She had no idea, entering the arena, that she was the focus of the attention — not the tractors.
Betty Kremer, of Papillion, was chosen as the Sarpy County Fair’s Person of the Year this year, much to her surprise.
Born in Davenport, Iowa, Kremer married her first husband, Rich Giese, and began her volunteer career 35 years ago and is still going strong, even after becoming a member of the fair board.
Giese died of cancer in 1999, but Kremer continued her efforts for the fair. She herself was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in November, and was told by doctors she only had a few months left to live.
But, she refused to stop fighting, she said, and with undergoing treatments every 21 days, she is currently in remission.
Kremer is now married to Paul Kremer, and together they have three children and 12 grandchildren.
“I’ve been volunteering at the fair for years and years,” Kremer said. “From helping the judges with 4-H to the tractor events all these years.”
On July 31, Kremer was told to go inside the arena and take photos and video of the tractors as they geared up for the pull. Suspecting nothing, she was shocked to hear her name announced as the Sarpy Fair’s person of the year.
“I didn’t see it coming at all. I was in shock, I asked if I should keep taking pictures,” Kremer said with a laugh.
Kremer received a plaque and got to ride in the parade through downtown Springfield in a convertible. To her, the fair is and always will be a wonderful time of year for families and friends.
“The volunteering, it makes it possible. But it’s not what I consider work,” she said. “I love doing it. You become part of the community.”