Inez Rohrer, a 92-year-old Missourian employee, and 13 other seniors from around the state had the red carpet rolled out for them this week at the Missouri Outstanding Older Worker Recognition Event held Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 15-16, in Jefferson City.
Rohrer was named a regional winner for the Franklin-Jefferson counties area back in September. She and 13 other regional winners from around the state were treated to a two-day celebration and awards ceremony that included tours of the Capitol and Governor’s Mansion.
For a dinner banquet held Tuesday night, the nominees literally walked a red carpet leading into the banquet room at the Capitol Plaza Hotel.
“It was wonderful and very elegant,” said Rohrer of the entire experience. “At dinner the chairs were gold and the tables were immaculate. The servers wore black suits and white gloves.”
Rohrer noted how impressive all of the artwork on display at the Capitol and in the Governor’s Mansion is and said all of the people who were involved in organizing the event did an “amazing” job of making the nominees and their guests feel welcome and at ease.
Missourian Distribution Manager Dena Toth, who is Rohrer’s boss, also attended the two-day event. Toth said the organizers did an excellent job of making the experience memorable and very special.
“It was great. They really went over the top for them,” she said, “above and beyond what I expected.”
Rohrer, who is one of the operators of the inserting machine in The Missourian’s circulation department, took as her guests her son and daughter-in-law David and Nancy Rohrer; Toth; co-worker Stephen Trentmann, sales manager for the commercial printing division, and his wife, Melanie.
A portion of the event included the 14 nominees listening as their employers talked about why they had nominated them, followed by the nominees then answering questions and providing comments.
Stephen Trentmann said that was one of the most enjoyable parts of the event.
“It was very inspirational to see all that Inez and these 13 other people have accomplished,” he remarked.
Toth, who describes Rohrer as “the hardest worker that I know,” said the 92-year-old was humble and modest in describing her work activities, but that her warm personality won them all over.
“She made the whole room chuckle,” Toth said, smiling.
The fact that Rohrer was selected as the Outstanding Older Worker to represent Franklin and Jefferson counties doesn’t surprise Bill Miller Sr., editor and publisher of The Missourian.
“Inez has a superb work ethic,” he said. “She is an example to everybody. For those of us who are a little older, we consider her from the old school of people with outstanding work habits.
“She certainly is an inspiration to the younger people she works with and, on top of that, she is a great lady.”
As part of their tour of the Capitol, the nominees were introduced to all of the members of the state Legislature and each was given proclamations from their senator and representative.
Rohrer received proclamations both from Sen. Brian Nieves and Rep. Scott Dieckhaus.
‘Vital Role in Our Economy’
The Missouri Outstanding Older Worker of the Year contest seeks to honor a Missouri resident who is 60 or older, employed at least 20 hours a week, and displays dependability and new skills on the job.
“Older workers play a vital role in our economy,” said Margaret Donnelly, director of the Department of Health and Senior Services, one of the contest sponsors.
Rohrer, who has been employed at The Missourian since 1994, works between 25 and 30 hours a week over five days a week and, on a few occasions, on Saturdays. She operates the inserting machine to make sure all of the newspaper advertising inserts are put together correctly and also does some inserting by hand.
“She knows her job very well,” Toth wrote on the form nominating Rohrer for the award. “If someone new is hired, she sometimes likes to take them under her wing and show them how it is done.
“She has the best work ethic of anyone I know . . . I use her as an example by saying every once in a while when someone needs to hear it, that ‘If Inez, who is 92, can do it, then you can do it!’ ”
The annual Older Worker of the Year program, now in its 21st year, is sponsored by the Missouri Senior Employment Coordinating Committee, consisting of the AARP Foundation; Experience Works; Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph; MERS/Missouri Goodwill Industries; Missouri Department of Economic Development/Division of Workforce Development; and the Department of Health and Senior Services/Division of Senior and Disability Services.