is truly glad he and Dorothy have their health and that he is able to help out when he can.
The award was unexpected, and coming from CE, it is meaningful, he said.
"The CommUNITY Education program is a positive thing in the community and Pat Cowan is a good leader," he said, adding there are many other qualified people making the program successful. "I thank all of them for putting this all together. I'm one happy guy!"
He urges anyone interested in people or helping the community to "jump right in" and become a volunteer.
"It is a very rewarding experience," he says.