Distinguished Service Awards

2016 winners

Distinguished Service Award, Trustee – Dennis Wollman, Freeman Regional Health Services

Distinguished Service Award winner Dennis Wolman with Freeman Regional Health Services CEO Nick Brander.
Distinguished Service Award winner Dennis Wolman with Freeman Regional Health Services CEO Nick Brander.
Dennis Wollman, who recently retired after serving 34 years on the Freeman Regional Health Services Board of Directors (all but one as chairman), has been instrumental in guiding and facilitating many changes at the facility. Wollman has helped the system consolidate the hospital and the local medical clinics with locations in Freeman, Marion, Menno and Bridgewater, build independent living apartments, physically connect the hospital and clinic, constructed two Alzheimer’s units at the nursing home and guided the hospital in becoming a critical access facility. Most recently, heled the system to adopt electronic medical records for the hospital and nursing home. Wollman has provided capable leadership over the years, though his humility prompts him to credit the entire board of directors for leading the facility in a positive direction.


Distinguished Service Award, Media Personality – Jodi Schwan, Argus Leader
Distinguished Service Award winner Jodi Schwan with Lindsey Meyers, vice president of public relations for Avera Health.
Distinguished Service Award winner Jodi Schwan with Lindsey Meyers, vice president of public relations for Avera Health.
Jodi Schwan, audience analyst for the Argus Leader and editor of the Sioux Falls Business Journal, is a respected journalist who keeps her finger on the pulse of what’s happening in all aspects of the Sioux Falls business community, including the health care industry. Schwan has written on several issues that help people understand local health care. Being in a city that’s home to two major health systems, Jodi handles health care news in a fair and balanced manner and she always remains supportive of growth and innovation.


Distinguished Service Award, State Official – Gov. Dennis Daugaard:
Distinguished Service Award winner Gov. Dennis Daugaard, center, with SDAHO Board of Trustees Chairperson Tim Tracy, left, and SDAHO President/CEO Scott A. Duke, right.
Distinguished Service Award winner Gov. Dennis Daugaard, center, with SDAHO Board of Trustees Chairperson Tim Tracy, left, and SDAHO President/CEO Scott A. Duke, right.
Gov. Dennis Daugaard, elected as South Dakota’s 32nd governor in 2010, has championed many urgent needs for South Dakotans, including workforce shortages, promoting programs to help the disabled, addressing infrastructure needs, teacher pay and reforming the criminal justice system. He is continuing in his efforts to expand Medicaid to the working poor by utilizing dollars that South Dakota has paid to the federal government for decades. South Dakota’s plan is the envy of many states across the union, as it would add more than $57 million to our state’s general fund while expanding our Medicaid program. Daugaard also worked for the Children’s Home Society from 1990 to 2009, and his priorities as a state senator were helping children and the disabled as well as reducing crime.


Distinguished Service Award, State Legislator – Sen. Deb Peters, R-Hartford
Distinguished Service Award winner state Rep. Deb Peters, R-Hartford, center, with Sanford Health Executive Director of Public Policy Tim Rave, left, and Sanford Health Director of Legislative Affairs Nick Kotzea, right.
Distinguished Service Award winner state Rep. Deb Peters, R-Hartford, center, with Sanford Health Executive Director of Public Policy Tim Rave, left, and Sanford Health Director of Legislative Affairs Nick Kotzea, right.
State Sen. Deb Peters, a CPA who has represented District 9 for the past 12 years, is a doctor’s daughter who understands the challenges of health care and has worked tirelessly to promote patient-centered public policy. She grew up attending the family practice medical meetings with her family. Deb harbors an intimate appreciation for the doctor-patient relationship, having managed the books for her father’s small town medical practice for 10 years. Her recent legislative efforts include a bill requiring health insurance parity for certain cancer drugs and a bill to revise the anti-competitive “any willing provider” statute pressed into law by Initiated Measure 17. She has supported health care workforce legislation in rural communities and Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s plan to expand access to care through Medicaid expansion for South Dakota’s working poor.


Distinguished Service Award, Health Care Professional – Mary Schwaegerl, RN, Brookings Health System
Mary Schwaegerl, who has worked in obstetrics at Brookings Health System for 34 years and has served as OB director since October 2009, has led patient-centered change in maternity care practices and advocated for positive breastfeeding policies within her community and state. Schwaegerl’s first priorities include patient safety; evidence-based practices that result in the best health outcomes and birth experience for mothers and babies.
Distinguished Service Award winners Erica Knippling and Mary Schwaegerl.
Distinguished Service Award winners Erica Knippling and Mary Schwaegerl.
Her modest nature and servant leadership style gives the credit for the positive outcomes to the nurses and physicians who provide care, but the positive outcomes would not be possible without Schwaegerl’s leadership and foresight.


Distinguished Service Award, Young Professional – Erica Knippling, Brookings Health System
Erica Knippling, clinical informatics specialist for Brookings Health System, is responsible for the design, implementation, protection and continuing successful operation of computer, information and interfaced technologies. Knippling determines user requirements and performs system analysis, design, programming, testing, implementation and problem resolution with our electronic medical records system, and she also serves on the HIPAA Compliance Team. Knippling has been a member of the South Dakota Chapter of Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (SDHIMSS) for the past four years, serving the chapter’s board as program director from 2014 to 2016 before becoming the organization’s president elect.


Distinguished Service Award, Health Care Hero – Kerri Lutjens, RN, Avera St. Benedict Hospital, Parkston:
Distinguished Service Award winner Kerri Lutjens, center, with Avera St. Benedict Health Center Chief Financial Officer Rita Blasius, left, and CEO Gale Walker, right.
Distinguished Service Award winner Kerri Lutjens, center, with Avera St. Benedict Health Center Chief Financial Officer Rita Blasius, left, and CEO Gale Walker, right.
Kerri Lutjens, a registered nurse at Avera St. Benedict Health Center in Parkston, has shown exemplary dedication and leadership in an outreach program that brings the basics of such healthier lifestyles as healthy eating, immunizations and preventing the spread of sickness to eight Hutterite colonies surrounding Parkston. Avera St. Benedict made the decision to deliver regular medical care to the Hutterite colonies, and Lutjens was a natural for the outreach assignment because she was known and trusted by many residents from earlier work she did on the colonies. She logs an average of 2,100 miles a month making her rounds to the colonies, all within a 60-mile radius of Parkston. Once a month at each colony, she is accompanied by a certified physician assistant specializing in family medicine, who conducts pediatric and adult exams, makes diagnoses and writes prescriptions.


Distinguished Service Award, Health Care Hero – Shirley Redmond, public affairs officer, Sioux Falls VA Health Care System
Distinguished Service Award winner Shirley Redmond, center, with SDAHO President CEO Scott A. Duke, left, and Sioux Falls VA Health System Associate Director Sara Ackert.
Distinguished Service Award winner Shirley Redmond, center, with SDAHO President CEO Scott A. Duke, left, and Sioux Falls VA Health System Associate Director Sara Ackert.
Shirley Redmond, the Sioux Falls VA Health Care System’s public affairs officer since 2005, has the innate ability to empathize with veterans and their families, and she works tirelessly to ensure all veterans are treated with dignity and respect. She approaches her work in an extremely organized fashion and never forgets to follow up on even the routine or trivial details. She has served admirably as coach and mentor to numerous rising leaders across the system and excels at developing relationships by readily sharing her knowledge and experiences related to planning, organizing, staffing, training and leadership. Redmond has served as the Native American Veteran Activities Coordinator and liaison to Native American Veterans, and she chairs the VA blood donor program for Sioux Falls Area Community Blood Bank.


Distinguished Service Award, Post-Acute Care Champion – Cindy Senger, Avera@Home
Avera@Home Vice President of Innovation Cindy Senger receives a SDAHO Distinguished Service Award from Avera@Home CEO Sandra Dieleman, left, and SDAHO President/CEO Scott A. Duke.
Avera@Home Vice President of Innovation Cindy Senger receives a SDAHO Distinguished Service Award from
Avera@Home CEO Sandra Dieleman, left, and SDAHO President/CEO Scott A. Duke.
Cindy Senger, vice president of innovation for Avera@Home, has more than 27 years of leadership experience in the hospital and education fields and has been visionary in thinking of new ways to deliver home- and community-based services. She has helped lead the charge to develop the business model of Avera@Home to bring Avera home health and hospice agencies under one leader and enterprise to strengthen services and expand service areas. Senger has been instrumental in knowing industry best practices and has helped Avera implement real-time INR testing. She has the ability to look at the greater picture and has focused on collaboration and teamwork to bring hospice and home services into people’s minds.


2015

Barbara Everist, Sanford Health (Trustee)
Jerry Oster, News Director at WNAX AM & FM (Media Personality)
Sen. Alan Solano, District 32 (State Legislator)
Margaret B. Hansen, PA-C, MPAS, CMBE, Executive Director of the South Dakota Board of Medical & Osteopathic Examiners (State Official)
Leslie Olesen, Case Manager/RN at Sanford Chamberlain Hospital (Health Care Hero)
Angie Herrick, Performance Improvement Coordinator at Sanford Aberdeen Medical Center (Young Professional)
Jim Iverson, Administrator/CEO of Bethel Lutheran Home (Ken Senger Long Term Care Champion)
Dr. H. Eugene Hoyme, Chief Pediatric Medical Officer for Sanford Children’s Hospital and Chair for the Department of Pediatrics for the Sanford School of Medicine at the University of South Dakota (Health Care Professional)

2014

Tom Dempster, Trustee, Avera McKennan Hospital & UHC and Avera Heart Hospital, Sioux Falls (Trustee)
Dr. Rick Holm, On Call Program SDPT, Brookings (Media Personality)
Tim Rave, Majority Leader, SD State Senate (District 25), Dell Rapids (State Legislator)
Kim Malsam-Rysdon, Senior Advisor to Gov. Dennis Daugaard, Pierre (State Official)
Charles E. Hart, MD, President/CEO, Regional Health, Rapid City (Health Care Professional)
Erica Peterson, CEO, Sanford Chamberlain, Chamberlain (Young Professional)

2013

Jon Walker, Reporter/Editor, Argus Leader, Sioux Falls (Media Personality)
Bernie Hunhoff, State Legislator (District 18), Yankton (State Legislator)
Bob Stahl, Administrator, South Dakota Department of Health Office of Health Care Facilities Licensure & Certification, Pierre (State Official)
Becky Nelson, Senior Vice President/Chief Operating Offier (retired), Sanford Health, Sioux Falls (Health Care Professional)

2012

Herbert A Saloum, MD, Board Member, St. Michael’s Hospital Avera, Tyndall (Trustee)
Corey Brown, State Senator (District 23), Gettysburg (State Legislator)
Rodney R Parry, MD, Dean, USD Sanford School of Medicine, Sioux Falls (State Official)
Patrick J. Clark, Senior Vice President/Chief Financial Officer, Avera Queen of Peace Health Services, Mitchell (Health Care Professional)

2011

Mary Hendricks, Board Member, Sanford Medical Center Chamberlain, Chamberlain (Trustee)
Doneen Hollingsworth, Secretary of Health, South Dakota Department of Health, Pierre (State Official)
Ron L. Jacobson, President/CEO, Avera St. Luke’s Hospital, Aberdeen (Health Care Professional)

2010

Ralph Nachtigal, Platte Health Center Avera, Platte (Trustee)
Pamela J Rezac, President/CEO, Avera Sacred Heart Health Services, Yankton (Health Care Professional)

2009

Sister Lynn Marie Welbig, PBVM, Avera Health, Yankton (Trustee)
Jean Hunhoff, State Senator (District 18), Yankton (State Legislator)
Michael Healy, Vice President of Finance, Avera Sacred Heart Hospital, Yankton (Health Care Professional)

2008

Mark Hunhoff, Trustee, Avera Health and Avera Sacred Heart Health Services, Yankton (Trustee)
Deb Bowman, Secretary, South Dakota Department of Social Services, Pierre (State Official)
Byron Petersen, Vice President, Avera St. Luke’s, Aberdeen (Health Care Professional)

2007

Bill McCleerey, President, Board of Directors, Coteau des Prairies Hospital, Sisseton (Trustee)

2006

Matthew J. Michels, Michels & Associates, Yankton (State Legislator)
James D. M. Russell, Administrator/CEO, St. Mary’s Healthcare Center, Pierre (Health Care Professional)
Wayne Muth, Executive Vice President, Avera Health, Sioux Falls (Health Care Professional)
Sister Mary Kay Panowicz, OSB, Board of Directors, Avera Sacred Heart/Avera Health, Yankton (Trustee)

2005

Lou Sebert, State Representative (District 20), Mitchell (State Legislator)
Charles Fahey, Charles Bailly & Co (Fahey & Toohey), Dubuque IA (Health Care Professional)

2004

Dean Madison, MD, Board of Directors, Sioux Valley Hospitals & Health System, Sioux Falls (Trustee)
Jaine Andrews, KELO-Land TV HealthBeat Reporter, Sioux Falls (Media Personality)
Doneen Hollingsworth, Secretary, South Dakota Department of Health, Pierre (State Official)
David B. Johnson, Administrator/CEO, Brookings Hospital/Brookview Manor, Brookings (Health Care Professional)

2003

Sister Augusta Johnson, Administrator, Prairie Lakes Care Center, Watertown (Health Care Professional)
Lora DeWald, VP of Health Information, Avera Health, Sioux Falls (Health Care Professional)

2002

Viorel G Stoia, Trustee, Avera Health & Avera St. Luke’s (Trustee)
Jim Woster (Media Personality)
Dale Stein, President/CEO, Avera St. Luke’s, Aberdeen (Health Care Professional)

2001

Arnold Brown, State Representative (District 7), Brookings (Legislator)
Joan Bachman, Director of Licensure & Certification, SD Dept of Health (State Official)
Charles Ekstrum, Chairman, Philip Health Services, Philip (Trustee)
Rex Henderson, CRNA, Department of Veterans Affairs, Sioux Falls (Healthcare Professional)

2000

Stephan Schroeder, MD, Hand County Memorial Hospital, Miller (Healthcare Professional)
Jeremiah Murphy, Avera McKennan Hospital & UHC, Sioux Falls (Trustee)
Jim Putnam, State Representative (District 19), Armour (Legislator)

1999

Fred Whiting, State Senator (District 33), Rapid City (Legislator/Trustee Award)
Gale Walker, Administrator/CEO, St. Benedict Health Ctr, Parkston (Healthcare Professional)

1998

Larry Gabriel, former State Representative (District 26), Cottonwood (State Legislator)
Sister Colman Coakley, Former Chairperson, Avera Health, Sioux Falls (Trustee)
Helene Duhamel (Media Service Award)

1997

Jon Soderholm, President, Sioux Valley Hospital, Sioux Falls

1996

Lyle Schroeder, President, Sioux Valley Hospital, Sioux Falls

1995

James Ellenbecker, Secretary of Social Services, South Dakota Dept of Social Services, Pierre

1994

Patricia Biddle, Administrator, Platte Community Memorial Hospital, Platte

1991

Robert Gabrielson, Board Member, Holy Infant Hospital, Hoven

1990

Don A. Bierle, SDHA Legal Counsel, Bierle, Porter & Nelson, Yankton

1989

Thomas Schultz, South Dakota Department of Health (retired)

1988

Warren Kuhler, Administrator, Pioneer Memorial Hospital, Viborg

1987

Theodore Sattler, MD, Yankton Clinic, Yankton

1984

Robert Johnson, Executive Secretary, South Dakota State Medical Association, Sioux Falls

1983

L. Ray Scott, Assistant Director, South Dakota Department of Health, Pierre

1982

Maye Jorgenson, Auxilian, St. Mary’s Hospital, Pierre

1981

Coral Bonnemann, Trustee, Brookings Hospital, Brookings

1980

Frank M. Drew, President, SD Hospital Association, Sioux Falls

1977

Dean Driscoll, Assistant Administrator, St. Luke’s Hospital, Aberdeen

1973

David Rykhus, MHA, Administrator, St. Joseph Hospital, Mitchell

1969

Eugene Jelliffe, Business Manager, St. Johns McNamara, Rapid City

1967

Raymond Wendling, Administrator, Bennett-Clarkson Hospital, Rapid City
Sister M. Sarto Rogers, OSB, Administrator, St. John’s McNamara, Rapid City
Lyle Schroeder, Administrator, Sioux Valley Hospital, Sioux Falls
Sister M. Corita, PBVM, Adm., McKennan Hospital, Sioux Falls

1966

Sister M. Rosario, OSB, Administrator, Sacred Heart Hospital, Yankton