Senior Connections Senior Connections Mar 2019 - Page 4

SONSTEGARD from Pg 3 what was once a labor- and organizationally-intensive job. The ability to email ticket confi rmations, start- ing about four years ago, also reduced some of the hours required to do the job effectively. But, before that, Diane devoted many hours to answering calls on a specially-installed fair telephone line in their base- ment, assigning seats and mailing out thousands of tickets to the grandstand events. When asked what he liked the most about his job, Sonstegard stated that he “just enjoyed being there.” He said he has great staff, who all enjoy the fair and do a good job. He likes knowing many of the same vendors year after year, and he especially likes work- ing with the fair board members, who all have sizable responsibilities for different areas. He sometimes wonders “how much he really sees” each year, but he takes as many opportunities as he can to tour the grounds and the buildings. Dick attends the meeting of the fair board mem- bers at noon every day, and uses that opportunity to visit “main street” and chat with “vendors and politi- cians.” There is never a shortage of projects needing atten- tion, and he and Diane have been fi xing and repaint- ing bleachers, repairing the ticket booth, making sure the signage is in shape, and managing the bike give- away for a number of years. Dick commented that all of the directors work many hours before and during the fair to get and keep things in the best possible shape. Troy Beise, a member of the fair board for 12 years, commented that “it has been great to get to know him [Sonstegard]” and that he “puts everything into his 4 Senior work.” Beise further commented that Sonstegard “in- spires loyalty in his employees,” and “has no appre- hensions about trying new things.” Improved technology has brought a lot of changes to the fair, and Beise stated that Sonstegard’s attitude is always, “let’s give it a whirl.” According to Beise, Sonstegard is “always thinking about the fair” and ways to improve it. He starts touching base with staff in June, and by the fourth of July, he’s made all of his fi nal calls. Each year, he typically has a need to replace three or four staff members who are not returning for various reasons. Often his waiting list of interested potential staffers exceeds the number of openings. SUBMISSIONS Senior Connections welcomes submitted items of any kind that may be appropriate for our readership. Contact us at A lifetime of service This is not the fi rst award Dick has earned for his service to the fair. In 2007, he received the Friend of the Fair award from the Wright County Board. In 2018, he was inducted into the HLWW Hall of Fame in honor of his 35 years of teaching and coach- ing in the school district. In 2011, he earned the Edu- cational Support Staff Award. A teacher of math, computers, and science, Sonstegard is equally well known for his many years of coaching a wide variety of student sports. As he does with the fair, Dick has pitched in wher- ever there was a need in sports activities – working as both a judge and starter at section and state track meets, running the score clock, or supervising the let- ter club and concession stand. He drove, and contin- ues to drive, a school bus, keeping students safe. Asked how long he plans to continue as ticket man- ager, Sonstegard commented, “Well, this year for sure. I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t enjoy it!” Connections March 2019 ����������������������������������������� ������������������������������������������ ����������������������������� ���������������� ����������� �������������� �������������������� ������������������ ������������������������ �������������������������� ����������������� Senior Connections HJ.COM