ServeMontana Awards


2017 Serve Montana Awards

Serve Montana Awards
First Lady School Breakfast Champion Awards
Awards Ceremony
10:30 to 11:30 am Friday, June 2, 2017
Senate Chambers
Montana State Capitol, 3rd Floor


Lunch on Us
Miles City, Montana

Since 2006 “Lunch on Us” has been providing lunch to students and community members in need. What started out as a much needed hot lunch program for Custer County High School Students, has evolved into a weekly lunch program for nearly 85 students and community members. Every Wednesday, Esther Helmila and the dedicated volunteers prepare and serve homemade meals at the First United Methodist Church basement.


Cole’s Pantry
Bridger, Montana

Cole’s Pantry posse is run by Bridger High School students. After seeing the need to help students in their community, this dedicated group of students jumped into action. Posse members plan, purchase, fill and distribute food bags each week. The group does its own fundraising, marketing, organizing and distribution. The groups’ members are also active in starting similar programs in other parts of Montana. In the last 2 years, they have started 7 new projects! Cole’s Pantry offers seed money to groups varying from $500 to $1,500, depending on school size. Because of this program, over 300 students are getting food for the weekend.



Kris Bosch
Helena, Montana

To say Kris is devoted to Montana’s public lands would be an understatement. He has maintained trails at the Gates of the Mountains for the Helena National Forest and has improved sage grouse habitat near Bridger, Montana. Kris helped remove sections of barbed wire fence in the Pryor Mountains to expand the Wild Horse Range. As a student intern for the Youth Forest Monitoring program in Helena, Kris conducted wildlife surveys ranging from amphibians to woodpeckers. From dabbling in archeology to surveying pictographs, Kris’ love for Montana’s outdoors is evident. In addition to his volunteer service, Kris is involved with many activities at Helena High School including President of the Environthon Club, Co-President of the Science Club and a member of the National Honor Society.


Carol Brooker
Plains, Montana

Carol’s commitment to her community is evident by her serving on nearly 20 volunteer boards in Sanders County. She is a true servant of the people and always seeks to elevate others over herself. Carol has served as a Sanders County Commissioner for over 20 years and cares deeply about her neighbors. Whether it’s a statewide issue, a challenge within Sanders County, an improvement necessary on one of our rural towns or just a person in need, Carol is there to help. She is a valued resource with a history of unbiased reason, hard work and hands on leadership. With all of her volunteer service, Carol balances daily life with family and friends while enjoying Montana’s great outdoors.


Charlotte Gaustad
Polson, Montana

Charlotte has been a Foster Grandparent mentor for 17 years. As one of the 3 Senior Corps programs, Foster Grandparents are placed with students who need mentoring and additional instruction outside of the classroom. During her nearly 2 decades of service, Charlotte has mentored hundreds of elementary children in Polson, Cherry Valley and Linderman schools. Known as Grandma G, she has volunteered over 9,500 hours and has no intention of slowing down. According to Charlotte, “knowing that I am going to school every day is why this 80 years young woman gets up every morning”.


Rose Neumiller-Green
Wolf Point, Montana

Rose saw the need for a food bank in Wolf Point so she started the Wolf Point Food Pantry. She volunteers every week day and manages the daily operations to help those in need in her community. When not overseeing the daily operations at the food pantry, you will find Rose serving at the local soup kitchen making sure the needs of her community are met. Through her volunteer efforts, she has served hundreds of her neighbors, and the numbers keep rising. When asked what motivates Rose, one of her neighbors replied “she just does it out of the goodness of her heart”.


Harold Spilde
Great Falls, Montana

Harold is a key part of the FISH food pantry and coordinates groups of volunteers. As a retired veteran, he spends much of his time feeding those in need and providing a warm welcome to those visiting the community. It is not unusual to find Harold spending in excess of 30 hours a week in service to others. He is the backbone of the FISH food pantry and his leadership and collaboration with the local churches ensure that the pantry is always staffed. Harold first signed up for the Retired Senior Volunteer Program 23 years ago and since then, he has never looked back and has contributed thousands of volunteer hours to his community.


2017 First Lady School Breakfast Champion Awards

Category 1: Startup of a new School Breakfast Program:
Lima K-12 Schools

The Lima School District in Southwest Montana is a small, K-12 school district serving a rural farming and ranching community. With just over 70 students enrolled, the school administrators and food service professionals sought to meet the needs of their students by offering a traditional school breakfast program during the 2016-17 school year. The district’s ability to see access to consistent, nutritious foods as a priority for the community’s youth is admirable. The dedication of staff and school board to identify and adequately address the need in their community is evident. Parents are now able to rely on the school district to provide a balanced breakfast when they have work or chores to attend to in their day-to-day life.


Category 2: Increased participation in existing School Breakfast Program:
Target Range School

Target Range currently offers 3 additional meal opportunities outside the traditional breakfast program.   In 2013-2014 their breakfast totals were 12,052 which included a Grab-n-Go option for the late students. In 2014-2015, they had a “slight” increase to 14,825. In 2015-2016, they implemented their Recharge Station that begins mid-morning for the 6-8th grade students with total breakfasts being served reaching 30,974.  In 2016-2017, they added another breakfast cart for their Powerhouse Station for the 4-5th grades and are waiting to see the results. While they have increased their program participation greatly, the school continues to search for more creative interventions to keep students fueled and prepared for success. Target Range has encouraged other schools to follow their lead like Gallatin Gateway. To expand outreach in the community, kitchen staff prepare samples of new menu items during ‘back to school nights’ for families visiting the campus. In addition, the school hosts an annual community Thanksgiving dinner. Parents and students are invited to attend and enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving dinner prepared by their kitchen staff and served by the administration and school board trustees.


Category 3: Long-standing tradition of excellence in serving school breakfast:
Red Lodge Public Schools

The Red Lodge school district has had a successful, long running School Breakfast Program. The high school in particular really lends itself well to the specific needs of a secondary student. Red Lodge High offers a “breakfast snack” mid-morning for students as a scheduled part of their day. Students gather in the commons area where they talk and interact between classes. A meal service line is located just off the main entryway. Fresh fried eggs, yogurt parfaits, whole fruit and juice, cereal and more are all healthy options for these students. Once breakfast is served, students eat and listen to daily announcements. The school counselor engages the students in an interactive game before they are off to their next class. The principal of Red Lodge High School, Rex Ternan, is the leader and proud promoter of their schedule which focuses on nutrition throughout the school day. The Food Service Director is also willing to do whatever is necessary to meet the students at a time and place that is good for them. She focuses on providing well-balanced meals with whole foods to help fuel them through their day of learning and extracurricular activities.


Category 4: Food Service Staff of the Year:
Ekalaka Public Schools

Ekalaka Food Service Director, Patricia Lovec, has made feeding 100 students from grades kindergarten through senior high in rural southeast Montana her mission. School food service is Patricia’s passion and the students in her community are a priority. When Mrs. Lovec saw that students were coming to school hungry, she bought inexpensive granola bars and cheese sticks to sustain them before lunch. Soon after, she learned it would not take much effort to offer a complete breakfast to all students. Ekalaka is a community of high need. Many students have long bus routes from the country into town where the school is located. Students typically have chores before and after school, as well as their studies and extracurricular activities. The food service staff were the first to notice these students need to be fueled throughout the day, not just with school lunch. Upon recent completion of their new high school building, the district transitioned the fledgling breakfast program into the new building to continue meeting the needs of their students. Thanks to the leadership of administration, support from the community, and the passion and dedication to serving students from Patricia and her staff, the Ekalaka School Breakfast Program has seen consistent participation over the last year and a half.

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