Not all heroes wear capes! There are certain people in your community who help make it a better place. The Bismarck Larks have teamed up with Scheel’s and Bismarck Magazine to recognize these heroes in our community who have gone above and beyond for the people around them. See below the seven Hometown Hero winners who help make the Bismarck community a better place!
Hidden Hometown Hero Winners!
Dewey Reinert: This Hidden Hometown Hero was nominated by three different people all expressing how exceptional Dewey Reinert is. A mailman for 25 years, Dewey has been walking his 13-mile Highland Acres route for 13 years. “I love it because I get to be out and see people,” Dewey said, “and because I love exercising. For me it’s the perfect job.”
Dewey is always thinking ahead about the needs of his customers: “I always have stamps on hand, so people know they can buy from me. Or sometimes there are elderly people who forget to put a stamp on their envelope, so I’ll just add one on there myself. It’s just nice that I can make a little bit of a positive difference that way.”
To read more about Dewey click here.
Marvin Sadowsky: Marvin Sadowsky has been a mail carrier for 25 years and has handled city route six through downtown Bismarck for approximately seven years. Marvin’s ever cheerful attitude and positivity make him a favorite among the people and businesses he serves.
The relationships formed, and the services he can provide as a mail carrier are what is most important to Marvin. “I’ve raised my hand three times in my life and made an oath. First one was when I enlisted in the service. The second one was when I re-enlisted in the service, and the third one I joined the Post Office,” said Marvin. “Those oaths and little sayings mean something to us. Our department that we work in is customer service/delivery. Well, we believe in the customer service part of it. Big time.”
To read more about Marvin click here.
Alison Smith: With incredible love and wisdom, Alison has created a sanctuary called Kitty City for the cats in her care. During the summer, the cats can roam free in an enclosed area outside where they can bask in the sun and enjoy the openness of the prairie. In cold months, the cats stay in a converted mobile home where they are separated into groups who are friendly with each other, such as blind cats with other blind cats.
Alison saw a need for a place like Kitty City. “It’s like a calling for me,” Alison said. “I feel very honored and privileged that I would be at a point in my life where I can actually answer that calling.”
Alison has a love for animals that comes across in the cats she cares for; even the most feral cats will usually respond to her soothing voice and touch. Thanks to Alison, many animals who would otherwise be abandoned now have a permanent, safe, and comfortable home to live in.
To read more about Alison click here.
Lindsey Solberg Herbel: If you’ve watched any of Governor Doug Burgum’s COVID-19 press conferences, you probably noticed Lindsey Solberg Herbel standing to the left of the governor, translating his words into sign language. Lindsey works for the Bismarck office for the North Dakota School for the Deaf, where she uses her talents to help many people. Her position in the spotlight has raised the level of awareness for the deaf community.
When asked how she feels about being up there on stage next to Governor Burgum, interpreting for the deaf, Lindsey responded, “I’m glad I could be there and that interpreters could be included for the first time, and if anything comes of it, I hope people will start learning sign language because there are deaf members in our community, so let’s promote inclusion.”
To read more about Lindsey click here.
Mandy Gill: Mandy Gill’s way of sharing love amid the Covid-19 Pandemic and the unprecedented time of social distancing has taken the internet by storm. The social media movement #aworldofhearts was started by the Bismarck native.
Mandy saw a post from someone in Canada on Facebook who was making and sharing hearts from her windows on the page Hearts of PG. Mandy created a Facebook page of her own and invited some friends and family to participate. At the time she went to bed, there were eight people in her group. When she got up the next morning, there were 1,300. At the time this article was written, Mandy’s Facebook group had almost 500,000 members.
To read more about Mindy click here.
Jana Maher aka Miss Sparkles: Every weekday at 9:30 am, Jana Maher sits down in front of a camera to livestream her story time that would normally happen eight times a week at the Bismarck Public Library. These livestreams have received an amazing response, with her videos generating views from 500 to just under
1,000. “It’s funny because I’m not a tech person whatsoever,” Jana admitted, laughing. “I don’t even have Wi-Fi in my house.”
The passion Jana has for sharing stories and connecting with children through them draws crowds throughout the year. On average, 50-60 people are present for her regular story times. Sometimes, so many attend that they have to be turned away because only 100 people can fit inside the story room. “I want to make story time a fun, comforting place that families can come to,” Jana said, and she has done just that. Her kindness and charm have made the Bismarck community a more loving and joyful place.
To read more about Miss Sparkles click here.
Savannah Sargent: Times of hardship bring into focus the best of our community. Savannah Sargent is one of the many selfless healthcare workers who are directly combating the current coronavirus pandemic.
Savannah has been a nurse since 2009 and has worked in the ICU for two years. Now, she is using her talents to serve the sick in the coronavirus intensive care unit. Savannah has been brave in the face of uncertainty, and her unselfishness is inspiring. A wife and mother of four young children, she deals with the risk of exposing her loved ones to the
coronavirus every day.
Even before the coronavirus, Savannah put others before herself. Her passion for the people she serves is unwavering and a testament to her strength. Working in the ICU has its ups and its downs, but for Savannah, it’s the victories that keep her going, “In the ICU we don’t get to see a lot of the outcomes necessarily, the positive ones… so it’s nice when you get to see some of the success stories come back.”
To read more about Savannah click here.
2020 Hidden Hometown Hero Nominees
Greg Carr: Crisis Care Chaplaincy is composed of thirteen volunteer chaplains and one head chaplain, Greg Carr. These chaplains have the remarkable job of helping care for the emotional and spiritual needs of Bismarck/Mandan’s first responders, law enforcement, fire fighters, EMS, correctional officers, and inmates.
Greg, our Hidden Hero, trains the volunteer chaplains at Crisis Care Chaplaincy and coordinates between them and the departments they serve. He connects the chaplains to a department to serve and checks in with the many departments they help to see if the department’s needs are being met. Ever humble, Greg wanted it to be clear that all the credit should not go to him: “I was nominated for this, but I am not the backbone of the chaplaincy. The backbone is our thirteen volunteers.”
To read more about Greg click here.
Jason Mittlestadt: Jason Mittlestadt is the Chairman of the Mandan Rodeo Committee that puts this patriotic event on every year. The 2020 rodeo will be Jason’s final time as chairman, a position he has volunteered for the past three years. The role of chairman is a completely volunteer position that requires planning for the entire year leading up to the rodeo.
Jason has faced many challenges while holding this position, but his unwavering dedication to the rodeo, exemplary attitude, and exceptional leadership qualities has made the Mandan Rodeo thrive, which in turn has provided a quality, family-friendly event for the community.
To read more about Jason click here.
Jim Barnhardt: Jim serves as the board chairman for The Banquet where meals are offered four times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Despite the coronavirus, The Banquet is continuing to serve meals; however, they have shifted over to serving to-go meals only. Jim has also been instrumental in starting a Dream Center in Bismarck. “The idea is to take those low-income people to a little bit better place in life,” explained Jim.
A Dream Center was approved for Bismarck in May 2019, and by the next month, the ball was rolling. The Adopt-A-Block Food Truck program was implemented, a crucial part of the Dream Center. Jim collects grocery donations from Cash Wise, Dan’s, Natural Grocers, and Great Plains Food Bank, drives the truck to a designated area five days a week, and distributes the groceries along with a team of volunteers.
To read more Jim click here.
Kathy Howe: Considering the Covid-19 pandemic, Kathy has found a way to support her community. Inspired by a fabric face mask sent to her by her sister, Kathy began making masks and donating them to people or organizations who had a pressing need for them. “When I see something, I like to try it, and then it just blossoms from there,” Kathy explains.
Kathy has also begun baking homemade buns for her neighbors and having her grandchildren set them by their doors and then ding-dong ditch, brightening their neighbor’s day during these times of social distancing. “It’s just something I enjoy doing,” Kathy explains. “I love to bake, and my husband tells me not to bake so much, so I kind of just started giving it away and that’s what I’ve been doing for years.”
To read more about Kathy click here.
Kendall Bergrud: Teaching was something Kendall always knew he wanted to do. “Since I was little, my dream was to be a teacher. I just wanted to make a difference in the lives of kids,” Kendall explained.
Now, in these chaotic times, he has become a shining example of how teachers are adapting to the challenges of distance learning. Kendall meets with his students every day on Zoom to go over their assignments, making sure each student gets a chance to speak. When the students picked up their Chromebooks from the school for online learning, each one of Kendall’s 23 students found a personal note from him encouraging them. He has also made Facebook Live videos expressing how much he misses them and telling them to be kind.
To read more about Kendall click here.
Lisa Bean: Lisa Bean has been a paramedic for 24 years, an EMT for 29. To Lisa, saving lives is more than simply a job. “I don’t think of it really as a job. It’s more of a passion, and I guess it’s kind of what I was made to do,” she said. “I used to watch Rescue 911 back in the day, and I’ll never forget it. I sat up on my couch one day, and I said I know what I want to do for the rest of my life, and I joined my volunteer rescue squad. That was ’91.”
Paramedics have the complicated job of working directly with those with symptoms of the virus, while simultaneously avoiding further transmission of the disease to themselves or others. Thankfully, Lisa and other paramedics are committed to their service and are willing to go above and beyond in their work in these hard times. Lisa says she doesn’t need the thanks. To her, just being able to make a difference is enough. “Not every day is good,” she explained, “but it’s so fulfilling knowing that you can help somebody on their worst days.”
To read more about Lisa click here.
Pat Brunelle: Pat has worked as a pharmacist since 1992 and has worked hard over the years to provide customers with the best service possible. Now, in the midst of a global pandemic, Pat has more than risen to the occasion.
Humbly, Pat explained how he is working to help others, “I don’t know that I go above and beyond more than any other pharmacist would, especially in this time. You are dealing with a lot of frustration on the customer’s part. A lot of customers are scared. There’s a lot unknown. So, you just maintain that relationship with the customer, and try to put them at ease. I feel pharmacists have enough knowledge to be able to reassure a patient that their medications are going to be available. We’re going to work with insurances for you, especially in this time, when people want to get early re-fills, things like that. Going above and beyond basically just means we’ll make that extra call to the insurance company, we’ll make that extra call to the doctor, and just have that reassuring tone with them.”
To read more about Pat click here.
Rhonda Styles-Rohde: Rhonda Styles-Rohde is the Director of Marketing and Communications for Charles Hall Youth and Family Services, a residential foster care program for children ages 10-19.
Rhonda is also the board director for Arts for All, a program that offers free classes in visual arts, music, dance, and writing for at risk children and adults. She also teaches some of the classes. Rhonda is a committee member for the Mercy Box, as well. This organization collects donations for a new non-profit each month. Additionally, Rhonda is the treasurer and former president for Bis-Man Stilettos, a group of female business professionals who do service projects for other non-profits.
A truly selfless person, Rhonda has poured time and effort into a variety of charitable causes in our community. To quote the person who nominated her, “To say Rhonda has made an impact is an understatement. She is a giving person who makes a difference in countless people’s lives on a daily basis.”
To read more about Rhonda click here.
Todd Mitchell: Many people in our community are striving to do good, probably many more than we realize. Among them is Todd Mitchell who is using his platform of iHeartMedia- KFYR 550 to help get the word out about non-profits and organizations in need who would otherwise not have a platform to speak.
Todd has been working in radio for 48 years now. “I started when I was a little embryo, I wasn’t born yet. Mom swallowed a microphone,” Todd jokes. Todd started at KFYR 550 in 1997 and is now the Senior VP of Programming for iHeartMedia in Bismarck-Mandan. Radio is a great way to spread awareness and Todd uses this opportunity to make the world a better place. “I’m just trying to help people,” Todd explains. “I think we’re all put on earth to help somehow. Some of us know how in the world we’re supposed to do that, and some don’t. I’m one of the fortunate ones that has an idea of what maybe I can do to help.”
To read more about Todd click here.