For her dedicaion to service in Paynesville, Lauer was selected by the Paynesville Lions Club from 12 nominees to be its "Citizen of the Year."
Pictured at left are Ron Iverson and Marie Lauer receiving her plaque from Lions' president, Ron Brossard.
A very modest person, Lauer, 78, feels there are many good people in the community who are far more deserving of the award than her. "I was totally surprised when I was told about the award," Lauer said. "I don't feel I deserve the award, but I will appreciate it to no end."
According to Ron Iverson, the Paynesville Lions Club, nominees should be a resident of Paynesville, someone who consistently dedicates their time and effort toward the betterment of the community, and not a member of the Lions Club. The Lions Club has been recognizing volunteers in the community since 1977.
Lauer started her volunteer work in 1982, after her husband died. She has been doing hair care at the Koronis Manor for 18 years. A few years later, she started doing hair care at the Good Samaritan Care Center, too. "I usually do hair care every second Thursday of the month at the Manor or whenever they call and need help," Lauer said.
Lauer has volunteered her time at the Community Service Center since 1984. "We couldn't do without her," Donna Toney, center director, said. "Marie taught me the ropes when I started. She knows every phase of the center."
Lauer spends every Wednesday at the Community Service Center from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. She often stays longer and helps when needed. If a need arises on other days, Lauer will open the center to offer someone clothes, food, or furniture in an emergency.
"I love to help people," Lauer said. "It is a mind set. As the youngest of 11 children, I was told to make myself useful as a child. I was brought up to help people," she added.
Lauer drives her neighbors to church, shopping, or takes them to doctor appointments. "I think someday I will need help and be without a car," Lauer said. "There is hardly a day goes by that I don't take somebody somewhere," Lauer said.
For almost 30 years, Lauer has been playing bingo with the residents at the Koronis Manor and Good Samaritan Care Center.
This winter, it was her turn to be the recipient of help when she was hospitalized with heart problems. "I was taking meals on wheels when I got home from the hospital but cancelled it because everybody brought food over. I really appreciated it," Lauer said.
Lauer also helps with fund raisers at the Paynesville Area Center and helps with service projects. "She fills in the gaps and does what is needed," Janell Hoffman, area center director, said. "Marie is a person who doesn't know how to say no. She is the one who comes and says, 'What can I help you with?'" Hoffman added.
Hoffman considers Lauer a caretaker of the people of the community. "There is so much she does. She is always behind the scenes of many functions helping. She doesn't do things for recognition," she said.
A member of St. Louis Catholic Church, Lauer has worked at almost every funeral lunch for the last 15 years.
A member of St. Catherine's Mission, she made 15 quilts this winter. "The quilts come in every size and description. I cut and sewed the squares together. However, I did need help tying the last seven," she admitted.
Besides helping her friends, she also enjoys watching an active four-year-old. "He is such a joy," she said.
"As long as I'm healthy, I will be helping others," she said.
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