Garrison man to receive AARP’s highest volunteer award

BISMARCK — Mike Matteson of Garrison 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 50-plus individuals have the power and ability to make a difference in the lives of others. The award is given to one North Dakotan annually.

Matteson will receive the award during the 2022 AARP ND Volunteer Education and Recognition Event on Wednesday in Bismarck. He’ll 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 on Thursday during the Fargo-area AARP ND Volunteer Education and Recognition Event.

Matteson has been a firefighter for 31 years and established the N.D. Firefighter’s Museum in Garrison. He has chosen the museum to receive a $1,000 contribution in his name from AARP to support its work honoring 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 the projectionist for Garrison’s KOTA Theatre. He was instrumental in developing the Cubby Hole Community Meeting Place, a community gathering space utilized by residents for their birthdays, retirements, family gatherings and meetings. He also established the Picnic Table Business Competition, has worked to bring cabin sites to Fort Stevenson State Park, introduced the Angel of Hope (a yearly memorial event to remember lost children), started a yearly beach party now in its 25th year and built a bandstand for the town’s Main Street Park.

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

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

Focused on raising his children with a spirit of volunteerism and ensuring that community events draw out community members 50 and older, Matteson’s nominator called him a “visionary with his finger on the pulse of Garrison.”

“Mike brings his ideas with blueprints on how to put them into reality. He does not seek personal recognition, but you can find him in the background making it all come together,” Stoppler noted.

Others nominated for the 2022 Andrus Award are Debra Ball-Kilbourne of Fargo; Jill Weiss of Washburn; Judy Pris of Fargo; Michael and Marilyn Worner of Fargo; Nancy Belland of New England; and Pete and Eunice Kuhn of Grand Forks.


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