Dickinson family named Army Guard Family of the Year

News release from the North Dakota National Guard:

A North Dakota National Guard family will be in New Orleans next week to receive national recognition. Sgt. 1st Class Richard Haugen of Dickinson, along with his wife, Tess, and their children — Courtney, Dane and Trey — will be honored as the Army Guard Family of the Year.

The family was nominated for the honor by Haugen’s unit, the 816th Engineer Company. They were named North Dakota’s Army Guard Family of the Year and advanced for potential recognition at the national level, which they will now receive at the National Guard Family Program Volunteer Workshop.

“We have so many great families in the North Dakota National Guard,” said Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, North Dakota adjutant general. “I’m pleased to see one of them receive such a high level of recognition for all of the time and energy they have devoted to improving our organization for Guardsmen and families alike.”

An informational sheet for the workshop describes the Haugen family’s efforts that resulted in the honor: “Although Sgt. 1st Class Haugen’s contributions are too numerous to mention, of note is his participation as a volunteer with other agencies teaching winter survival, first aid and radio operations. Tess continues to recruit and train new Family Readiness Group leaders … The Haugens set the example for Army Guard Family excellence.”

The overall purpose of the National Guard Family Program Volunteer Workshop is to allow Department of Defense leadership, National Guard and state/territory leadership to address and interact with National Guard Family Programs volunteers and to provide the opportunity for the volunteers to exchange ideas and share best practices, as well as to provide training on initiatives and current program policies and practices.

Senior North Dakota National Guard leaders will take part in the training, as will staff from the Guard’s Service Member and Family Support Division. Key volunteers with the Guard’s family programs also will have the opportunity to train there, including Juanita Hertz, of Jamestown, N.D.; Virginia Bachmann, of Horace, N.D.; Maureen Wanner, of Mandan, N.D.; Claudette Job, of Bismarck, N.D.; Karmel Wanzek, of Jamestown; and Connie Sprynczynatyk, of Bismarck.

Volunteers and community members will be able to follow along with the workshop training online through social media updates at www.facebook.com/guardvolunteerworkshop. On Monday, www.facebook.com/TheNationalGuard will feature the speakers’ remarks, photos and comments from the opening session. On Twitter, the hashtag #guardfamily will be used for updates from www.twitter.com/TheNatlGuard and others.