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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.

2019 Grassroots Leadership Award:
Township Officers of Roland Township - Mike Hall & Vern Jacobson
get Grassroots Leadership Award

For the first time the Grassroots Leadership Award has been given to two officers because of their team efforts to secure funding for a paving project at Lake Metigoshe, in Bottineau County.

About 11 miles of road around Lake Metigoshe were originally paved in 1998 and now needed extensive upkeep and repaving at a cost of $2.6 million. Township Officers, Mike Hall and Vern Jacobson worked to convince Bottineau County to pledge $500,000 to the project. At their request, Representative Dick Anderson introduced HB 1322 in the 2017 legislative session which helped clear the way for the Township to bond for the project. Between the county grant and the bonding ability they were able to put together a proposal that could get the needed approval of 60% of affected landowners.


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.

2019 Legislator of the Year:
Senator Gerald Klein named NDTOA Legislator of the Year

Gerald (Jerry) Klein was first elected to the ND Senate in 1997 and through the many sessions since he has been a constant supporter of ND Townships. In recognition of his dedication to rural issues Senator Klein was presented the NDTOA Legislator of the Year Award for 2019.

Senator Klein represents District 14, he is the chair of the Senate Industry, Business and Labor Committee, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and he is the Assistant Majority Leader of the Senate.

He and his wife Bev live in Fessenden where he owned a grocery store for 35 years; they have four children and 10 grandchildren.


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.

2019 President's Award:
Denise Brown receives the NDTOA President’s Award

"For exhibiting the highest standards of dedication, ability and service as an Honorary Township Officer while serving North Dakota Township Government for many years”, Denise Brown, Training Coordinator for the ND Local Technical Assistance Program, was given the North Dakota Township Officers Association’s “President's Award”.

Denise has been a frequent presenter and exhibitor at NDTOA conventions; she takes part in the NDTOA workshops; she does presentations for county association meetings; she organizes and takes part in NDLTAP training sessions for township and county personnel. For her dedicated work providing training opportunities for township officers across the state and all the miles she traveled to deliver that training, she received the award which recognizes the important contributions of someone other than an elected township officer.


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

2019 - Township Officers of Roland Township - Mike Hall & Vern Jacobson
2018 - Nobody Named for the 2018 Grassroots Leadership Award!
2017 - Rodney Johnson Brooklyn Township, Williams County
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

2019 - Senator Gerald Klein, District 14,  Fessenden
2018  Representative Don Vigessa of Cooperstown
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

2019 Denise Brown
2018 Jim Hennessy, Mountrial County
2017 Mark Verke
2016 Willie Huot, Grand Forks 







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Revised: Thursday April 02, 2020