BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — A ND resident is the recipient of the 2022 Andrus Award for Community Service- the AARP’s most prestigious volunteer award.

The award symbolizes one who goes above and beyond to provide community service and the belief in 50+ individuals who have the power to make a difference in the lives of others. The award is given to one resident of North Dakota annually, and this year, it’s gone to Mike Matteson — a former firefighter who serves as a local hero and catalyst in many of Garrison’s favorite events. In a press release, Deb Stoppler (who originally nominated Matteson for the award) referred to Matteson as “a tireless volunteer that is always striving to make the community stronger and more vibrant.”

In addition to his job as a grant writer and board member for the Garrison Area Improvement Association, Matteson is a member of the Wilderness Park Improvement Committee, Friends of Fort Stevenson State Park, and serves as the projectionist for Garrison’s KOTA theatre. He also played a major part in establishing many of the favorite locations and events throughout Garrison, including the following:

  • The North Dakota Firefighter’s Museum
  • The Dickens Village Festival
  • The Cubby Hole Community Meeting Place
  • The Picnic Table Business Competition
  • Cabin sites at Fort Stevenson State Park
  • The Angel of Hope (a yearly event to remember and honor lost children)
  • The bandstand at Main Street Park
  • Yearly beach party (recently celebrating its 25th year)

The AARP’s Andrus Award also comes with a $1,000 donation to an organization of choice, and Matteson has chosen the Firefighter’s Museum to receive this generous gift.

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

Matteson will be honored and officially receive the award during the 2022 AARP ND Volunteer Education and Recognition Event on Wednesday, October 26 in Bismarck. The portion of the meeting honoring him will take place at 12:30 p.m. Matteson and the AARP’s other nominees will be recognized once again in Fargo on Thursday during the Fargo-area AARP ND event.

For more information regarding the Andrus Award and the AARP, visit the North Dakota branch’s website here.