BISMARCK — Garrison’s Mike Matteson is the recipient of the 2022 AARP Andrus Award for Community Service — AARP’s most prestigious volunteer award.

The award recognizes outstanding community service and symbolizes that over 50 people have the power and ability to make a difference in the lives of others. The award is given to a North Dakota each year.

Matteson will receive the award at the AARP ND 2022 Volunteer Education and Recognition event on Wednesday in Bismarck. He will be honored during the program portion of the event beginning at 12:30 p.m. at Sixteen03 Events in Bismarck. Matteson and the other nominees will be recognized again Thursday at the AARP ND Volunteer Education and Recognition event in the Fargo area.

Matteson has been a firefighter for 31 years and established the ND Firefighter Museum in Garrison. He chose the museum to receive a $1,000 contribution on his behalf from AARP to support his work in honor of firefighters statewide.

A grant writer for the Garrison Area Improvement Association as well as a board member, he is also a member of the Wilderness Park Improvement Committee, Friends of Fort Stevenson State Park, and a projectionist for Garrison’s KOTA Theater. He was instrumental in the development of the Cubby Hole Community Meeting Place, a community gathering space used by residents for birthdays, retirements, family reunions and reunions. He also created the Picnic Table Business Competition, worked to bring cabin sites to Fort Stevenson State Park, presented the Angel of Hope (an annual memorial event to remember lost children), has launched an annual beach party now in its 25th year and built a bandstand in the city’s Main Street Park.

Matteson’s proponent, Deb Stoppler of the Garrison Area Improvement Association, called him “a tireless volunteer who always strives to make the community stronger and more vibrant.”

Matteson is one of the catalysts for Garrison’s popular and well-known annual Dickensian Village Festival, as well as a talented cook who volunteers his skills for area fundraising events.

Determined to raise his children in the spirit of volunteerism and ensure that community events appeal to members of the community aged 50 and over, Matteson’s proponent called him a “visionary with his finger on Garrison’s pulse.”

“Mike brings his ideas with plans on how to make them happen. He’s not looking for personal recognition, but you can find him in the background to make it all come together.” Stoppler noted.

Other nominees for the 2022 Andrus Prize are Debra Ball-Kilbourne of Fargo; Jill Weiss of Washburn; Judy Taken from Fargo; Michael and Marilyn Worner of Fargo; Nancy Belland of New England; and Pete and Eunice Kuhn of Grand Forks.

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