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WF trio earn Exchange Club awards

West Fargo Exchange Club member, Larry Lubben, right, presents Frank Lenzmeier with the Civic Excellence Award. Submitted Photo

Frank Lenzmeier has been recognized by the West Fargo Exchange Club as their 2011 Civic Excellence Award winner, and Rhonda Jorgensen and Joey Porter, have been honored respectively as the West Fargo Police Department employee of the year and the West Fargo Fire Department Volunteer Firefighter of the Year.

The presentations, awarded annually to individuals who have made striking contributions in the community going above or beyond excellence in their profession or workplace, were announced during a special luncheon Tuesday, May 17 at the Speedway Event Center in West Fargo.

The ceremony had previously been a part of the West Fargo Area Chamber of Commerce annual breakfast meeting, but with the merger of West Fargo with the Fargo Moorhead Chamber, the event was discontinued so the West Fargo Exchange Club decided they wanted to see it carried forward as a community activity, so they took over the sponsorship and promotion.

Exchange Club member Larry Lubben made the presentation to Lenzmeier and West Fargo Mayor Rich Mattern to Jorgensen and Porter.

Lenzmeier said he was "humbled and honored by the recognition" noting he felt teamwork always plays a big role in any degree of excellence in the community. "I am a firm believer in there are no great men," Lenzmeier stated. "My feeling is that everything is the result of a team effort and that is really what is excellent about our community."

Lenzmeier recalled when he would see his five young sons looking out the window and seeing the fire truck come by, a reference to the early days in the community when the volunteer fire crew would hold door-to-door fundraisers always announced in advance.

"I remember how excited not only my sons were but all of us in community," he said. "Imagine those firemen going down the street to ask for money to protect me and my property - that's excellence in the community to me. It took all of us willing to pitch in. I'm truly honored by the recognition and that I am able to be a part of helping make the community the excellent place it is."

On hand to help him celebrate the occasion were his wife, Darla, his two sons, David and Mark, and Mark's wife, Mary, and his sister and brother-in-law, Kathleen and Bob Creighton. Other family members include: son Tim and wife, Jody, and their four children, who live in Texas; son Jeff, who was killed in a automobile accident, and his daughter, and two grandchildren; Mark and Mary, who live in West Fargo, and have two children; son Mike, who lives in Fargo, and has two children and a grandson; son David and wife Stacy, who live in Moorhead and have four children; and daughter Jerica and husband Joseph Coleman who reside in West Fargo, and have two children.

Lenzmeier was honored for this community endeavors and rightfully so, actively engaged since moving to West Fargo in 1969 from Wahpeton after being transferred by Burlington Northern Railroad.

He served as a West Fargo City Commissioner from 1972 until 1976, involved in realization of the new city hall on 4th Avenue East; helped fight the major flood in 1975; and worked closely with the school, parks and city officials to build the indoor swimming pool at L.E. Berger School.

He also purchased property on 13th Avenue and started building houses, eventually establishing his own successful construction and dirt hauling business, LTI (Lenzmeier Trucking Incorporated), which continues to be operated by two of his sons today, Mark and David. Part of this construction legacy includes the development of Lenzmeier Additions on the west side of the city between Seventh and Thirteenth Avenues.

For the last several years Lenzmeier has devoted time to service on the West Fargo Planning and Zoning Commission, where he currently serves as chairman. He was also a twenty-five year member of Holy Cross Catholic Church where he served on the board and council, until changing his membership to Blessed Sacrament Church.

Lenzmeier has continued to be involved in the West Fargo schools even after his own children graduated, having attended several meetings and just recently serving on the Long Range Facilities Planning Committee for the building bond referendum being voted on as we go to press. He has also been a catalyst in the realization of the senior citizen meal program started this past year at Faith Lutheran Church.

Last year he was honored for his varying community dedication by having a tree planted in his honor near the Veterans Monument on 17th Avenue during the annual Arbor Day observance.

Recognized as West Fargo Police Department Employee of the year Officer Rhonda Jorgensen is a graduate of Mandan High School, Bismarck State College and University of North Dakota - Lake Region, joining the force in April of 1999.

Shortly thereafter, she began advising the Explorers group, a program for high school students interested in law enforcement. During this time she researched and wrote the West Fargo Police Department Citizens Police Academy, which began in the fall of 2000. The popular, informative and fun learning program has been well received growing to include almost 300 citizen participants since its inception.

Jorgenson also teaches Internet safety to both youth and parents in the community; continues to be involved with the DARE program; and recently completed the first ever armed robbery training, presented to local convenience stores and banks.

In 2007 she was honored with distinguished service and life saving awards; in 2010 was the recipient of the Chief's Medal; and currently serves on the executive board of the local Fraternal Order of Police, Red River Valley Lodge.

Jorgensen resides in West Fargo with her husband, Rory.

Porter joined the West Fargo Fire Department in September of 2000, soon achieving firefighter I and firefighter II certification through the N.D. Firefighters Association; and recently earning instructor status for the for the state fire group, enabling him to test other departments in North Dakota.

He is also a certified first aid and CPR instructor; has attended both regional and state fire training sessions; is a member of the "extraction team," a group of 23 firefighters that meet once a month to train specifically with various rescue tools that are used at vehicle accidents; is trained to hazardous materials operation level with the ability to assist with decontamination procedures if a victim should come in contact with a released product; is a member of the fire department rapid intervention team; and currently serves on the board of directors for the West Fargo Fire Department.

Porter will also be attending the Texas A & M flammable liquid and confined space entry class sponsored through Monsanto Seed Corp.

Porter and his wife, Shelly, and twin boys, Kaleb and Tyler, reside in West Fargo. He is employed by Cargill Inc.