Eau Claire (WQOW) - After years as an officer at the Eau Claire Police Department, July's Jefferson Award winner Steve Olson had the goal to stay active in retirement. His passion for fitness has become contagious, spreading throughout the L.E. Phillips Senior Center.
Those who know Olson might be surprised to know he wasn't always full of energy. “I was an introvert. I was a very shy person. The military brought me out of that,” Olson said.
His four years in the Army sparked a passion for public service. It led to 30 years of work with the Boy Scouts and 25 years protecting Eau Claire on the police force.
Since retirement in 2002, he's been involved keeping our seniors sculpted. “I came down to the senior center. I looked at the facility, and I said, 'This is a place I would really like to belong to',” Olson said.
The problem is he was too young to join so that man in charge of upholding the law was forced to break a rule. “I did fabricate my age. I was not 55 when I joined,” Olson said. “I joined here, primarily, because of the fitness programs...it drew me here.”
But, when the instructor of his favorite class left, a new leader was needed. “We (started) taking that class and instructing that class so we could retain that program,” Olson said.
Ever since then, you'll find Olson lifting weights and lifting spirits.
Carol Lendl, a former Jefferson Award winner, is a member of Olson's early morning class and nominated him for the award. “Even though he's retired, it's really like a job because he's here three days a week and people depend on him to lead our class,” Lendl said. “I think he definitely has a servant's heart. He takes whatever opportunity he's involved in to serve others.
Olson is never afraid to accept a challenge, whether it be at his church, at his fitness classes or just providing some music for those at the senior center in Eau Claire. Olson is always there to help. “My motivation is not economical, it's not financial. The more you give, the more you receive. That's absolutely true,” he said.
He said that there is a place for everyone to help in our community, saying without volunteers, many of the things we love about Eau Claire would cease to exist.
A big congratulations to Olson for winning the Jefferson Award in July!
If you know a volunteer making a difference in your community, fill out a Jefferson Award nomination form.
RELATED: Actively Aging: Staying Strong