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Grassroots Leadership Award Legislator of the Year Award | Meritorious Award | Presidents Award |

Meritorious Award

In 2020 the NDTOA Board of Directors established the Meritorious Service Award to be given by the Board of Directors, at their discretion, to a current or former elected township official that has served their constituents in exemplary fashion.

At the 54th Annual Meeting December 7, 2020, the NDTOA Board of Directors bestowed the first ever Meritorious Service Award upon Ralph Olson in recognition of his many years of service to his township and NDTOA.  Click here to see all past Meritorious Award Recipients

Click here for a list of Meritorious Award Recipients

2021 NDTOA Meritorious Service Award
Presented to



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.

Click here for a list of Grassroots Leadership Recipients

2021 Grassroots Leadership Award:

Marvin Heller from Berthold Township in Ward County has served his Township for many years, for more than 20 years serving as its chairman. He has always performed above and beyond his duties working on road and sign maintenance, weed control and roadside mowing.

During and after the 2011 flood he was instrumental in securing FEMA relief for all the damages to roads and culverts that Berthold Township suffered. Taking pictures and doing the necessary paperwork to insure reimbursement for the expenses.

Congratulations, Marvin and thank you for a job well done!

Marvin Heller


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.

Click here for Legislator of the Year Recipients

2021 Legislator of the Year:
Representative Dave Nehring named NDTOA Legislator of the Year for 2021.

In his first session in the legislature, Representative Nehring hit the ground running. He introduced or co-sponsored several bills to the benefit of grassroots government and rural citizens in general. He was also instrumental in NDTOA efforts to support or oppose several other bills that would affect townships.

Representative Nehring serves District 8 which includes parts of Burleigh and Mclean Counties. He is on the Industry, Business, and Labor Committee as well as the Political Subdivisions Committee.

He has a long history of service: ND Game and Fish Advisory Board; Burleigh County Weed Board; Former Director, ND EMS Association; Former City Council, Bowbells ND; Former Supervisor, Apple Creek Township; Chapter Chair, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation; Habitat Committee Chair, Pheasants Forever.

Originally from Bowbells ND, he and his wife Jeri have two children.

Representative Dave Nehring


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.

Click here for President's Award Recipients

2021 President's Award:
Julie Ellingson receives the NDTOA President’s Award for 2021.

The NDTOA President’s Award may be given to someone that is not a Township Officer but has contributed in some outstanding way to the goals of NDTOA. This year the award went, very deservingly, to Julie Ellingson of St. Anthony. Julie was at the core of a group of associations that supported the drive for township road funding in the 67th legislative session. Her artwork creating an 8.5 by 11-inch glossy handout for each member of the House of Representatives was very impressive and likely secured several votes. Julie is the Executive Vice President of the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association.

Julie Ellingson


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

2021 - Marvin Heller - Grassroots Leadership award
2020Nobody Named for the 2020 Grassroots Leadership Award!
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

2021 - Representative Dave Nehring named NDTOA Legislator of the Year for 2021
2020 - Representative Chet Pollert named NDTOA Legislator of the Year for 2020
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

2021 Julie Ellingson receives the NDTOA President’s Award for 2021.

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

Meritorious Award recipients

2020 Ralph Olson




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Revised: Tuesday August 09, 2022