By Shannon Johnson
Carla Brown has been serving her community through her work at the Senior Citizens Center as the Coordinator of Council on Aging for two decades. “I really truly enjoy solving a person’s problems,” Brown smiled. On Jan. 16, Brown’s commitment to her community was recognized as she received the 2018 Citizen of the Year award. She’s been described by many as humble, caring, hard-working and kind.
Carla is a Baker native. After graduating at Baker High School, she continued her education at the Miles City Community College in Miles City, Mont., where she obtained her legal and medical secretary degree. After college she married her husband Jerry and they moved to Watford City, N.D. Brown worked at the newspaper in Watford City while raising three kids: Larry, Katie, and Elizabeth. After about fifteen years, she and her husband returned to Baker to care for her grandfather’s farm.
Brown began working at the Senior Citizens Center when she moved back to the area. “Technically I guess I could say I just kind of fell into it,” she admitted. “I was offered two jobs at the same time and I decided I could make more of a difference at this job than at the other job. I want to do the very best I can for each individual person no matter what their problem is.”
Mayor JoDee Pratt acknowledged Brown’s hard work and dedication to those in her community during her speech, “Carla wears many hats and she is an information network for all of the seniors. She is always kind and caring. Her knowledge goes over and above her work title.”
Brown, who felt as though she was only doing her job, was humbly surprised to hear that she was going to be receiving this award. “I was very surprised and honored,” explained Brown. “I enjoy what I do and I didn’t expect any recognition for it or anything like that.”
Although in her own mind Brown was just conducting business as usual, her work and her willingness to help in ways that she isn’t required to shine out to those in the community that she has impacted. “She does everything she can for everybody,” smiled Marj Peterson, a member of the Senior Citizens Center. “The honor speaks for itself, it’s her. She couldn’t be replaced here.”
It doesn’t take long to find somebody who has kind words to say about Brown. “She’s exceptional and we’re very lucky to have her. She goes above and beyond the call of duty,” Betty Mueller gushed. From birthday parties and dinners, to helping seniors with their prescriptions, and even tackling insurance issues, Brown wears far more hats than what is required for her position.
Brown recalled an instance this summer when she helped an individual from Helena with an insurance issue. “They tried calling two or three of the numbers and they never got any help at all so they called me back,” she said. “I helped them long distance because there was nobody in Helena that would take them by the hand and lead them through the process.”
Brown, although she hadn’t been expecting this honor, was humbled and grateful to receive it. She looks forward to continuing to go above and beyond her duties to serve the members of her community.