“Service is very much a part of our culture and set of values here in Montana,” said Governor Bullock. “It’s an incredible honor to recognize some of the outstanding citizens who embody the strong spirit of service that runs deep in Montana and who lead by the example for others to follow.”
The ServeMontana Awards are presented annually to outstanding community volunteers and organizations for their service to Montana. Nearly 40 Montana individuals and organizations were nominated by the public this year for the award. Final award recipients were selected by the Montana Commission on Community Service.
First Lady Bullock presented the First Lady School Breakfast Champion Awards to schools that encourage success for all their students through the initiation and continued support of school breakfast programs. Recipients were selected in partnership with the Governor’s Office, Montana No Kid Hungry, and the Montana Office of Public Instruction.
“As the mother of three children and as a parent concerned with all kids in our Montana schools, I am honored to recognize the schools that have demonstrated their commitment to making sure every student is successful in the classroom,” said First Lady Bullock. “By making breakfast part of the school day and more easily accessible, these schools are ensuring that children spend their morning focused on school, rather than counting down the time until lunch.”
ServeMontana Award recipients:
Rita Feller, Billings: Rita has spent decades volunteering in her community. She helped veterans transition to independent living during her time at Independence Hall. Rita spent six years serving as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer finally ‘retiring’ from that program at the tender age of 85. Rita now volunteers her time with the Rainbow House mental health clinic teaching art classes.
Al Goddard, Missoula: Al is a veteran who continues to serve as a Foster Grandparent logging over 18,000 hours of service. Having volunteered with the University of Montana Repertory Theatre, he has brought his experience as a teacher and playwright to mentor students in a theatre arts curriculum.
Isabelle Melton, Helena: In 2015 as a freshman, Isabelle founded the Helena Youth Soccer Association’s Soccer Soles program. She collects new and gently used soccer gear and makes it available for families in need in the Helena area. Hundreds of children have benefitted from the Soccer Soles program.
Doreen Rech, Roundup: In December of 2013, Doreen started the BackPack program in Roundup and has continuously worked with area schools to sustain the program. Doreen implemented a school pantry in 2016. Between the BackPack program and school panty, Doreen serves 50 students each week.
Bryan River, Polson: Bryan manages the Polson Loaves and Fish Pantry. A volunteer himself, he leads a group of over 60 other volunteers who provide food and more to over 350 families in the Polson area each month.
Anaconda Community Intervention: ACI, Inc. encourages the youth of Anaconda to make healthy life choices to avoid drugs and alcohol and engages the entire community to provide positive alternatives for kids. ACI’s activities include the Anaconda Leadership Academy for students, Camp H2O (Healthy Habit Outcomes), Red Ribbon Week and more, to support Anaconda’s youth.
Quilt for Kids, Missoula: Quilts 4 Kids began in 1999 when a small group of women began making quilts for kids in distress. From their humble beginnings in the back of a local quilt shop to now occupying the 3rd floor of Grace United Methodist Church, over a thousand quilts per year are being distributed with the group’s partners that include local hospitals, shelters and group homes as well as the police and fire departments.
First Lady School Breakfast Champion recipients:
Columbus Public Schools, Columbus: Startup of a new school breakfast program.
Kennedy and West Elementary Schools, Butte: Increased participation in an existing school breakfast program.
Rocky Boy Public Schools, Box Elder: Long-standing tradition of excellence in serving school breakfast.
Gallatin Gateway Elementary, Gallatin Gateway: Food Service Staff of the Year.
For additional awardee descriptions and award ceremony photos, visit serve.mt.gov
The 2018 ServeMontana Awards and First Lady School Breakfast Champion Awards are sponsored by Montana’s Credit Unions.