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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.

2018 Grassroots Leadership Award:
Nobody Named for the 2018 Grassroots Leadership Award!

Somebody was definitely more qualified, dedicated and served the Township in some outstanding way; but Somebody didn’t get nominated. Perhaps we should have printed the form and reminder earlier and more often, we will try to do better on that. The form will be printed in the summer and fall Grassroots Report; it is now also available on the website.
There is a lot of room on the form to list qualifications, fill in what you can. It doesn’t have to be completely filled in but the more information you can provide the better chance your candidate will have. The nominations have to be in our hands by November 15 each year but the earlier the better.


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:
2018 Representative Don Vigessa Legislator of the Year
The North Dakota Township Officer Association (NDTOA) honored Representative Don Vigessa with the Legislator of the Year award.
“NDTOA appreciates Representative Vigessa’s long history of supporting Townships and his constant concern for rural issues,” said NDTOA executive secretary Larry Syverson.
Vigessa owns and operates, VW Motors of Cooperstown, and represents District 23. Vigessa has served in the House of Representatives since 2003, serving as the Assistant Majority Leader for the last several sessions and is currently the Chairman of the House Appropriations Government Operations Sub Committee.
The award was given at the NDTOA 52nd Annual Convention in December.


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:
2018: Jim Hennessy President’s Award
Jim Hennessy Receives President’s Award for 2018
The President’s Award is given for meritorious service to ND Townships by someone that is not a Township Officer.
Jim Hennessy is a 1987 graduate of NDSU. He began work as the Mountrail County Extension Agent in April of 1993 and in 2014 he created and transferred to the Mountrail County Ag Agency. He continues serving as their agent.
He has always been a “truly a civic minded and a good person” according to Troy Coons, Lowland Township Chairman. Troy continued; ”He is very active in anything for Townships and ag related items and especially youth activities; Jim does a lot with 4H, horsemanship, shooting sports, etc.”
Besides his service to the Townships of Mountrail County he is the secretary of the Ag improvement association and county weed control officer.


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

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

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

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







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Revised: Thursday December 05, 2019