2013 Award Recipients
Montanans Honored for Outstanding Volunteer Service!
The 2013 ServeMontana Awards and ReadyMontana Awards will be presented at the ServeMontana Symposium awards luncheon on Thursday, February 28 starting at 11:30am at the Great Northern Hotel in Helena.
“I look forward to recognizing these dedicated Montanans,” said Lt. Governor John Walsh. “It’s the passion and commitment of volunteers that make our state great.”
Lt. Governor John Walsh will first present three ReadyMontana Awards to outstanding community volunteers and organizations in the areas of disaster services, emergency preparedness and emergency response. Following will be the presentation of eight ServeMontana Awards to outstanding community volunteers and organizations in the social impact areas of education, healthy futures, environmental stewardship, economic opportunity and veterans & military families.
ReadyMontana Award Recipients
Yellowstone County Disaster Action Team, American Red Cross of Montana
The Yellowstone County Disaster Action Team is a 2013 recipient of a ReadyMontana Award for their dedication to providing disaster assistance in the eight county area surrounding Yellowstone County.
The American Red Cross of Montana has 22 Disaster Action Teams across the state. When disasters happen, these volunteer groups are called upon to provide shelter, food, medications, mental health support and other immediate needs of those impacted. The Yellowstone County Disaster Action Team covers Golden Valley, Musselshell, Stillwater, Carbon, Rosebud, Treasure, Big Horn, and Yellowstone County- an area hit particularly hard with emergencies in the last few years. In two years, this Disaster Action Team responded to 229 of the 588 events in the state, including managing shelters for 91 days last summer.
Accepting the award on behalf of the team, is Jill Washburn, the team chair, and volunteer Edna Mae Duncan. Both Edna and Jill volunteer with the Red Cross beyond their duties on the Disaster Action Team. Jill serves statewide as the Disaster Duty Officer and Red Cross Instructor. Edna Mae also provides support statewide as a registered nurse for clients that need medication replenishment and support.
The Yellowstone Disaster Action Team was described as tireless, selfless, and capacity-builders!
Robert Hanson, of Glasgow, is a 2013 recipient of a ReadyMontana Award for his service as the Long Run Volunteer Fire Department Chief and Eastern Montana Fire Alliance Liaison.
Robert “Sparky” Hanson is the Volunteer Fire Chief for Long Run Fire Department covering all of Valley County and its 7,675 residents. In the last year, the Long Run Department responded to 99 calls to fire, 15 of which were providing mutual aid to other counties and reservations. A typical year only has 65 calls. 2011 saw the worst flooding on record for Valley County and Chief Hanson worked closely with the Glasgow Fire Chief to ensure resources were available when flash flooding overwhelmed the city’s sewage system.
Chief Hanson has also been a leader in encouraging collaboration to improve mutual aid along the Hi-Line and across Eastern Montana. This summer he put the mutual aid plan in action by deploying resources to every major wildfire in Eastern Montana. In 2011, Chief Hanson was instrumental in hosting the annual Montana State Volunteer Firefighter’s Convention in Glasgow. He also participates in the Valley County LEPC (Local Emergency Planning Committee) and always ready to help his neighbors.
Chief Hanson or “Sparky” was described as selfless, tireless, and everyone’s friend!
Pat Dennis, of Ashland, is a 2013 recipient of a ReadyMontana Award for his service as the St. Labre Volunteer Fire Department Chief.
Pat Dennis is the Volunteer Fire Chief for the St. Labre Volunteer Fire Department that covers Ashland, the St. Labre Indian School, and the surrounding community. Last summer, Chief Dennis managed the initial attack on the historic Ash Creek Fire that threatened the school and burned many surrounding homes. He worked tirelessly for days and worked hard to save as many homes as possible. For his determination and dedication he received a commendation from the northern Rockies Incident Management Team.
Chief Dennis is also committed to teaching emergency preparedness and fire prevention at the school and the Northern Cheyenne Head Start. This winter, the community of Ashland wanted to do more to prepare for emergencies like the Ash Creek Fire. So Chief Dennis organized the first Community Emergency Response Team (CERT ) training for the area and now 16 volunteers are prepared to assist with emergencies and support emergency responders.
Chief Dennis was described as dedicated, passionate, and caring!
ServeMontana Award Recipients
Miles City Soup Kitchen
The Miles City Soup Kitchen is a 2013 recipient of a ServeMontana Award for their dedication to feeding the hungry of Custer County.
The Miles City Soup Kitchen, also known as the Custer County Community Table, started as an idea from a group of dedicated volunteers in 2009. A year and half later they were serving their first meals three days a week to the hungry in Miles City. They now run a commercial kitchen in the former VA canteen, offering a hot meal to an average of 45 people, five days a week.
The Mile City Soup Kitchen is an effort completely driven by volunteers. After coming together with the common mission to serve healthy and appetizing meals to those who need it most, the group quickly got to action. They completed a business plan, wrote bylaws, received a food handler’s license, completed a volunteer manual, and received their 501(c)3 nonprofit status. They now support one paid employee, their cook, and operate everyday with an average of 5 volunteers- many of whom are part of the RSVP Senior Corps program.
Receiving the award on behalf of the Miles City Soup Kitchen is Mary Squires, Kathy Bergevin, and Betty Vail.
The Miles City Soup Kitchen was described as resourceful, vital, and essential!
Laura Kennedy, of Billings, is a 2013 recipient of a ServeMontana Award for her volunteer work with youth and charities.
Laura Kennedy moved to Billings almost three years ago for her job as a reporter with KULR-8 and she immediately started volunteering with a variety of local organizations. She has been a cherished Big Sister to Hannah as part of the Big Brother, Big Sisters program. Laura volunteers weekly in a 3rd grade class after participating in an “Educator for a Day” event with the Billings Public Schools. She also donates her time at the YMCA as a synchronized swimming coach.
Laura volunteers with fundraisers for a variety of causes. She participates in the annual Muscular Dystrophy Association’s “Lock-up” event that raises money for youth with Muscular Dystrophy. Over the holidays, she volunteers for the Yellowstone Valley Animal Shelter’s Christmas Santa Picture Project. In the summer, she helped with the Rimrock Mall Relay for Life fundraiser fashion show and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s BikeMS event. She also donates blood every two months.
Laura was described as compassionate, caring, and positive!
Scott Carpenter, of Bozeman, is a 2013 recipient of a ServeMontana Award for his being a committed mentor with Thrive’s Child Advancement Project.
Scott Carpenter has been a mentor for over six years with the Child Advancement Project or CAP. This program was established in 1989 by the nonprofit Thrive in collaboration with the Bozeman schools. CAP mentors work one-on-one with children grades K-12 to increase academic performance and improve social skills. Mentors provide support, encouragement, and help the students discover and build upon their personal strengths.
Scott has met with his mentee, Connor, for an hour a week for the last six and half years. Since the beginning of his mentoring relationship, Scott has used his intuition and compassion to build a strong relationship with Connor. He has shown an active interest in helping his student succeed and has gone out of his way to provide enriching and creative projects for their time together. Scott has also been a strong and consistent male role model for Connor.
Scott was described as patient, consistent, and dedicated!
Danielle Gornick, of Missoula, is a 2013 recipient of a ServeMontana Award for starting the “Sleep Tight Missoula” project and her commitment to helping at-risk youth in the Missoula area.
Patricia Danielle Gornick is a high school senior at Sentinel High in Missoula. In the summer before her senior year, Danielle and her friend Elly Jones decided they wanted to do a volunteer project before they left for college. Danielle was moved by an earlier trip to Haiti and decided that she wanted to help with poverty in her own community. The “Sleep Tight Missoula” project was started with the intention to make fleece blankets for the homeless and at-risk children in Missoula. They set a goal of making 600 blankets before Christmas to be distributed through McKinney tutor program run by the Women’s Opportunity & Resource Development, Inc. (WORD). That goal was easily met and more than 740 blankets have been made so far.
Danielle’s volunteer commitments extend beyond the “Sleep Tight Missoula” project. She has been a regular volunteer with the YWCA Missoula’s GUTS! Program (Girls Using Their Strengths) including delivering a monologue during their LUNAFEST fundraiser. She also is a youth trainer with the National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI) and leads violence prevention and prejudice reduction trainings in schools.
Danielle was described as passionate, driven, and sincere!
Roland Childs, of Libby, is a 2013 recipient of a ServeMontana Award for his long time service to the VFW Post 1548 and the community of Libby.
Roland Childs served with the Army Air Corps from 1945 to 1949 and since that time has been an active member of the VFW in Libby. His dedication to the VFW Post 1548 is legendary. He is the active Chaplain for the Post and the Honor Guard, he is chairman of the membership and flag program, is a top salesman for the VFW Buddy Poppy program, and still reconciles the Post’s canteen financial receipts three times a week. Previously, Roland was the Post Quartermaster for eleven years, has been an Honor Guard member since 1985, and served as the secretary-treasurer for the Military Order of the Cootie for 24 years. On top of all of that, he served as the VFW van driver for eleven years; bringing veterans from Libby to the Veterans’ Hospital in Spokane.
Despite being 92 years old, Roland and his wife Beulah, are still active community members in Libby. They tend a garden, maintain their home, drive themselves to and from errands, and Roland even clears his block’s sidewalks both summer and winter!
Roland was described as faithful, inspirational, and competent!
Wendi Fawns, of Corvallis, is a 2013 recipient of a ServeMontana Award for her dedication to youth education and her leadership with the Community Cooking Connections program.
Wendi Fawns serves as the director of the Community Cooking Connections, a program started by her then middle school aged daughter Rebecca in 2007. This program engages teenagers in preparing free family style meals every week to the residents of Hamilton area. Through the program, the students learn food preparation, leadership, and communications skills while feeding those in need in their community.
Wendi‘s support for youth continues through her work with the Ravalli County 4-H programs and the network of homeschooled students in the Hamilton area. She also volunteered with the Juvenile Detention Facility providing one-on-one tutoring to the students in the facility. She works hard with these students and all the youth she leads to make connections between learning and life skills.
Wendi was described as a mentor, resourceful, and creative!
Christopher Doyle, of Butte, is a 2013 recipient of a ServeMontana Award for his service as an AmeriCorps member and volunteer with the Clark Fork Watershed Education Program.
Chris Doyle is a Butte native and current biology major at Montana Tech. He got involved with the Clark Fork Watershed Education Program (CFWEP) seven years ago when he was still a high school student. He was matched with a watershed education mentor and participated in a science fair pilot program. Since that time he has been an active and vital volunteer with CFWEP. Once he enrolled at Montana Tech he joined CFWEP as a Campus Corps AmeriCorps member. He then served over the summer as a Summer VISTA Associate and led their summer fly fishing camp for young adults.
Despite his busy schedule and upcoming graduation, Chris continues to volunteer with the Clark Fork Watershed Education Project. He is instrumental in the educational programs for K-12 students. Whether he’s teaching kindergarten children about macro invertebrates, teaching high school students about proper cottonwood planting techniques, or showing off his animal calling techniques to people of all ages at the Montana Folk Festival- Chris motivates and engages a wide range of people to learn more about the Clark Fork Watershed.
Chris Doyle was described as dedicated, intelligent, and hard-working!
Recycle Our Waste Lewistown
Recycle Our Waste Lewistown, an outreach program of St. James Episcopal Church, is a 2013 recipient of a ServeMontana Award for their service developing a community plastic recycling program in Lewistown.
Recycle Our Waste Lewistown, or ROWL, came about after citizens of Lewistown were frustrated by the lack of plastic recycling in the area. The St. James’ Episcopal Church and its members took on the initiative as part of their community outreach. Through the perseverance of volunteers and generous support from the community and the Episcopal Diocese, the ROWL group was able to purchase an 18 foot trailer, a 30 inch HD baler, and a generator to run monthly plastic collection drives. Space to hold the drives is provided by a local market and ROWL volunteers now run a plastic collection on the third Saturday of every month, collecting #1 and #2 plastics.
Rosemary Kent is the Project Manager for Recycle our Waste Lewistown and will be joined by several volunteers to accept the award on behalf of the group.
Recycle Our Waste Lewistown was described as committed, dedicated, and persevering!