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Western Edge Volunteer of the Year

Kathy Kohler believes in giving back to the community, whether it's helping with a fundraiser, or working behind the scenes at a ballgame. She's best recognized as the scorekeeper for volleyball games and basketball games at Dickinson State Unive...

Kathy Kohler -- Volunteer of the Year.
Kathy Kohler -- Volunteer of the Year.

Kathy Kohler believes in giving back to the community, whether it's helping with a fundraiser, or working behind the scenes at a ballgame.

She's best recognized as the scorekeeper for volleyball games and basketball games at Dickinson State University.

"I love it, it's my passion, it's my go to instead of going to a bar," Kathy said from Kohler Communications where she works as office manager.

She was recently recognized for her service to the community by being named Volunteer of the Year by the Best of the Western Edge promotion. Facilitated by The Dickinson Press, the program honors businesses and citizens in the community. Votes were cast online by the public

"I knew I was voting for my father-in-law (Bill Kohler) as Citizen of the Year, but I had no idea my name was submitted too, she said.

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Kathy was inspired to a lifetime of volunteer service by her dad, Milo Dullum, who was a longtime athletic director for Dickinson Public Schools.

"My mom died when I was young and my father always volunteered," she said. "He made certain the gyms were open for the kids to go on Saturdays and Sundays. He volunteered for the Rotary Club and Park District."

Of all the sports, her favorites are volleyball and baseball.

"We never had a volleyball team while I was in high school. Dad started bringing women's teams into the schools- he was a big proponent for that. My dad built the practice field by the high school. He watered it every night, and the same at the Hagen field when they didn't have underground sprinklers. I'd go with him every now and then as a kid."

Describing her dad as her role model, Kohler added, "I guess I started volunteering because I feel you need to do something for the community."

Sure, volunteering takes time. As her husband Dennis Kohler said, "She'd give up cleaning the house to do something for somebody else. She's very sports-minded."

"The house will be there when I go home," she said. "A lot of times, either Dennis is cooking or we'll stop and pick something up."

Kathy may be paid for scorekeeping, but Dennis said, "She'd get a check in the mail and turn around and give it back to the athletic department."

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When their son, Dustin played baseball, she served on the booster boards of Dickinson Baseball and Mustang baseball programs..She helped with anything that needed doing. Today. She supports the Big Sticks baseball team by cheering from the stands.

Kathy credits Dave Moody, a previous volleyball coach, for asking if she knew how to keep score. Yes, she'd kept score at the high school for her dad. Then Roger Ternes suggested she keep the basketball scores as well.

Sitting at the main table on the floor, Kathy said she has the best seat in the house.

"It's an adrenaline rush, it's fun, you get right down on the floor. You're not talking with friends because you need to see the action," he said.

But if indoor sports weren't enough, Kathy also helps out the football team where she can be seen moving the chains for the DHS games.

"We have a good time down there, and we get the best seats," she said.

Reflecting on the title as Volunteer of the Year, Kathy added, "If it's a passion or something that's important to you, get involved," she said. "Make your community better. We can only do it one person at a time, one step at a time. I enjoy being with people, I enjoy talking to people All it costs is your time."

Best Citizen

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Kathy's father-in-law Bill Kohler, better known around town as "Two-Dollar Bill," was surprised to learn that he had been named "Citizen of the Year" in this year's highly popular Best of the Western Edge contest. Yet it's all too clear why he did win, speaking with a man who truly loves his community.

"I like people, I really like people, I like to be good to people and I do go a little bit out of my way to be nice to people and really the thing that makes people good people is that they don't worry about themselves, they care about others no matter what the end result is," Kohler said. "If they care about the other people-and they should really be sincere about it, so the end result is a genuine goodness."

Kohler has an unusual hobby-he purchases $2 bill notes and has, for the past seven years, delighted area children and locals by handing them out as he goes about his day, spending his retirement years enjoying the social atmosphere of church groups, the Dickinson Public Library and area restaurants.

"I just go to places where people are ... the library is a good place to go and see people, they're nice to me," Kohler said. "We have so many good social people in Dickinson, with church group and colleges and high schools, they're home to sports and things that contribute to happiness and that just makes a good community."

Kohler goes to the bank directly and purchases $2 bills in bulk-the last group he purchased was about 300 of the bills, which are brand new and still in their order of production.

"Frequently they are in $100, $200 packs and they are in sequential order," Kohler said. "Sometimes it's very interesting to give a family of maybe three or four children the ... question of who gets the highest ranking numbers."

Kohler is a Korean War veteran and recalls being on the front line the day the ceasefire was called.

"I was on the front line when the peace was signed, the night that war was over ... that morning we saw the Chinese enemy walking in front of us," Kohler recalled. "They knew we weren't going to shoot at 'em ... so that's a thing I'll never forget."

Now officially Citizen of the Year, Kohler said he'll continue to pass out the $2 bills as long as he can.

"I'm going to keep doing it as long as I can afford it," he said.

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