MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Those who know her already know what an amazing person she is.
Margaret Wacholz was recently named the Woodbury Citizen of the Year of 2016.
Wacholz is the community relations manager at Woodbury Senior Living. She brings personality, passion and poise to the job. And for that, and so many other reasons, Wacholz is this week’s Minnesotan to Meet.
Energy and enthusiasm, that’s what Wacholz brings to work every day at Woodbury Senior Living.
With a thick Irish accent, the rural Ireland native’s personality is contagious and it trickles down to the residents.
“I’m obsessed with engagement. And I think that leads to happiness, just getting lost and being obsessed in what I’m doing. Now, that doesn’t mean I’m fracturing relationship,” Wacholz said.
Wacholz said the average age in the senior living home is 84. The longtime Minnesota resident calls it “purposeful work” to bring the elders pure joy in a different way.
“As a team, we like to do things outside of the box. I have a rock band here for many years. No one under 90 need apply, because you’re too young and you don’t have the experience,” Wacholz said.
Her friends and co-workers say she doesn’t like the spotlight, but loves to bring attention to others.
“I have witnessed people that they are not wanting anymore of a cure, they might just want better quality days. And when you stop pleading for a change in the body, [or] a change our minds, then their living a deep, deep life,” Wacholz said.
When asked how she brings this kind of energy day after day to the some 300 residents, she said:
“Of course you’re going to fall on your face, but it’s good for your head. It’s good for your head because you’ve learned. I’ve never found that the successes have built my character as much as the things I have failed at and wanted to be forgiven,” she said.
Her volunteer list is long. It includes the Woodbury Area Chamber of Commerce, the Woodbury Heritage Society, and the Woodbury Community Foundation. She’s also the co-chair of the Woodbury THRIVES mental health initiatives. It’s a grassroots initiative by citizens to keep the community healthy.
“We’re going to make this one of the healthiest cities in the country. And I’m not fearing that, we’ll learn along the way and grasp it and get everyone engaged,” Wacholz said.
A lofty goal, but if anyone can do it – she can.
Wacholz also works with Face Aging MN. It’s a statewide campaign to raise awareness about the issues of Minnesota’s aging population. She even blogs regularly with this Woodbury Senior Living resident, Helen.
She said every time she visits Helen she gets a story idea and is inspired.
Helen’s blog is called Helen’s corner.