Minot is a city that takes a lot of pride in its Scandinavian heritage. So much so that there’s an entire park dedicated to it.
And speaking of pride, a local man has devoted his retirement years to keeping this park beautiful.
At the top of a hill, just a stone’s throw away from the great stave church, you’ll find a great view of Minot’s Scandinavian Heritage Park.
It’s called the John Sinn Outlook — a tribute to a man who’s been looking out for this park for a long time.
John Sinn says each day when he’s at the park is a little different. The 98-year-old is a World War II veteran. He earned a Bronze Star medal. Then he worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers until the late 1980s. But he didn’t seem to take the whole “retirement” idea to heart.
“You drive right by it every day – so the object was to keep it looking beautiful and make some additions as we went along,” says Sinn.
He adopted the Scandinavian Heritage Park as his own — and 25 years later, his fingerprints are all over the place.
“I designed the waterfall, and then the pump house, I designed that. The grade that they built the church on, I had to do with that. And the steps — and sidewalks — and the courtyard,” says Sinn. “Putting these seats in.”
All that effort doesn’t go unnoticed.
“I’ll tell you what: John is a workin’ guy. He outworks the 70-year-olds out here by about 100 percent,” says Mark Jantzer, who works across the street from the park. “I wish all my employees showed up that faithfully!”
“He is our number one volunteer guy,” says Phyllis Burckhard. “You can count on him to do anything and everything here in the park, and in the building as well.”
Randal Wilcox, who volunteers with John, says, “I’ve just been amazed at what he does out here and what he’s accomplished in the last 25 years.”
So next time you’re at Minot’s Scandinavian Heritage Park, keep an eye out for John Sinn, and maybe say ‘hi.’ Chances are, he’ll be there — making the park an even more picturesque place.
“It’s just a way of staying busy and enjoying what you do, you know,” says Sinn.
It’s that dedication that makes him Someone You Should Know.
John says he’s not sure, but this year might be his last one volunteering with the park.
He joked that 98 seems like a good age to finally retire.