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Awards


Each year it is the pleasure of Special Olympics South Dakota to recognize our Outstanding Award Winners. These individuals and groups contribute their time, talents and resources in support of SOSD. They are the driving force behind our success.

Special Olympics athletes, coaches, families and volunteers are invited to submit nomination forms for consideration. The Athlete of the Year and the Coach of the Year will be presented their awards at the High School Coaches Association Awards Luncheon held in Aberdeen annually in July. All award winners will be recognized during the State Bowling Tournament banquet.

2018 Awards Nomination Form



Special Olympics South Dakota AwardsAward Categories


The Don Baker Award is the highest award received from Special Olympics South Dakota. It is given in honor of Don Baker who was a volunteer and official starter for Special Olympics events for many years. The award is given annually to an individual, organization, business, or agency that has given outstanding support to Special Olympics South Dakota.


The Athlete of the Year Award is presented to the Special Olympics athlete who has demonstrated the true spirit, courage, sharing and joy of Special Olympics. The Special Olympics athlete must have attended at least one competition during the year. Each nomination is reviewed for individual effort, enthusiasm, sportsmanship and achievement.


The Family of the Year Award is presented to a family which has demonstrated outstanding support and enthusiasm for Special Olympics.


The Outstanding Coach (Ron Stewart Award) is presented to a Special Olympics Coach who demonstrates the highest degree of technical skill and personal commitment needed to motivate and train Special Olympics athletes. Enthusiasm, attendance at competition, and effort put into coaching will be considered.


The Volunteer of the Year (Lyle Farrand Award) is presented to the person who exhibits the best example of voluntary action to improve the quality of Special Olympics at any level. The volunteer should have provided a full year of service. Members of local groups and the State Board of Directors may be nominated. Nominees will be reviewed for time of service, effort, and originality.


The Champion Award (DJ Mertens Award) is presented to any business, organization, or media outlet which has made a major contribution to Special Olympics South Dakota.


The Unity Award
is presented to a Unified Partner, individual or entity that promotes inclusion for people with an intellectual disability.  The nominee should actively promote acceptance and understanding for all.


Past Winners


Athlete of the Year AwardDon Baker Award
Family of the Year Award
Ron Stewart Award
(Coach)
Lyle Farrand Award
(Volunteer)
DJ Mertens Award
(Business, Organization,
Media)

Unity Award








2017
Bruce Weeldreyer
Sioux Falls
Black Hills Harley Davidson
Rapid City
Kjergaard Family
Rowena
Lori Jerred
Vermillion
Shelly Wolfe
Rapid City
First PREMIER/PREMIER Bankcard
Sioux Falls

2016
Rich Riter
Sioux Falls
Myles Kennedy
Spearfish
Eeten Family
Sioux Falls
Brent Steinbach
Spearfish
Michelle Carter
Sioux Falls
SD High School Coaches Association

2015
Mallory Bingham
Aberdeen
Brian Jacobsen
Lake Norden
Mork Family
Greater Sioux Falls Area
Alden & Lillie Pendleton
Rapid City
Misty Farabee
Sioux Falls
Rapid City Cobbler 2 Cobbler

2014
Tanner Stirling
Parkston
Kip Eggebraaten
Sioux Falls
Bradwisch Family
Mitchell
Jennifer Dobney
Vermillion
Jody Grubb
Belle Fourche
Sammons Financial Group
Sioux Falls

2013
Chana Sandoval
Sioux Falls
Jan Putnam
Yankton
Sandoval Family
Sioux Falls
Mike & Cindy Markley
Aberdeen
Charlie Unterbrunner
Artesian
Black Hills State University
Spearfish

2012
Matt Bosch
Aberdeen
Joel Perry
Aberdeen
Heckel Family
Spearfish
Joel Lubovich
Sioux Falls
Salena Engels
Brookings
Beth Lalim
Brookings
Village Bowl
Aberdeen

2011
Kathie Herrera
Vermillion
Barb Sandoval
Sioux Falls
Kuechenmeister Family
Brookings
Cathy Grubb
Belle Fourche
Don Rieck
Spencer
Kiwanis Club
Watertown

2010
Betsy Daniel
Brookings
Taylor VanWell
Watertown
Jim & Doris Hornby
Brookings
Ayres Family
Brookings
Brian Jacobsen
Lake Norden
Jessica Spencer
Brookings
Al Stockman
Rapid City

2009
Natty Clayton
Yankton
Johna Thum
Sioux Falls
Koski Family
Spearfish
Brett Spencer
Brookings
Michele Zahn
Aberdeen
Premier Bank
Spearfish

2008
Dawn Ruhlman
Brookings
Al & Jan Lenz
Huron
Arnold Family
Sioux Falls
Bo Ivers
Brookings
Todd Bradwisch
Sioux Falls
Mickelson MS
Brookings

2007
Matt Jacobsen
Sioux Falls
Melanie Frosch
Sioux Falls
Lee Family
Brookings
Tevan Fischbach
Aberdeen
Peggy Heckel
Spearfish
Brookings Utilities
Huron K of C

2006
Julie Bleeker
Watertown
Laurie Meland
Watertown
Kool Family
Brookings
Missy Hill
Aberdeen
Jessie Kuechenmeister
Brookings
Larry Griep
Watertown
Premier Bank
Watertown
Brookings Daily Register
Michelson MS
Brookings

2005
Robert Catherman
Rapid City
Duane Popham
Watertown
Alickson Family
Belle Fourche
Suzy Gehring
Brookings

June Wipf
Huron
HyVee Brookings
Monogram Club
Brookings

2004
Cassie Migge
Watertown
Steve Jacobson
Sioux Falls
Markley Family
Aberdeen

Dick Birath
Sioux Falls
Premier Bank
Watertown
Megan Dorsch
Sioux Falls
Aberdeen Chamber

2003
Chris Wellnitz
Brookings
Gene Brownell
Aberdeen

Bill Clucas
Rapid City
Holly Jacobs
Sioux Falls


2002
April Cease
Aberdeen
Sandi Ragels
Sioux Falls
Kim Habeck Family
Aberdeen
Jill Christenson
Brookings
Dean Gertsma
Watertown
Coca Cola
Sioux Falls
B93.7 Brookings
KNBN Rapid City
BHSU
Spearfish

2001
Rita Hoffman
Aberdeen
DJ Mertens
Kennebec
Steve Jacobson Family
Sioux Falls
Angie Peterson
Mitchell
Damon de Wit
Sioux Falls
Satum
Sioux Falls
Sertoma
Sioux Falls
B93.7
Brookings

2000
Joann Moffenbier
Aberdeen
Mike Hilbrands
Sioux Falls
Curt Blackburn Family
Brandon
Carol Jacobs
Sioux Falls
Nicki Huggins
Sturgis
Premier Bank
Sertoma
Sioux Falls
B93.7
Brookings
Special Olympics Sioux Falls

1999
Corey Hall
Sioux Falls
Bob Arnold
Sioux Falls
Hight Family
Scotland
Mary Feller
Watertown
Amy Buechler
Warner
ShopKo
Optimists
Watertown
KSFY
Sioux Falls
USD Track

1998
Joel Schultz
Aberdeen
Traci Wickenheiser
Bath
Wolf Migge Family
Watertown
Popeye & Pam Call
Sioux Falls
Virgil Eberly
Rapid City
South Park Lanes
Belle Fourche
FOP/FOP A
Doug Lund
Sioux Falls
NSU

1997
Melissa Heckel
Spearfish
Ron Siebrecht
Redfield
Roy Schull Family
Rapid City
Steve Jacobson
Sioux Falls
Mary Hayes
Brookings
ShopKo
Knights of Columbus
VFW Ladies Auxilliary
Rapid City Journal

1996
Paul Lilly
Vermillion
Ross Dickson
Vermillion
Haider Family
Watertown
Pam Godfrey
Rapid City
Jim Adams
Huron
Kristi Kalb
Hartford
ATC
Aberdeen
Crooks Optimists
KWAT Radio
Watertown
NE Area

1995
Buddy Hurd
Redfield
Dennis Schmitz
Huron
Toby Vanderfeen Family
Watertown
Johna Thum
Aberdeen
Kathi Anderson
Redfield
Two Way Radio
Sioux Falls
Kiwanis
Huron
Public Opinion
Watertown
SDSU Athletics

1994
Kory Quitsch
Redfield
LETR
Shantz Family
Redfield
Deb Schooley
Watertown
Sgt. Bill Egan
Rapid City
SDDC Redfield
Knights of Columbus
Aberdeen
Lawrence Co Cent
Redfield High School

1993
Tim Schellhouse
Sioux Falls
Ron Stewart
Rapid City
Hazelwood Family
Sioux Falls
Lyle Farrand
Sioux Falls
Lynn Shattuck
Sioux Falls
CCHS
Sioux Falls
VFW Ladies Auxilliary
Aberdeen
Mitchell Park & Rec

1992
Ian Mildenberg
Sioux Falls
Dick & Kim Benning
Redfield
Mildenberg Family
Sioux Falls
Holly Moeller
Judy Miller
Beresford
ITI
VFW Ladies Auxiliary
Aberdeen American News
Willow Run
Sioux Falls

1991
Darrel Davis
Robert Gates
Lohrman Family
Aberdeen
Bob Salmi
Aberdeen
Ron Risty
Sioux Falls
Wells Blue Bunny
Knights of Columbus
KABY
Kampeska Lanes

Watertown

1990
Angie Cihak
Huron
USD
Popeye Call Family
Sioux Falls
Lorene Sorlien
Citibank Employees
Alumax Extrusion
Cattle Women
EROS Data Center
SDBBCA

1989
Brenda Schmitt
Rapid City
SD Air National Guard
Jim Lawler Family
Aberdeen
Janet Trefz
Aberdeen
Lt. Col. Jack Majeres
Sioux Falls
Raven Industries
Sioux Falls
American Legion Auxilliary
KSFY
Minnehaha Rec


1988
Nate Thompson
Aberdeen
Lyle Farrand
Sioux Falls
Ed Krempges Family
Yankton
Dick Benning Family
Redfield
Dean Gross
Huron
Don Gullickson
Sioux Falls
Citibank
American Legion Auxilliary
KELO, KKLS

Great Bear
Sioux Falls

1987
Chad Almont
Sioux Falls
Ellsworth Striders
David Darling Family
Watertown
Fred Steffen
Yankton
Dennis Schmitz
Huron
Metz Baking RC
Centerville FFA
KDLT


1986


Wilfred Schmidt Family
Lane
Jean Frederick
Sioux Falls
Sandi Ragels
Sioux Falls
Landstroms
KELOland
Knights of Columbus

Pierre
SDHSCA

1985

New Car Dealer Assoc.
Sioux Falls
Sanford Hrabe Family
Chamberlain
Ron Stewart
Rapid City
Lois Nygard
Sioux Falls
Frontier Airlines
Sioux Falls
KSOO
KSFY
Argus Leader

Sioux Falls
Knights of Columbus
Huron
SDHSCA

1984


Crayton Bouchie Family
Blunt
Bruce Willer
Huron
Connie Ebbersdorger
Vermillion
Coca Cola
Sioux Falls
KSOO
KSFY
Yankton Co. Observer
Kiwanis

Yankton
SDHSCA

1983


Neil Nelson Family
Sioux Falls
Ed Limke
Sioux Falls
Shirley Kucera
Lake Andes

Coca Cola
Sioux Falls
Jack Dellis
KSOO
KELO
Plaintalk

Elks
Sioux Falls
SDHSCA

1982


Ackerman Family
Tupper Family
Harry Michlitsch
Webster
Dr. Charles Spencer
Vermillion
KELO Jacquilyn Lofgen
Sioux Falls
USD Mike Mahon

1981


Wirth Family

Eleanor Offerdahl
Vermillion
KUSD Denny Holtes
Vermillion
Argus Leader Steve Mathies

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