Editor's note: Connie Dow received the most votes of four nominees to be named Oakdale Patch's Person of the Year 2012.
Behind every great accomplishment is someone working tirelessly and, too often, thanklessly, to make sure everything goes off without a hitch.
For Oakdale, that person is Connie Dow.
Dow, who is the executive director of Oak Meadows Senior Living and avid volunteer in the community, was voted Oakdale Patch’s Person of the Year during a four-day poll on Patch. In doing so, she received 55 percent of the votes—15 of 27.
"Here is this person who is incredbily busy — she has an enormous job here — but she sitll takes the time to do this volunteer stuff," said Kim Utecht Prayfrock, the director of community relations at Oak Meadows.
Dow, 62, took her job as executive directorat Oak Meadows 15 years ago. In fact, she took the job before the building was even completed.
"The first time I was out there, there was just the framing up for the living building and I thought it was cute," Dow said. "When I came back to the building for the job it had doubled in size."
Dow had previous experience in property management before and decied to pursue the job after a friend had recommended her. Dow planned on working at Oak Meadows for about five years or so at the time.
"I planned on it being an interim thing, but I kind of got hooked and am still here," Dow said.
In addition to running Oak Meadows, Dow spends much of her time volunteering at Oakdale Elementary School. Dow does reading tutoring twice a week for the first graders at the school.
"I love to read, so that's why I like tutoring the kids in reading," Dow said. "It's very near and dear to me."
Not only does Dow tutor kids in reading, but she is also part of the Oakdale Business and Professional Association, the Woodbury Chamber of Commerce, the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce, Aging Services of Minnesota and participates in Reign in Sarcoma.
She has also led Oak Meadows to participate in the Holiday Helping Hands program for 14 years. She and staff have also raised more than $5,000 by participating in the Alzheimer’s Walk for the past three years.
"She is so involved with things," Prayfrock said. "I could never keep up with her."
When Dow isn't volunteering — which is rare and in between — she spends time with her seven grandchildren. She also joines the Yarn Works Club at Oak Meadows where they have taught her how to crochet. She recently took up a pottery class as well.
Dow had no idea she was even nominated up until the voting had ended. She was more than a little surprised.
"It was quite a surprise and it's quite an honor to be acknowledged by your staff," Dow said. "It's really nice and I really appreciate it."