Hidden Hometown Heroes


“Heroes get remembered, but legends never die.”
~ Babe Ruth ~

We all remember our childhood sports heroes. While those heroes often get the most recognition, it is the Hidden Hometown Heroes nestled in our own community that make the deepest impact. There are so many making a difference right here in Bismarck. It’s rarely fun or recognized, but these Hidden Hometown Heroes are compelled to give back.

This spring, the Larks, Bismarck Magazine and Scheels identified 25 individuals who have gone above and beyond. We highlighted the dedication of these 25 heroes in the May issue of Bismarck Magazine.

Of those 25, we then asked the public to read each awe inspiring story and select the heroes they felt made the biggest impact. Based on YOUR input, we selected and honored six incredible heroes at the Larks games this past season.

There are so many more hidden heroes in our community. The Larks can’t wait to continue this partnership again as part of Season Three.

“Scheels is honored to partner up with the Larks and Bismarck Magazine on this great community event.  Hidden Hometown Heroes is an opportunity for us to give back to the community in a very unique way, showcasing some of the many people that make the Bismarck/Mandan area so great.  This program aligns perfectly with the Scheels culture. It gives us a platform to say ‘Thank You’ to the special men and women in our community, and also highlights the simple act of kindness and the powerful affect it can have on others.”

~ Tyler Halm
Vice President and Store Manager, Scheels Bismarck

We will be accepting nominations at the end of 2018. Stay tuned for more information! 

Hidden Hometown Hero Nights 2018


Bob Olzweski, Vietnam Veteran 

Bob was born in a little town called Sanger, North Dakota. In April of 1967 Robert entered the Military. He then spent a year in Vietnam. On the morning of March 7th, 1969 Bob’s Army unit started receiving incoming rounds from the enemy. They located the enemy in the mountains.  Bob was shot in the side and wounded in his left leg and portion of his back. When the fire fight was finally over a medic saw blood running down Roberts leg. “Within a week I was patched up and returned to my unit for more combat duty,” explains Bob.


Duane Aman, Bismarck Cancer Center Volunteer Driver

Duane started driving for RSVP in 2011 bringing patients to the Bismarck Cancer Center for their appointments. In 2012 his wife was diagnosed with lymphoma and in 2103 he was diagnosed with colon cancer. He decided to take some time off with all the traveling to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. After his wife’s passing in August of 2015 Duane decided to get back behind the wheel. “I told her I would keep up as long as I could drive others to treatment,” says Duane. On average, he gives 30 rides a month free of charge.

Mark and Mary Meier, Heavens Helpers Soup Cafe

In 2009 Mark felt a calling from the Lord to quit his job and start a café for those less fortunate. Heavens Helpers Soup Café was started from this calling. This is a diner where people can come in, seat themselves for a meal. Volunteers serve these men and women with respect and dignity. The menu includes a couple homemade soups and sandwiches per day. There is a dessert bar with hot coffee served alongside.


Bismarck Fire Department 

These firefighters are every day heroes deservedly celebrated for courageously doing their job. What is not as public and not as headline making is the way Bismarck firefighters are making a difference in our community in ways that have little to do with putting out fires, but are just as impactful. One of Fire Captain Joey Vander Vliet’s favorite ways to get out into our community is through fire safety education. “We like to educate the public on fire safety in many ways,” Vander Vliet explains “Public education in our schools and basic fire safety to keep families protected are just a few of the ways we can make a difference.”

Susan Schwieters, Lillians ​

“I think back to almost 10 years ago and I wonder why did I started Lillians? It wasn’t because I had retail on my radar, was thinking more about hospitality,” says Susan. She started to do little fundraisers also known as “Diva Nights” where she would give back a percentage of sales to the cause. “The events were not raising thousands of dollars but we were gathering a group of women together. Friends of a woman who was sick or if they were making a trip for treatment. The money we would raise in a night wasn’t going to change much but the social healing was a big part of it,” says Susan. “These nights proved that you can gather friends together to say we are behind you, hoping it would give the person courage to wake up the next morning and keep trying.”

Julie Schirado, Furry Friends Rockin’ Rescue

Julie Schriado is the founder of Furry Friends Rockin’ Rescue, a non-profit that focuses on helping animals find a home. This organization is completely volunteer run and was founded to help alleviate animal euthanasia within impounds. Julie’s work started long ago by volunteering at the Central Dakota Humane Society. Julie was shocked at how many of the impounds were full and was shocked by the euthanizing of animals. In 2015 she began the Furry Friends Rockin’ Rescue, and helping animals become fostered and adopted by loving and caring families.