stark county
spirit of excellence award

The Stark County Spirit of Excellence Award recognizes the contributions of an individual or group who has demonstrated Leadership, Customer Service, Innovation, Stewardship, or Good Samaritan/Random Acts of Kindness actions within Stark County, North Dakota.

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August 2022

Brian Benesh

It is with great honor that we announce Brian Benesh of Dickinson has been awarded the Stark County Spirit of Excellence Award.

Vietnam Veteran, Brian Benesh, is a man of duty, conviction, honor, and selflessness. For the past 27 years, Brian has taken on the task of placing an individual flag at every Veteran’s gravestone for Memorial Day. In a two-day span leading up to Memorial Day weekend, nearly 1,000 flags decorate the cemeteries throughout Dickinson. Brian has had the help of a few fellow Veterans over the years, all of whom take on this task with the upmost respect to honor every Veteran laid to rest.

Brian has also led the Veterans Day program in Dickinson for over 18 years, up until last year, as he felt it was his duty to pay tribute to all who have served, especially our POW/MIA. In addition, Brian spearheaded a program called “Adopt a Vet”, encouraging community members to an extra flower to the cemetery for Memorial Day, locate a Veteran’s grave that does not have flowers, and place it there, to assure no Veteran is ever forgotten. Brian has lived a life of giving to others who have given their life for our country’s freedoms.

Congratulations, Brian! We thank you for your service.

View the August 2022 donors.

May 2022

Colleen Rodakowski

Congratulations to Colleen Rodakowski with Elder Care and Dickinson Public Transit. She has been presented with the Stark County Spirit of Excellence Award.

As the Executive Director of Elder Care in Dickinson, she has been instrumental to the success of Elder Care’s mission of giving the elderly the option of remaining in their own homes and helping them maintain a sense of independence and a better quality of life by providing nutrition and transit services.

By striving for safety and customer excellence among her employees, her guidance and leadership has led Dickinson Public Transit to being awarded the Best of the Western Edge Award for cab companies two years in a row.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, she has worked tirelessly to ensure that the services provided to our community by Elder Care have continued to be provided safely every day. Without our services, many elderly would be left without nutritious meals and many community members would lose their source of reliable transportation.

She has worked hard to provide safe working conditions for her employees, as well as training her staff to ensure the safety and health of our customers and coworkers.

Her leadership is second to none and her commitment to the organization and the community is felt deeply by those who work for her and know her. 

Congratulations, Colleen!

View the May 2022 donors.

February 2022

Mike Kelley

It is with great privilege that we announce Mike Kelley is the latest recipient of the Stark County Spirit of Excellence Award.

Mike was recognized for his Good Samaritan/Random Acts of Kindness. His incredible service with McDonald's, the Ronald McDonald House Charities, and the Cabin Fever Benefit made him an excellent candidate for the award.

If you go in McDonald's in Dickinson at any given time, especially during the busy lunch rush or when a bus rolls in, you can find Mike doing many different positions throughout the business. It is not uncommon to see him working the deep fryer or delivering food for the mobile order section. Throughout all this he is always incredibly thankful for his team. He often comes to the front counter after a busy lunch hour and yells out, "Excellent work everyone! Thank you!" to his team.

Mike deserves particular credit for is his giving. He is incredibly generous with his business. He has donated to countless events, activities, Eagle Scout Projects, and individuals throughout our community. Mike is also extremely generous with the Ronald McDonald House charities and Cabin Fever benefit in the area.

Congratulations, Mike!

View the February 2022 donors.

December 2021

Kristin Seaks

Please join us in congratulating Kristin Seaks of Dickinson. She has been awarded the Stark County Spirit of Excellence Award. She has a true heart for service and is a very deserving award recipient.

Kristin Seaks recognized the need for the Dickinson BackPack Program in our area. She not only was instrumental in getting the program started, but she also has served as the volunteer director for the program since its inception in 2013. Since the start of the program, tens of thousands of food packs have been given to youth in need in Stark County.

In addition to the Dickinson BackPack Program, Kristin also worked with other Dickinson Public School social workers to form the DPS Community Closet 4 years ago which provides school supplies, clothes, food, and other needed items to students of Dickinson Public Schools.

Ten years ago, Kristin Seaks had an idea and started a program called 25 Days of Giving, which encourages families to adopt the annual tradition of doing an act of service or making a donation to a charitable organization each day during the first twenty-five days of December. Many families have joined this tradition and do many activities together. In 2020, service activities included delivering 30 ham and turkey meal baskets to Stark County families in need as well as outdoor caroling at area nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Congratulations, Kristin!

View the December 2021 donors.


Art Wanner

It is with distinct honor and privilege that we announce that Art Wanner, a veteran of Dickinson, has been presented with the Stark County Spirit of Excellence Award.

Art is a charter member and Vice President of the Stark County Veterans Memorial Association, overseeing the planning, fundraising, and completion of the memorial. Art is the leader of American Legion Post 3 Honor Guard, thus performing military rites at veterans funerals. He supervises the Legion's food pantry for local veterans in need. Art has also nominated veterans for ND Honor Flights to Washington, DC.

He is actively involved in recognizing our veterans for the Quilts of Valor program in Southwest North Dakota. Art also belongs to other veteran organizations, as well as church and civic organizations. He is a soft spoken, kind, and humble man.

Congratulations, Art Wanner! We thank you for your service to your country, to veterans, and to Stark County. The impact that Art has made on Stark County and beyond has been significant and will carry on for many years to come.

View the October 2021 donors.


Ruthie Johnson

Ruthie Johnson of Belfield, ND has been honored as the August 2021 recipient of the Stark County Spirit of Excellence Award.

Ruthie has given tirelessly of her time and talents for many years on her own and through numerous volunteer organizations and activities. She is positive, giving, and has touched the lives of so many within our county and beyond. 

Congratulations, Ruthie, on your well-deserved award!

View the August 2021 donors.

JUNE 2021

Anika Sayler


17-year old Dickinson, ND resident, Anika Sayler is the June recipient of the Stark County Spirit of Excellence Award. She is a remarkable and humble young lady who epitomizes what this award program represents.

A real hero, Anika performed CPR to save a man's life after a rollover accident. Her bravery and selflessness did not go unnoticed by the Stark County Mayors, as they selected her as June's award recipient out of 34 submitted nominations.

Congratulations, Anika! You will continue to do amazing things. YOU are truly a Spirit of Excellence!

View the June 2021 donors.

APRIL 2021

Jayne Ketterling

We are pleased to announce Jayne Ketterling, a Dickinson, ND resident, as the incredible April recipient of the Stark County Spirit of Excellence Award!

Within two days, she arranged a pre-Christmas food drive in 2020. In less than a week, she was able to collect over 11,000 pounds of food, toiletries, cash, and gift cards just in time for Christmas for the AMEN Food Pantry.

Jayne went above and beyond at the most special time of the year to ensure local families had what they needed for an enjoyable Christmas. Congratulations, Jayne!!

View the April 2021 donors.


Tom Tessier and Jack Schaff

It is with great honor that we announce Jack Schaff and Tom Tessier of Belfield, ND as the first recipients of the Stark County Spirit of Excellence Award.


Jack and Tom's heroic actions led to the rescue of a trapped mother and her baby after a rollover accident. Congratulations, Jack and Tom, on being true Spirits of Excellence!!


View the February 2021 donors.


The Stark County Spirit of Excellence Awards Committee (SCSEAC) values the contributions of all individuals and supports recognition activities. The SCSEAC Awards Program recognizes one outstanding person or group whose performance and actions promote, reinforce, or exemplify the SCSEAC’s mission.


Oversight and Evaluation

  1. The SCSEAC Directors will appoint a SCSEAC Awards Team to evaluate the SCSEAC Awards Program.

  2. The nominations will be provided to the SCSEAC Awards Team in blind format. The SCSEAC Awards Team will review the nominations with all names removed from the nomination form, providing for a fair evaluation process.

  3. The SCSEAC will actively promote nominations of its county-wide award. Methods of solicitation are outlined in the Communication section of the SCSEAC Awards Program.

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To recognize the contributions of an individual or group who has demonstrated Leadership, Customer Service, Innovation, Stewardship, or Good Samaritan/Random Acts of Kindness actions within Stark County, ND.


To be considered for the Stark County Spirit of Excellence Award, an individual or group must make a deliberate, obvious, and valuable contribution through actions, demonstrated by a consistent pattern of behavior, exhibited over time, in one or more of the following service areas:


  • Actively involved in mentorship and development of community members.

  • Led an effective team or organization to achieve results.

  • Actively involved in implementing a new service, evolving an existing service, or leading a business practice through change.

  • Volunteered to take on extra responsibilities.

  • Handled an emergency or unexpected situation in an outstanding manner.

Customer Service

  • Demonstrated a positive attitude, exceptional effort or performance that increased citizen, customer, and/or client satisfaction that benefited the community.

  • Went above and beyond to eliminate barriers for clients by effectively and efficiently communicating, collaborating, and addressing client needs.


  • Developed non-traditional, new ways to do business, marketing, leadership, or other forms of community advancement.

  • Streamlined processes or systems.

  • Developed creative ideas or solutions to problems.



  • Provided selfless service within an organization, business, or community entity.

  • Conducted skillful management that resulted in a successful organization, business, or community entity.

Good Samaritan/Random Acts of Kindness

  • Contributed to a heroic act.

  • Performed a noble act(s) to either help or cheer up a random stranger, for no reason other than to bring joy to another. 

Award Details
Spirit of Excellence Awards are presented quarterly to one recipient or group in one of the five service areas listed above. Presentation of an award is dependent on the Awards Team determining that at least one nomination meets the established criteria.

An individual or group cannot nominate himself/herself as an individual or a group.

Nominations of Individuals or Groups
Any individual or group, whose performance and actions promote, reinforce, or exemplify the SCSEAC’s vision and mission can be nominated for a Stark County Spirit of Excellence Award.


Nomination Process

Stark County Spirit of Excellence Award nominations can be made by anyone and must be submitted on behalf of any member or group from Stark County, North Dakota. Nomination forms are available by emailing and at


The nomination form may be submitted electronically or returned to the SCSEAC Awards Team via the above methods by the identified deadlines. Nominators will be notified of the nomination’s status after the nominations have been reviewed and the award recipient has been selected. Nominees who are not selected to receive a Stark County Spirit of Excellence Award will be considered for up to twelve months, and will be carried over to the following quarterly awards.

Award Team
The Stark County Spirit of Excellence Award Team consists of the Mayors of the Stark County communities of Belfield, Dickinson, Gladstone, Richardton, South Heart, and Taylor.

Award Deadlines

Submit electronically at Submission deadlines for each quarter: February 15, May 15, August 15, and November 15.

Questions and Award Program Details
Review the Awards program details at or at Email questions to or call 701-290-1640.

The Stark County Spirit of Excellence Award is endorsed by the Stark County Commission, the Stark County Association of Deputies, and by all Mayors in Stark County, ND.

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Stark County Spirit of Excellence Award
Stark County Spirit of Excellence Award