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Exchange Club conveys honors: Lee, Warren, Pralguske earn community awards

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Judy Lee was honored recently by the West Fargo Exchange as the recipient of 2012 Civic Excellence Award, while Greg Warren and David Pralguske were selected respectively as the West Fargo Police Department employee of the year and the West Fargo Fire Department Volunteer Firefighter of the Year.

The annual awards identify individuals who have made contributions in the community, going above or beyond excellence in their professional duties or workplace. They were announced during a special luncheon held in May at the Speedway Event Center.

Exchange Club member Larry Lubben made the presentation to Lee while West Fargo Mayor Rich Mattern commended Warren and Pralguske for their contributions.

A West Fargo resident since 1974, Lee said she was both very surprised and honored to be chosen as the recipient of the Civic Excellence Award. "We are fortunate to live in such a good place. It's been a group effort over many years, beginning with Senator/Mayor Clayton Lodoen and others who had a vision for what West Fargo could be and worked to fulfill that vision. Many dedicated people have worked hard to move West Fargo forward, and I am pleased to be viewed as part of that group."

Lee was born in California, grew up near Grafton, N.D. and graduated from UND with a bachelor's degree in medical technology. She married Duane Lee and they lived in Wahpeton for ten years where she was employed in the local hospital and clinics. They relocated to West Fargo, where she began a 34-year career in the real estate business, also maintaining active status in the West Fargo community, serving on the West Fargo Planning and Zoning Commission for 12 years and at her church with numerous activities and on committees and boards.

In 1994, she was elected to the North Dakota Senate representing District 13. That service has included: Senate Human Services Committee since 1995 and chair since 2001; being elected president pro tempore of the Senate in 2007; and serving as chair of the Health Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures in 2009.

She has also served on the board of several other local groups and has been honored by a variety of associations including the ND Nurse, Bar and Medical; and also being named the YWCA Woman of the Year for Volunteering in 1994.

She and her late husband, Duane, have two children Jon and Maren. Jon and his wife, Billie Jean, live in Plano, Texas, where both are educators. Maren and her husband Joe Matal, and their three children, John, Elizabeth and Margaret, live in Bethesda, Maryland, where they are both attorneys.

Judy noted that she has always been inspired by the actions of her parents who "set a wonderful example of being involved in their community. I learned from them that the rewards of seeing good things happen far outweigh the work involved. 

"We all have busy lives, but I encourage others to make the time to be part of the future of West Fargo, whether it's rebuilding a playground or running for office.  It's definitely worth the effort, and the best part is the friendships that are developed through that work. 

Recognized as West Fargo Police Department Employee of the year Detective Sgt. Greg Warren has been a West Fargo resident since 1966, after moving from Jamestown.

He came from a law enforcement family, his father Harold (Budd) Warren was a U.S. Marshall. Greg started his career at the Cass County Sheriff's Department serving from 1974 to July of 1975 at which time he became a patrol officer with the city of West Fargo. He was promoted to patrol sergeant in 1982 and investigations as a sergeant in 1994, the only investigator at that time. He also supervises two school resource offices, a narcotics officer assigned to the Cass County Drug Task Force and another to the DEA Task Force, as well as the D.A.R.E. officer.

Warren has also been instrumental in creating and planning of the area Child Abduction Response Team, which is nationally certified and recognized.

On a different community side, many also know Warren for his West Fargo Packer football play-by-play expertise for over 30 years with Larry Lubben and Roger Eckert.

Greg and his wife Brenda, who served as both Riverside and West Fargo City Commissioner, have been married since 1976 and are the parents of three children. Tim and wife Jamie live in Fargo with their three children, Brody, Dawson and Aubrey; Melissa lives in north Fargo, is attending Moorhead Technical College in Moorhead, and has three children, Austen, Shaylee and Ashlynn. Katie is attending the Art Institute in Phoenix, Ariz. where she is also currently interning as a photographer with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Honored as volunteer firefighter of the year, David Pralguske had the distinction of being the first chosen for the award who was not an active member at the time, having recently retired after 28 years of service.

He joined the department in 1984, moving his family into a home right across from the fire hall.

During his tenure he served as firefighter, engineer and captain and the last years as assistant chief; achieving firefighter I and II certification; as well as being First Aid and CPR Certified; and serving on the board of directors for the past three years.

He had also attended both regional and state fire training sessions bringing his knowledge back to share with other members to enhance their safety and firefighting skills. His passion for service was evident, especially to his family, with his son, Robert following in his dad's footsteps by serving on the department for the last 11 years.

Pralguske's knowledge in the construction business was helpful in the expansion and remodeling of the main fire station in 1999-2000; and also assisting in the planning and financing of the new Southside station which opened last year.

Pralguske serves as facility manager at DMI in West Fargo. He and his wife, Cheryl, have three grown children.