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Lauritsen honored as Exchangeite of the Year

Jake Lauritsen, right, is shown receiving the Exchangite of the Year Award from Kevin Skoog.

The West Fargo Exchange Club recently celebrated their past year of success that included recognizing their annual Exchangite of the Year - member Jake Lauritsen who is the incoming club president.

Lauritsen said he was surprised by the honor, describing the acknowledgement as "an absolute privilege as one of 77 members doing what we do to help make a difference."

A lifelong resident of the West Fargo community and a 1995 graduate of West Fargo High School, Lauritsen has been a member of the West Fargo Exchange Club for eight years.

The West Fargo Exchange Club was organized in 1973, and is linked to a national organization that emphasizes Americanism, youth, and community service while offering an opportunity for fellowship and informative programs on the community level, with a mission statement of making the community a better place to live through their programs of service.

Among the community service programs adopted and implemented by the West Fargo Exchange Club under a variety of categories are: Americanism - One Nation Under God, Proudly We Hail; and the Freedom Shrine; Community Service - Book of Golden Deeds, Community Service Grants, National Day of Service, Meals on Wheels, and the Salvation Army Kettle Campaign; Youth - Student of the Month and Student of the Year, ACE Award, School Grants, Dollars for Scholars, Close-Up Program, and Girls/Boys State; Child Abuse Prevention - Kids Care ID Kits, Real Care Babies - High School, Shaken Baby Prevention, Care Kits for RACC, Keeping Kids Cozy, and School Snacks for Children.

Lauritsen said it is an organization and association he savors thanks to club member commitment to this vast variety of causes that assist and educate all segments of the community. "This is a group of people who recognize a purpose greater than themselves and make it a part of their ordinary day to make a difference and give back."

As an Exchange Club member, Lauritsen has devoted his efforts to raising funds for improving the lifestyles of under-privileged children in the community, and he takes great satisfaction in "seeing the impact we've made as a club in the eyes of those we've served. I can't say enough about our club and its members.  We have community leaders, business owners, stay-at-home parents, and retired men and women all coming together for one single purpose, keeping West Fargo as the best city to live and raise a family."

Lauritsen serves as Financial Advisor for Lauritsen and Associates, a business founded by his father, Louie, who continues to work alongside Jake in the company.

Lauritsen's wife, Stephanie, also works with her husband at the company, and was in attendance for the awards presentation. They are the parents of two children, JJ, 5, and Reagan, 2.

President Kevin Skoog presented the award and also provided a recap of total donations and projects in the categories of Youth, Americanism, Community Service, and Child Abuse Prevention. Overall for the years, 67 projects were completed for the benefit of West Fargo and its youth, with Skoog also recognizing all committee chairpersons and project leaders.

Present Exhange Club officers are: Lauritsen, president; Chris Heise, president-elect, Larry Weil, vice president; Kevin Skoog, past president; Chad Rieth, treasurer; and Larry Lubben, secretary and website administrator. Board members are Bernie Dardis, Kevin Kragnes, and Jana Samek.

The group meets every Tuesday at noon at the West Fargo Legends Event Center. Inquiries about the club can be directed to any member. More information is available on their website at