Skoog honored by peers as Exchangeite of the Year
The roles were reversed this year. Jake Lauritsen presented the exchangeite of the year award on behalf of the West Fargo Exchange Club to Kevin Skoog. Last year Skoog performed the same kudos for Lauritsen.
Lauritsen said if anyone was deserving of the 2011 honors it is Skoog who has done much to advance Exchange Club causes. "Where do I begin?" Lauritsen stated. "Kevin sets the bar very high for his fellow exchange club members. He is exactly the type of person every organization hopes to have on their team. He is a great asset to the Exchange Club but more importantly to the community of West Fargo."
Skoog, who is Exchange Club Past President and a present board member, has been associated with the organization for eight years. He has been a resident of West Fargo for 25 years, moving to the community to work at BlueCross BlueShield of ND where he is Manager of Management Information Services (MIS). He and his wife, Lonna, have three adult children - Johanna, Taylor, and Jarrod
Skoog said announcement of the honor was supposed to be a surprise but in his case it really wasn't. Due to scheduling conflicts, he couldn't attend the originally scheduled ceremony date, so when he heard the date to present the award had been changed, he figured that something was up and that the award was going to be presented to himself or someone else that didn't show up.
Skoog said his intention as a member of the West Fargo Exchange Club has always been to volunteer to help others and the community without any recognition, so when he realized he had been selected as the club member of the year, it was an added bonus, leaving him with a "proud" feeling.
Through the years, Skoog's involvement with the club has run deep pitching in wherever needed, in particular the club's national project which focuses on prevention of child abuse. "That purpose alone is quite powerful," Skoog noted. "We're fortunate to have organizations in our community such as the Rape and Abuse Crisis Center, YWCA, Hospice, Salvation Army, North Dakota Heart Gallery, and many others that are there in a time of need."
The club also focuses on Americanism, Youth, and Community Service and over the years, Skoog has been designated to lead the Community Service area, which involves helping coordinate such activities as Meals on Wheels, National Night Out, Senior Recognition, Delivery of Commodities, and ringing the bell for The Salvation Army; as well as coordinating other events, including Book of Golden Deeds, Firefighter of the Year, Law Enforcement Employee of the Year, and the Civic Excellence award.
Skoog noted that the club also does a lot for the school's youth programs sponsoring Student of the Month/Year, purchasing the Real Care Babies, Freedom Shine displays, clothes for Keeping Kids Kozy, snacks for children, helping with the backpack program, and donating to other causes that meet the group's mission. "One of my favorite activities is to hand out flags (Americanism) right before the start of the West Fest parade," Skoog stated. "Seeing the smiling faces when you give a child a flag to wave and hearing their polite "thank you" is worth every step."
Skoog would encourage anyone wishing to join a service organization to consider the West Fargo Exchange Club. "There are many reasons that make the club great. First of all, we take our projects seriously but also we have fun doing them. Over the years I've also gotten to meet and know a lot of great people - that's invaluable. And via our weekly luncheon speakers, I'm more informed on the many and different types of needs that our community faces; and on the other hand, also more informed about all the good things that are happening in the community."
On that note, Skoog said he "would like to take this opportunity and challenge the West Fargo businesses to select and sponsor an employee who they feel would contribute and benefit by being a member of the club. It's a win-win situation."
Present Exchange Club officers are: Chris Heise, president; Larry Weil, president-elect, Jana Samek, vice president; Jake Lauritsen, past president; Chad Rieth, treasurer; and Larry Lubben, secretary also serving as website administrator. Board members are Bernie Dardis, Kevin Skoog, and Chuck Driscoll.
The group meets every Tuesday at noon at the Speedway Event Center, 680 W. Main Ave. Inquiries about the club can be directed to any member. More information is also available on their website at wfexchangeclub.com.