Since it launched in July of 2015, a one-of-a-kind initiative known as the Community Builder program has been impacting charitable organizations across the R.D. Offutt Company footprint and within its companies, including RDO Equipment Co. and R.D. Offutt Farms.
Funded by the Offutt Family Foundation, Community Builder awards grants to charitable organizations in which R.D. Offutt Company team members are engaged, with the ultimate goal of investing back into the communities where they live and work.
Through the Community Builder program, the Offutt Family Foundation reviews applications and awards grants two to three times per year. In the most recent round of submissions, a total of $17,000 was awarded to two groups: the WDAY Honor Flight and the Strasburg Volunteer Fire Department. Read on to learn more about the May recipients.
WDAY Honor Flight – submitted by Ted Horan, Director of Marketing, RDO Equipment Co.
The WDAY Honor Flight is a certified regional hub of the national Honor Flight Network. Since its inception 10 years ago, the Fargo, ND-based WDAY Honor Flight has been recognizing local World War II and Korean War veterans’ service with trips to Washington D.C. to see war memorials. This year, WDAY is publishing a 10-year commemorative book with photographs and stories from the past decade’s trips, as well as 1,000 biographies of veterans who have participated in the flight.
A longtime supporter of the WDAY Honor Flight, Ted Horan, RDO Equipment Co., submitted the Community Builder application after learning of the committee’s plans to publish and distribute the commemorative book. Upon learning it was selected for a Community Builder grant, Horan was grateful, saying, “This project will honor and serve our veterans by sharing their stories and lifting up the sacrifices they made for our country.”
Tracy Briggs, Editor of the WDAY Honor Flight’s commemorative book further spoke to the significance of the grant’s impact on the project and the community, saying, “Because of the generosity of the Offutt Family Foundation, we get the privilege of sharing these amazing stories with the public, not just now, but for years to come. It’s living history and it means so much to us to preserve it.”
Strasburg Volunteer Fire Department – submitted by Brian Rohrich, R.D. Offutt Farms
In the small community of Strasburg, ND, a team of about 20 volunteer firefighters ensure the best possible emergency service is provided to people who live in, visit, and travel through the area. Not only does Brian Rohrich spend his days working for R.D. Offutt Farms’ Linton, ND operation, he’s a 12-year member of the Strasburg Volunteer Fire Department. Due to circumstances like an aging volunteer base and relocating from the area, the department has lost five volunteers in the past few years. “That, combined with the fact that all volunteers aren’t always able to respond, means calls often aren’t answered by a large group,” Brian explains, making it crucial for the department to find new, more efficient ways to operate.
The majority of calls the department receives are grass fires incidents, which require at least two volunteers per rig to respond. Recently, the team discovered Monitor Nozzles – devices that take the formerly two-man operation of grass fire rigs down to one. Brian submitted the Community Builder application to purchase Monitor Nozzles and was pleased to find out his request would be fulfilled.
Jon Gilley, Regional Farm Manager for R.D. Offutt Farms, says not only is the department is deserving of the grant, the community will benefit greatly. And he understands all too well the need for Strasburg’s Volunteer Fire Department. In 2016, R.D. Offutt Farms’ Linton Farm received assistance from the department when one of its potato storage buildings caught fire.
“The Strasburg Volunteer Fire Department was well-represented by employees at the Linton Farm and responded to the fire that burned out the control room at the Hansen Rice potato storage,” he said. “If the volunteers, including Brian, hadn’t been onsite, it could have been a lot worse.”
The Community Builder program is open to all team members of R.D. Offutt Company, parent company to RDO Equipment Co. and R.D. Offutt Farms.