Larry Borst Sr. is always there, always ready to lend a hand, whether it’s at the St. Vincent de Paul Society clothes closet/food shelf, the Paradise Center for the Arts or his church, Divine Mercy Catholic Church.
“I volunteer any time anybody asks me to help,” said the 85 year-old Faribault native who worked as a machinist after four years in the Air Force. He started his career at McQuay (now Daikin) before moving to Honeywell. But the commute to Goldedn Valley was too long so Borst happily joined the staff at Crown Cork and Seal where he worked for 33 years. Borst was among the company’s first employees, he said, adding that his employee number was 9.
A generous and friendly nature is what helped land him the title of 2021 Rice County Senior Volunteer of the Year Thursday at the county fair. Surrounded by a small crowd at the Sellner Stage, Borst was surprised by the recognition and an award he didn’t know existed until his family invited him to the fair to watch the announcement.
Nominees must be over 65 though their volunteerism could have begun earlier than that.
Borst said he began volunteering after the death of his his third wife, Janice. She was a volunteer at the Faribault Arts Center and he soon realized that volunteering was something that interested him, too.
The award moves Borst on to statewide competition at the Minnesota State Fair. If he wins there, he won’t be the first from the county to capture the statewide prize. Pat Rice took home that honor in 2015 after getting the Rice County nod.
Borst was nominated by his children, five biological and six stepchildren, who shared their dad’s list of volunteer activities with the selection committee.
“He volunteers whenever he is able,” emcee Gordy Kosfeld told the crowd of the nomination. “He’s always ready and willing to help family and friends.”
And, said an impressed Kosfeld, he’s “extremely honest.”
Maybe more impressive was Borst’s response to Kosfeld’s question about what he’s looking forward to: “Going right back to work,” he said.
For Borst that means heading back to St. Vincent de Paul Society.
But why is volunteering such a draw for the octogenarian? Borst shared the simple, yet important reason that keeps him coming back time and again: “Everywhere I volunteer I make a lot of friends. And I like to hang around with friends.”