On Sunday, May 2, the Stark County Spirit of Excellence awarded its second ever recipient in recognition of contributions in service as a good Samaritan and random acts of kindness within Stark County.

At the Stark County Social Services building, before an audience of friends, colleagues and family members, Jayne Ketterling was honored in a ceremony directed by Julie Obrigewitsch and Stark County Sheriff Corey Lee.

When Ketterling heard that the Amen Food Pantry was nearly depleted, she sprang into action and within two days had set-up a pre-Christmas food drive asking individuals and businesses to donate for the good cause. In less than a week, Ketterling surpassed even her own expectations by collecting over 11,000 pounds of food, toiletries, cash and gift certificates in time to save Christmas for many families in need.

Born and raised in Dickinson, Ketterling said to her it was never about recognition — it was about helping others in the community she, her husband and children call home. (Photo by Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press)
Born and raised in Dickinson, Ketterling said to her it was never about recognition — it was about helping others in the community she, her husband and children call home. (Photo by Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press)

“She saw a need and addressed that need,” Lee said. “Our community is so fantastic and positive, I’ve never seen anything like it and I’ve been all over the place.”

Newsletter signup for email alerts

The Amen Food pantry said that not only were they surprised by the sheer amount of food Ketterling raised to help serve people in Dickinson, but they were equally impressed and taken aback by the quick turn-around in which she was able to shore up the shortfall present at the pantry with supplemental supplies. Amen Food Pantry has confirmed that they intend to make the food drive that Ketterling started an annual tradition.

“Whenever she finds someone in need, whether it’s a fellow employee or a member of the community, she doesn’t stop until they are more than good,” Obrigewitsch said. “The write up said that she literally performs miracles.”

Ketterling, emotional, spoke after receiving the award and in true spirit of excellence fashion shifted the spotlight from herself to the members of the community and family that helped solve the serious concern in their own community.

Born and raised in Dickinson, Ketterling said, to her it was never about recognition — it was about helping others in the community that she, her husband and children call home.

“Hometown pride. If anyone in our community is in need of something as vital as food and toiletries then that is what I do. This community has helped me my entire life, why shouldn’t I give back when I have the opportunity to,” Ketterling said. “It’s really about who you make connections with. Through our company, friends and family, we’ve been fortunate to make connections with people that we are comfortable to reach out to and knowing that they’ll be there to help.”

Ketterling, emotional, spoke after receiving the award and in true spirit of excellence fashion shifted the spotlight from herself to the members of the community and family that helped solve the serious concern in their own community. (Photo by Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press)
Ketterling, emotional, spoke after receiving the award and in true spirit of excellence fashion shifted the spotlight from herself to the members of the community and family that helped solve the serious concern in their own community. (Photo by Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press)

Ketterling added, “I’m lost for words at being honored here today. This isn’t me, this is the countless people and companies that have helped us. This is the city of Dickinson. This is our family. It’s humbling and honestly this award that I am getting today belongs to so, so many people.”

Obrigewitsch and Lee each spoke to the gathered crowd and explained the detailed selection process that candidates for the award are unknowingly undertaking when submitted by a friend, co-worker, community member or family member. The process involves a blind selection, something Obrigewitsch said helps to bring credence to the award and prevent any favoritism.

The Stark County Spirit of Excellence Award nominators are notified of the nomination’s status after the nominations have been reviewed and the award recipient has been selected by a panel of judges that include the mayors of Belfield, Dickinson, Gladstone, Richardton, South Heart and Taylor — with Lee serving as a tie breaking vote if and when needed.

It was not needed in Ketterling’s nomination.

Ketterling faced tough competition in her nomination as nominees who were not selected to receive the Stark County Spirit of Excellence Award were carried over to the following bi-monthly process, making the pool larger with each selection process.

The brains behind the award, Obrigewitsch, read out loud the nomination and the donated gifts which included a plaque/trophy and an array of donated gifts from local businesses within the area.

Donations from Old Tyme Meat Shoppe; Badlands Big Sticks; Blue 42; Cash Wise; Cory White; Family Fare; Four Seasons Trophies; Maverick’s Saloon; Pepsi of Dickinson; Pizza Ranch; Quality Quick Print; Roughrider Speed Center; Shetler’s Construction; T-Rex Conoco; Wilson McLaughlin 4 N 3 Photos; Winn Construction; Little Town Soy Candle Co.; Written in Frosting; Breaking Eight; Michelle Paulson; I Don’t Know Bar; Pheasant County Golf Course; and the Sit-N-Bull Bar were among those presented to Ketterling.

“I look at the world today and it’s not what it used to be. To make our world better, we have to focus on the smaller things and get them accomplished. It makes you feel good and helps your community,” Ketterling said. “Find something small and go for it!”

The next round of nominations are underway with any individual or group, whose performance and actions promote, reinforce, or exemplify the Stark County Spirit of Excellence Award’s vision and mission can be submitted by anyone and must be submitted on behalf of a resident or group from Stark County, North Dakota.

For more information about the Stark County Spirit of Excellence award, visit starkcountysheriffnd.com/spirit-of-excellence-award.