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December Volunteer of the Month for Brookings


The Helpline Center congratulates Paula Tursam on being named the December 2020 Volunteer of the Month, an area-wide award program sponsored by the Helpline Center and First Bank and Trust.

Paula is involved with many local organizations and loves to serve the community of Brookings in everything she does. For several years, she has been involved with the Bienvenidos Brookings group. As a former teacher, she enjoys working with students. Her passion continues with this program as she helps with English as a Second Language (ESL) classes in both Elkton and Flandreau. She listens to students and works with immigrant families to help them learn the English language. The pandemic has made the group switch gears, but Paula continues to assist students online and is enjoying every minute of it. Another part of this program allows Paula to assist the Brookings Area United Way in coordinating students for the Dental Van Program.

Not only is Paula significantly involved with Bienvenidos Brookings, but she also gives of her time to many other organizations. Paula is a member of Ascension Lutheran Church’s Community Team and has been making phone calls to members since March to check in on them. She is an administrative volunteer for Brookings County Youth Mentoring Program and made many calls and assisted them with other clerical work. Lastly, she is active with Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) and has served on their planning committee to find programs and help line them up for the last 5 years.

Congratulations, Paula, on being our much-deserved December Volunteer of the Month!

For information on volunteer opportunities or the Volunteer of the Month program, please contact Allison Schmitt at or call 211 for more information.


Nominations are now open for the 2019-2020 Volunteer of the Month cycle. If you  have an outstanding volunteer that you’d like to show appreciation to submit a nomination here. 

2020-2021 Volunteers of the Month

August 2020-Kathy Dodd-Brookings Regional Humane Society
September 2020-Food Distribution Volunteers-The Boys & Girls Club of the Northern Plains
October 2020-Jack’s Cupboard Volunteers
November 2020-Richard Gamradt-Brookings Area Habitat for Humanity
December 2020-Paula Tursam-Bienvenidos a Brookings

2019-2020 Volunteers of the Month

June 2019-Alan Cook-Brookings Area Habitat for Humanity
July 2019- Amy Jones– Brookings County Youth Mentoring Program
August 2019-Carol Holm-Sleep in Heavenly Peace
September 2019-Jennifer Erickson & Karla Bedow-Brookings Backpack Project
October 2019 –Tracy Jonas-Brookings Empowerment Project
November 2019 –Shane & Sara Kuehl-Make-A-Wish
December 2019-Jill Lindsay-Johnson-The Salvation Army
January 2020-David Clark-Hope Haven Ministries
February 2020-Bill Alsaker-Boys and Girls Club
April 2020-Volunteer Group-Feeding Brookings
May 2020-Sarah Mae Nelson-Independent Living Choices
June 2020-Doris Knutson-AseraCare Hospice

2018-2019 Volunteers of the Month

June 2018- Ken Ahartz, Brookings Area Habitat for Humanity
August 2018- Ellen Herrboldt, Brookings Area United Way
September 2018- Angie Daly, Brookings First United Methodist Church
October 2018-Penny Crapser, Girl Scouts-Dakota Horizons
November 2018-Vicki Graves, Option 1 
December 2018-Ellie Evanson, LATI Adult Education and Literacy Program
January 2019- Wendy Long, Brooking County Youth Mentoring Program
February 2019-Larry Thomas, Brookings STARS Program
March 2019- Robin Buterbaugh, Boys and Girls Club of the Northern Plains
April 2019-Carla DeBeer, The Neighborhoods at Brookview

2017-2018 Volunteers of the Month

June 2017 – 17 Initial Volunteers, Feeding South Dakota
July 2017 – Lorraine Kracke, Senior Companions
August 2017 – Valero,  Brookings Backpack Program
September 2017 – Pam Siverhus, Brookings Area Habitat for Humanity
October 2017 – Brookings Healthcare Auxiliary,  Brookings Health System
November 2017 – Lynn Darnall,  Boys & Girls Club of Brookings
December 2017 – Evelyn Fee, United Living Community
January 2018 – Kathy Miller, BCYMP
February 2018 – Art Niles,  Volunteer Service Bank
March 2018- Jessie Kuechenmeister, The Neighborhoods
April 2018- Kasi Emmett,  American Red Cross of South Dakota
May 2018- Lisa Husyeva, Children’s Museum of South Dakota

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