Rotary presents club, community service awards

Honorees included Molly Luther, Eric Haugland, Rhonda Lageson and Sue Tomte.

Park Rapids Rotary Club President Esther Simon (left) presents Rhonda Lageson with the Hewitt Family Youth Service Award on June 29, 2022 for starting and working with Helping Hands, an extension of the Century School PTA. In addition to the award, for a sixth year the Hewitt Family Charitable Trust will donate $2,000 to the child-focused charity of the recipient's choice.
Contributed / LuAnn Hurd-Lof
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The Park Rapids Rotary presented club and community service awards at the club’s annual awards and installation event, June 29 at the home of Teresa and Jeff Segers.

The David R. Konshok Professional Leadership Award went to Molly Luther for her service on the Explore Minnesota Tourism Council. The award recognizes those who go beyond the local community to provide professional leadership in their chosen field. The proprietor of Molly Poppin’s Gourmet Snacks, Luther was appointed by the Governor to serve as retail sales representative to the tourism council.

Eric Haugland received the H.N. Bishop Award. Since 1975, the award has recognized someone who has donated significant personal time and talents to Park Rapids area clubs, organizations and events. Haugland’s volunteer activities included 13 boards, committees and other organizations. His father, the late John Haugland, received the H.N. Bishop Award in 1989.

Rhonda Lageson received the Hewitt Family Youth Service Award for starting Helping Hands, an extension of the Century School PTA that provides children with clothing, shoes, snow pants, boots, winter coats, blankets and other items, and provides snacks and milk to Century Elementary School students. In addition to the award, for a sixth year the Hewitt Family Charitable Trust will donate $2,000 to the child-focused charity of the recipient’s choice.

Sue Tomte was recognized as Rotarian of the Year for a second time, in appreciation for her ongoing commitment to all things Rotary. The award goes to a member who has exhibited outstanding leadership, initiative and achievement for the club during the past year, including attendance, committee work, foundation support, new member sponsorship, etc.


President Esther Simon inducted Brandon Lawrence as the newest member of the club. Lawrence is a retirement plan advisor for Strategic Retirement Partners and works out of his home in Nevis.

Club members recognized for service milestones include Zachary Johnson and Stuart Larson, five years, and Ben Koppelman, 15 years. Honorary member David R. Konshok was unable to attend, but was recognized for his 50 years of service as a member.

Contributors to the Rotary International Foundation who received Paul Harris Plus One pins were Koppelman and Paul Utke. Donors were honored for their contributions to the foundation’s mission to enable Rotarians to advance world understanding, goodwill and peace by improving health, supporting education and alleviating poverty.

Finally, Simon installed Krystal Murphy as president for the 2022-23 club year.

For information about joining Rotary, call Patrick Sullivan at 218-732-0360.

Katie Bloomquist Freitag, one of the Rotary dragon boat co-chairs, said, “Our primary goal was to win back the Civic Cup, which we did, but not without some adversity!”

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