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Grassroots Leadership Award

“Grassroots Award Nomination” form - Click here

In 1987, NDTOA established the Mr. Township Award which was dedicated to the founder of our organization – Hank Weber of Casselton, North Dakota.  The name of the award was later changed to the Grassroots Leadership Award to recognize the many female township officers in our state.

This award was presented to a township officer who, through his or her actions, had served their township, their community and/or their state with exceptional service.

The first recipient was Jim Braaten from Crary, Ramsey County, in 1987. Click here to see all past Mr. Township/Grassroots Leadership Award recipients.

2017 Grassroots Leadership Award:
Rodney Johnson receives Grassroots Government Leadership Award

Rodney Johnson of Epping, ND has served on the Brooklyn Township board for over 40 years, many of those years as clerk and treasurer. He has served the Williams County Township Association as its secretary. He has been a faithful participant at the NDTOA annual conventions for many years. He has been a dedicated Township official for those many years, always an active advocate for townships in North Dakota while participating in meetings at the county and state level. When the oil boom hit western North Dakota, Townships were faced with unique hardships with roads that simply were not built to handle the heavy traffic and maintenance was not possible with existing budgets. Rod worked tirelessly and diligently to ensure that Brooklyn Township got qualified for all possible grants to help them maintain safe and usable roads. He has been an advocate for townships in northwest North Dakota seeking to make sure that funding was allocated to help face the hardships of deteriorating roads with minimal budgets through the peak of the oil activity. Congratulations Rodney and thank you for the many years of service to Brooklyn Township!

2016 Grassroots Leadership Award:
Curtis Hemstad; For 42  years of distinguished service on behalf of Idaho Township in Mountrail county. 


Legislator of the Year Award

Legislative success requires friends in the legislative arena. This award program was established to reward, on an annual basis, one of those legislators who have been of great help to the NDTOA.

These awards are given at the annual meeting awards banquet. Each winner has a chance to be recognized in the presence of as many township officers as are assembled at the annual meeting and convention. The award recipient is given a plaque and are invited to address the NDTOA membership.

The qualifications to receive this award depend on if the legislator has been a repeated sponsor, co-sponsor or defended in committee or on the floor of their house, township endorsed bills.

Senator David O’Connell, a township officer from the Lansford area, was the first award winner. Click here to see all past Legislator of the Year recipients.

Legislator of the Year:
2017 Senator Rich Wardner Legislator of the Year
Senator Rich Wardner of Dickinson was named NDTOA Legislator of the Year for 2017 in recognition and appreciation of his long time support of Townships. Senator Wardner served in the House from 1991 to 1998 and has been in the Senate since 1999; President Pro Tempore of the Senate for the 62nd Session; Senate Majority Leader since the 63rd Session. He is a retired educator with a BS from DSU and a MS from Northern State University. He and his wife Kayleen have two children.

Legislator of the Year:
2016 Senator Terry Wanzek,  District 29, Jamestown - Senator Wanzek serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee.  For recognition of his work to support rural transportation.  Senator Wanzek has been instrumental in securing the state grants that townships have received in past sessions. 


NDTOA President's Award

In 2016, the NDTOA Board of Directors created the President's Award as a way to recognize exemplary contribution by individuals that are not elected officials.  Willie Huot, Grand Forks, was the first award winner. Click here to see all past Presidents Award recipients.

President's Award:
2017: Mark Verke Receives President’s Award
Mark Verke,
Risk Management Specialist with the North Dakota Insurance Reserve Fund, was the recipient of the 2017 NDTOA President’s Award. (Pictured with President Olafson.) The President’s Award is given each year to someone that is not a Township Officer in recognition of outstanding service to Townships. Mark has been an indispensable part of our education program, from the planning of the workshop tour to physically hauling the updated handbooks into the workshops, lining up meeting halls, helping set up our gear, making presentations to the members at workshops and county meetings and answering questions from individual townships. He helps Township Officers do their job right, reduces the risk and keeps premiums down.

2016:  Willie Huot, Grand Forks   For his service and assistance to townships.


Mr. Township / Grassroots Leadership Award recipients
Click on underlined names to view award details

2017 Rodney Johnson of Epping, ND
2016 Curtis Hemstad, Idaho Township, Mountrail County
2015 Victor Thomas, East Fork Township, Benson County.
2014 Kenneth Yantes, Ramsey County State Township Officers Association
2013 Ron Pishtek, Sauter Township, Walsh County
2012 Larry Syverson, Roseville Township, Traill County
2011 Donny Malcomb, Shealy Township, Ward County
2010 Gordon Rugland, Idaho Township, Mountrail County
2009 Melvin Jensen, Osnabrock Township, Cavalier County
2008 Edmund J. and Edward B Gumeringer, Alexander Township, Pierce County
2007 Ralph Menke, Felson Township, Pembina County
2006 Victor Anderson, Benson County
2005 Eugene Kubat, Brocket, Walsh County
2004 Ralph Olson, Maddock, Benson County
2003 Helen Frichie, Benson County
2002 Richard Heuchert, St Thomas, Pembina County
2001 Joel Storsteen, Churches Ferry, Ramsey County
2000 John Steinberger, Renville County
1999 Leo Mock, Braddock, Kidder County
1998 Chuck Thacker, Neche, Pembina County
1997 Roy Werner, Jamestown, Stutsman County
1995 Henning Anderson
1994 Ken Yantes, Starkweather, Ramsey County
1993 Russell Haas, Tolna, Nelson County
1992 Wilfred Jorgenson, Lisbon, Ransom County
1991 Richard Leet, Starkweather, Ramsey County
1990 Nolan Verwest, Finley, Steele County
1989 John Oxton, Hope, Steele County
1988 Leo Gray, Hankinson, Richland County
1987 Jim Braaten, Crary, Ramsey County


North Dakota Legislator of the Year recipients
Click on underlined names to view award details

2017 Senator Rich Wardner of Dickinson
2016 Senator Terry Wanzek, District 29, Jamestown
2015 Senator Jim Dotzenrod, District 26, Wyndmere
2014 Representative Michael Brandenburg, District 28, Edgeley.
Senator Larry J. Robinson, Valley City
2012 Senator Curtis Olafson, Edinburg
2011 Representative David Monson, Osnabrock
2010 Senator Gary Lee, Casselton
2009 Representative Robin Weisz, Hurdsfield
2008 Representative Lee Kaldor, Mayville
2007 Senator Curtis Olafson, Edinburg
2006 Representative Gil Herbel, Grafton
2005 Representative Wesley Belter, Leonard
2004 Senator Dwight Cook, Mandan
2003 Representative Robin Weisz, Hurdsfield
2002 Senator Elroy Lindaas, Mayville
2001 Representative Bruce Eckre, Wahpeton
2000 Senator Jerome Kelsh, Fullerton
1999 Senator Judy Lee, West Fargo
1998 Senator John Andrist, Crosby
1997 Senator David O’Connell, Lansford


President's Award recipients

2017 Mark Verke
2016 Willie Huot, Grand Forks 







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Revised: Saturday March 23, 2019