Weather Forecast


Kohlbeck recognized for efforts on behalf of Farmington seniors

Missie Kohlbeck has been coordinator of Farmington's senior center for 15 years.

A little recognition now and then is always nice. A statewide recognition, though -- well that's pretty big. At that point, it's not just nice. It's really nice.

And that's why Rambling River Center coordinator Missie Kohlbeck is very flattered by the recognition she received last week. Kohlbeck was given the Outstanding Senior Services Award from the Minnesota Association of Senior Services.

The coordinator of Rambling River Center for nearly 15 years, Kohlbeck has gone to the statewide MASS conference more than once. This year was just like any other. Or so she thought.

What she didn't know was that Farmington parks and recreation director Randy Distad, with the help of parks staff Kelle Omlid and Rambling River Center volunteer Charlie Weber, had nominated Kohlbeck for MASS's highest award. She didn't know she was going to receive the at the annual conference last week.

But Kohlbeck didn't expect anything at the awards ceremony, until she started listening to the biography of the 2010 recipient.

"... and then it was like, 'Hey, that sounds a lot like my job,'" Kohlbeck said Monday. And then she noticed some of her city co-workers and her husband and daughters had shown up for the ceremony.

"Everybody knew except for me. The next thing I knew, I was crying. I'm actually very excited, though."

Kohlbeck has gone to the MASS conferences for years. She admitted to "throwing Cindy (McMillen, senior center building attendant) under the bus" and signing up both of them to co-chair next year's conference. Kolhbeck's held a couple of officer posts on the board, too, but this was the first time she'd ever received this kind of a honor from MASS.

The 2010 conference was held in St. Anthony, but the drive every year means very little. Kohlbeck gets too much enjoyment from attending these conferences, she said.

"I love this group," she said. "Nobody knows what I do, what my job is, understands what I do every day. I go (to the MASS conference), and here's 150 to 200 people who know what I do and understand what I do."

Since coming to Farmington in July, 1995, Kohlbeck has seen the local center's membership numbers climb. Still, she's got the kind of personality that allows her to get to know every single person there, and to form strong relationships with them all. That was even acknowledged on her plaque, which reads, "Missie has a can-do attitude and a positive influence resulting in the respect of the entire membership at the Rambling River Center."

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

(651) 702-0974