National Awards






Awarded at the 35rd National Fairweather Lodge Conference 


The Barbara Breen* Lodge Member of the Year

* The Late Barbara Breen was an outstanding 25 year Lodge Member


Winner Kelly Hunter



Kelly has been a lodge member since 2004. Each year Kelly speaks at a local High School to tell his story of drug abuse and hospitalizations due to his mental health. He speaks to students about how his life has changed positively since living at the lodge. He also speaks at different events when asked. Kelly is a great peer example and mentor, not only to his lodgemates, but also to others within the community.

Kelly serves as the Med Captain for his house. His lodgemates go to him for support and problem-solving, as they all look up to him. Kelly maintains a busy schedule with work, but active in the community with art classes, skate boarding and playing with his. Kelly upholds the core values of a lodge member.


Kelly also receives a Dr. George W. (Bill) Fairweather Scholarship to the next full National Conference (Conference Registration and accommodations, travel not included).



Nominations included: 

Larry Fraser

Larry is a lifetime member of the Lodge, living with three lodge-mates who have been in the Lodge even longer than he. Larry is a valuable and trusted member of this very solid group. He fulfills all the duties of a good lodge member, relied on by others, and is a good friend to all.

Larry is decisive, compassionate, caring, curious about life, and a hard worker. He makes friends quickly and is a true blue, friend for life kind of guy. He has a contagious sense of humor, and is a good problem solver. On the job, he is punctual and dependable, always doing more than his share of the work.

Matt Menge


Matt Menge has been a lodge member since 2004, always dependable and always carrying his share of the load. Guided by his strong religious faith, Matt serves with gratitude and a smile even when he doesn't feel that great. He has been the Lodge Treasurer for years, and has become the resident chauffeur, using his personal car to take fellow Lodge members to appointments, grocery shopping, and miscellaneous other destinations.

Despite his other commitments, Matt is a prodigious reader, consuming at least 20 pages a day. Matt is very helpful to his co-workers and Lodge members demonstrating genuine concern for each and every one.


Sarah Beitel 

Sarah has been a Lodge member for two years.  She has a very pleasant demeanor and a very hard worker.  She is the person we go to when we have extra work that needs doing or an especially tough task. 

During the past year, Sarah experienced a downward spiral, one so significant that it necessitated staff intervention and close monitoring.  Eventually, after one especially serious episode, staff recommended Sarah’s discharged from the lodge.  But at the subsequent Lodge Meeting, Sarah promised to make the changes steps she needed to make, and we decided not to discharge her. And since that day, Sarah has responded in an exemplary manner.  She has followed through with her promises and more. She has once again become a model Lodge member, and her struggle to overcome adversity sets an example for us all.


Steve Uzelac 

Steve was the first person to join the new lodge -- before we even knew we had a lodge. Steve heard about the tentative plans and signed up (before there were any such procedures) for what was, at that time, a “virtual lodge.” When others followed his lead, Steve organized Saturday morning Lodge meetings for two years before the real Lodge existed. And has been a consistent force every step of the way. He is responsible, accountable, leads by his example, and was loyal to the lodge before there was any thing or person to be loyal to. Our lodge wouldn’t exist if it were not for Steve.

Danny Owen 

has been a lodge member since 2005, and on the CCL Board since 2018, where he participates when he can and always reads the minutes when he cannot make the meeting. In the Lodge, Danny serves as Med Captain, shopper, and bookkeeper. He is a trusted member and communicates well with staff. 

Danny has changed his life around, and become a positive influence for others in the lodge. He a great mentor and supporter of his lodge-mates. Danny communicates effectively and is willing to share his experience with both substance abuse and sobriety. Danny is adaptable. He has had several lodge-mates over the years and he always remains positive, supportive, accepting of everyone, and willing to listen to others even when experiencing his own struggles.  

Kevin O’Brien

Kevin is a helpful and kind person. He shows genuine concern for his lodge mates. He volunteers to help and is so happy to help. His lodge mates all agree. 



The 2019 George W. (Bill) Fairweather Innovation Award



Perham 180 and Hanna Frederick


When the State Hospital closed, rural Ottertail County was left with dislocated folks with various MH and CD issues, and a shortage of services. At the same time, the little town of Perham was experiencing labor shortages, particularly at the local pet food plant. Some of the dislocated folks wanted to work, but most lacked the housing-stability, transportation and social supports necessary to maintain employment.

So a team led by Hanna Frederick stepped up. Hanna knew that the pet food plant owned mobile homes, previously used by migrant workers, and Hannah’s boss had heard about “Fairweather Lodges.” And under Hannah’s leadership, Perham 180 came to life, opening in the fall of 2018. Perham 180 is using both the mobile homes and Fairweather Principles to create new lives for 9 otherwise homeless and unemployed folks, working at the pet food plant, and other jobs around Perham. The program has been so successful that Hannah has negotiated for a second set of mobile homes to serve twice the number of people in Perham, and is considering expansion to other rural counties.



The 2019 Dorothy Berger* Lodge of the Year

* Dorothy Berger was the founder of Tasks Unlimited, in 1969.


Almira Lodge


Almira Lodge has always been very open to giving new people an opportunity to advance their recovery, and this past year, extended this opportunity to several high-risk individuals. Almira Lodge provided increased support and encouragement for each of these individuals, but for a couple, even that was not enough. But the Almira core group continued to do well, and the experience will not deterred Almira from giving others a chance in the future. 

Almira Lodge now has a very good mix of men and women who exemplify what Lodge living is supposed to be like.  Recently, they received a generous donation of flowers from LOWES and planted them not only around their residence, but also other buildings. They made a whole strip of buildings owned by Human Services Center come alive with the color. People ask, who did all this?  Why, the Almira Lodge. Who else?


David Sanders* Lodge Coordinator of the Year


* David Sanders was the Coordinator of the very first Fairweather Lodge, in 1963.



Sarah Kreiser


Hired two years ago, Sarah got her lodge up and running despite significant adversity in the form of impractical county restrictions that prevented essentially anyone from ever being admitted. Sarah persevered and overcame these obstacles - no small achievement. And now that she has Lodge Members, she has also procured employment opportunities for them.

Sarah also helps other would-be Lodge Coordinators get their lodges running, through her faithful participation in Lodge Coordinator call and other assistance. Sarah is enthusiasm on steroids!


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