2016 Award Recipients
2016 ServeMontana Award Recipients
Dick and Linda Juvik
Dick and Linda Juvik are recognized for their dedication to bringing awareness to Montana’s Prisoners of War/Missing in Action.
In 2012, Dick and Linda participated in a cross-country ride, Run for the Wall, and personally witnessed people cheer and thank veterans for their service in towns across the U.S. This inspired them to testify at committees during the 2013 Montana Legislative Session to pass a bill that would require POW/MIA flags to be displayed with the US flag at specified locations. After the bill failed, they went directly to Governor Steve Bullock to request a POW/MIA flag fly over the State Capitol of Montana until all POW/MIA’s are accounted for or repatriated. With support from Dick and Linda, On April 4, 2013, Governor Bullock issued the Executive Order to fly the POW/MIA flag at the State Capitol.
But their advocacy didn’t end with the Executive Order. Dick and Linda paved the way for the Transportation Commission to vote unanimously to designate Highway US 287 from Helena to West Yellowstone as the POW/MIA Memorial Highway. They planned the first Montana Ride to Remember along Highway 287 in March 2014 in which 200 veterans and friends committed to bringing more awareness to POW/MIA through this ride. The second year, the ride had close to 300 participants and is now an annual event!
Dick and Linda remain committed to bringing awareness to Montana’s 55 citizens who are still POW/MIA. They helped establish the Montana POW/MIA Awareness Association, and through this non-profit they continue to organize service events and memorials for veterans. Their hard work paid off when during the 2015 legislature, their bill that failed in 2013 was signed into law. When you see POW/MIA flags being flown at government buildings across the state, remember the thoughtfulness of Dick and Linda to always remember our veterans.
Carla Parks is recognized for leading the town of Thompson Falls toward economic recovery through her vision and passion as a community volunteer.
In addition to serving as mayor of Thompson Falls from 2010-2015, Carla led and served on many committees that have transformed Thompson Falls into a vibrant town full of recreation, employment, and community events. As a member of the Fort Thompson Playground Committee, Carla helped raise $40,000 in donations to install an interactive children’s playground and picnic site. Carla was also involved with the High Bridge Historic Restoration Project to rehabilitate a century-old bridge over the Clark Fork River. This bridge once was used to connect two communities, and due to deterioration, was unusable since its closure in 1979. It is now reopen due to Carla’s efforts. She is also in the process of fundraising to build the Ainsworth Park designed especially for hosting family gatherings, events, and concerts.
Most notably, Carla was instrumental in forming the Thompson Falls Main Street Committee and submitting a successful application to become a Main Street Town through the Montana Main Street Program. Through this program, Thompson Falls receives assistance to revitalize and strengthen the town’s historical center. In the Downtown Master Plan, largely facilitated by Carla, there’s a big vision for Thompson Falls to preserve historical attributes, while fostering a healthy business and community environment.
Crowley Fleck, PLLP
Crowley Fleck is recognized for its in-house pro bono law program that represents Montanans who are unable to afford an attorney. For many years, Crowley Fleck has partnered with community organizations to raise awareness of access to justice issues, while also contributing services to low-income clients.
Crowley Fleck’s pro bono program is in its 20th year. Attorneys with this firm, one of the oldest and largest in Montana, have quietly contributed over 4,000 hours by providing legal services to those who need it most. Many Montanans are unaware of this service arm of the firm because Crowley Fleck often does not publically share the incredible work of this program; instead they believe public service is part and parcel of the privilege of practicing law. The pro bono program represents clients at no cost with civil legal issues that range from family law issues to tax disputes. Recently, the firm had a great victory when it litigated a tax dispute referral and prevented a client from facing homelessness.
Crowley Fleck also sponsors the annual Student Pro Bono Award to recognize the pro bono work of law students throughout their time in law school. This is just one of the many ways they instill a lifelong commitment to serving others in the field of law. Just a few months ago, Crowley Fleck celebrated the 50th anniversary of Montana Legal Services Association with what we know best in Montana – by partnering with the Blackfoot Brewery to sponsor a “Justice for Alt” beer. The proceeds went to support Montana Legal Services Association.
From raising awareness regarding important access to justice issues, to quietly committing to corporate social responsibility, Crowley Fleck sets an admirable example for other law firms in the state. Gary Connelley, Neil Westesen, Dan McLean, Heidi Goettel, Alissa Chambers, and John Semmens are here to accept the award on behalf of the over 150 lawyers with Crowley Fleck who contribute their time to serving others. We are honored to present them with a ServeMontana Award.
Lily Miller is certainly not your typical 10-year-old! Lily is recognized for helping send girls around the world to school.
After Lily read Malala Yousafzai’s book “I am Malala” she was appalled at the fact that some girls around the world are not able to go to school like she is able to here in Montana. In the fall of 2014, she decided to turn a recent service-learning project into something more. For a fundraiser at school, she had learned to sew fabric-scrap lovebirds. She decided to start making more of these cloth birds. Thus, Lily’s Lovebirds was created to help girls in Nepal and around the world go to school. With her young sister Maizy, and with help from her mom and friends, they cut out and sew the love birds whenever they have time to spare. Lily then donates the proceeds to the Power of 5 through Conscious Connections Foundation in which she can send a Nepalese girl to school for just $10 a month.
In addition to being the only girl on her hockey team, Lily is often busy hosting afterschool groups to help her trace the patterns of the birds and sew them together. Lily’s efforts have gained national notoriety, and her birds are so popular that they are currently on backorder! Since Lily started this project, she has raised over $4000, which has helped send 25 girls to school for year in Nepal. Remaining funds have also been donated to the Malala Fund to send other girls around the world to school. Lily keeps in contact with the girls she sends to school through letters. After the devastating Nepal earthquake, she was relieved to hear that none of the girls she helps were injured in the earthquake because they were outside at recess.
Schylar Canfield-Baber is recognized for overcoming adversity and becoming a national advocate for foster care students in Montana, and nationwide.
At the age of 6, Schylar was placed in Montana’s foster care system. From then until he became an adult, he would go through 11 foster homes, two group homes, and a children’s home – an adversity that many of us can’t even imagine and that he has overcome. When Schylar aged out of foster care, he joined FosterClub, a national network for youth in care, and he learned to empower other foster kids who are struggling to rise above their situations. By example, he shows them the importance of setting goals, being involved in the community, and getting an education and a fulfilling job. According to Schylar’s supervisor “he could have grown into an angry, bitter adult; instead, he has compassion for others that comes from being treated without compassion.”
Schylar is an articulate spokesman for others in the foster care system and serves on many boards to give voice to those learning to adapt through tough times. He has held many positions on the Board of Directors of Montana CASA including serving as President. He also served as President of the National Foster Youth Advisory Council and on the board of directors for FosterClub. In his day job, he works at the Student Assistance Foundation providing outreach efforts and financial literacy training for students. He was recently appointed to the Protect Montana’s Kids Commission to support improved outcomes in child abuse and neglect cases. He has spoken to thousands of youth and adults across the United States and continues to be an inspiration to those in foster care.
St. Peter’s Hospital Volunteer Department
The 150 volunteers who serve at St. Peter’s Hospital are recognized for providing compassionate care and crucial support to hospital patients and visitors each day.
Volunteers support numerous efforts at St. Peter’s Hospital and commit to at least four hours, one day a week. In non-patient departments, volunteers serve at the front desk, greet visitors and provide wheel-chair assistance. Volunteers also serve at the gift shop, represent the hospital at health fairs, assist with special events, and more.
Volunteers also work directly with patients – sometimes under extremely difficult circumstances, and by assisting nursing staff in making patients comfortable. Volunteers with the No One Dies Alone program accompany patients in their last hours. Helena Bunkowske, a retired nurse and one of St. Peter’s longest-serving volunteers, is a rock of support who brings comfort to patients near the end of life. “Whenever we call Helen, Helen comes,” says Sister Elizabeth Henry, coordinator for No One Dies Alone program.
Volunteers with the Cancer Treatment Center offer support while patients go through some of the most difficult times in their lives. They help the nurses by serving patients lunch, comforting them with pillows and blankets, and keeping the energy positive. Dr. Russ Bell, a volunteer, recalls his favorite moment when he witnessed a young girl, who after months of chemotherapy, was about to reach the bell mounted in the center that is rung when patients finish their final treatment. He described with tears in his eyes how, because she was too short to reach the bell intended for adults, her father needed to lift her up. She was cheered on by the whole room as she rung the bell.
RuthAnn Hutcheson is recognized for always jumping in to help others when they are in need and supporting her community in many ways.
RuthAnn moved to Glasgow over 25 years ago and has made it more than just her home. As an avid football fan, you can regularly spot RuthAnn at home games, and she is instrumental in feeding the football team every Thursday night during their season. She provides bottled water during post-season play and a meal to each of the other teams during the season. As treasurer of the Booster Club, she sells 50/50 tickets, puts up banners, and then leads the cheers in the parent section. She organizes every Senior and Parent Night. As a member of the Aquatic Center Committee, she was proactive in getting funding for a new swimming pool.
What’s most remarkable about RuthAnn is the Valley County Thanksgiving Day Dinner that she has planned, organized, and run. Originally her idea 25 years ago, RuthAnn enlists the help of volunteers to prepare and serve a meal to approximately 150 people free of charge each year. In 25 years, she has fed about 3,750 meals to those in need! At each dinner, RuthAnn speaks to those who have come to eat, thanking all who helped to make it possible. She gives tirelessly of her time and energy, yet still always credits this dinner to those around her.
First Lady School Breakfast Champion Awards
Miles City Public Schools
Miles City Public Schools are recognized for starting new school breakfast programs during the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 school years. From one central kitchen location, the Food Service Staff at Miles City Public Schools faces no easy task providing a variety of programs to a total of six schools each day. Amanda McDowall, food service director, oversees purchasing, preparation and the safe delivery of food to four elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school. Both breakfast programs at Washington Middle School and Highland Park K-2 are new.
Just two years ago, many students in Miles City had no access to breakfast when they arrived at school. They can now rely on having a wholesome meal and starting the school day ready to learn. With support from the community, teachers, and staff at each school, Miles City has made great strides to provide students the most important meal of the day.
Billings Senior High School
Billings Senior High School is recognized for increasing participation in an existing school breakfast program. Due to a dedicated administration, staff, and students, Billings Senior High School began serving breakfast after the bell this fall. Prior to implementing breakfast in the classroom, only 200 of the 1800 students at the high school were consuming breakfast. After implementation, an additional 700 students are now participating in the breakfast daily! During 1st and 2nd period, teachers take breakfast orders, which are then packed and delivered directly to the classroom by Vocational Education students.
The brown bags feature a combination of fruit, grain and protein each day, and are very highly anticipated by the students. Use of the school food pantry has decreased, and teachers have already noticed fewer behavioral issues and increased student engagement.
Browning Public Schools
Browning Public Schools are also recognized for increasing participation in existing school breakfast programs. Last fall, Browning Public Schools adopted a “grab-and-go” model in both their middle school and high school. With participation continually increasing, they serve close to 500 students daily. During mid-morning break, students can grab food from a kiosk in the hallway. Students then participate in school activities while they eat the breakfast at their desk.
Food Service Director, Lynne Keenan, is dedicated to not only providing a meal to as many children as possible in the school district, but also providing healthy and enticing options. It’s common to see her making recipes from scratch with fresh produce, such as fruit smoothies. Teachers, food service staff, and administration continue to stay positive and fine tune the program. They hope to adopt a similar model in the elementary schools.
Fairfield School District
Fairfield School District is recognized for a long-standing tradition of excellence in serving school breakfast. Fairfield has been quietly improving its breakfast program since its inception nearly 20 years ago. After noticing that some students were coming to school hungry, Wanda Sand, Food Service Director, decided to implement a simple “breakfast for a buck” program. The program initially served 20 students; today it serves close to 100 students each day.
Over the years, the school district has worked to accommodate students’ needs. Students are now able to eat in the classroom if they are running late. Food service staff cook from scratch and implement items like fresh baked rolls, fresh fruit, protein, and milk into the menu as requested by students. They even helped a student win their student body presidential campaign by agreeing to fulfill a campaign promise to make Super Nachos once a month!
Roosevelt Elementary School
Roosevelt Elementary School is recognized for the Food Service Staff of the Year. This award category is new this year and is a wonderful addition as it provides us an opportunity to recognize Food Service Staff for all they do for students.
Against many odds, the food service team of three at Roosevelt Elementary spend every day ensuring their students are provided with breakfast in the classroom. The team faces many severe limitations including a tiny kitchen housed in the oldest school building in the district. With no dishwasher, hundreds of dishes are washed by hand daily. Limited space forces the staff to organize breakfast items in the gymnasium. With plans for a new school to be built in a few years, no renovations can be made to the current kitchen. This team of three continues to make the best with little. Despite challenging endeavors, they are extremely committed to making sure every student is provided access to a nutritious meal, no matter what it takes or how creative they have to get.