January 9, 2013

Donations ring in the New Year

By Lauren Billing
Farmer Staff Writer

As 2012 closes and a new year begins, many turn their hearts and minds to the needs and cares of others. This is certainly true for the Leland Stenehjem Family Foundation, which closed out the year with a number of generous donations.
In the Watford City area, donations were made to the soon-to-open Connie Wold Wellness Center, the First Lutheran Church and the Watford City Boy Scouts.
The latest $12,000 donation to the new wellness center completes the Stenehjem Family Foundation’s pledge of $100,000 to the Benefit Fund for McKenzie County Healthcare Systems (MCHS), according to Kristin Bolken, director of the Benefit Fund for MCHS.
“This gift is the final installation for their ‘Ironman’ gift of $100,000,” says Bolken. “This gift is one of many and we certainly have not forgotten their many contributions over the years.”
The Stenehjem family, along with their foundation, have been long and avid supporters of health care initiatives in McKenzie County, which can be traced back to the first practicing doctor with a clinic in the area, Dr. Peter Omar Conrad (POC) Johnson.  Dr. Johnson helped establish the McKenzie County Hospital in 1952 and was the father of Judy Stenehjem, wife of Leland Stenehjem, for whom the foundation is named.
“The Connie Wold Wellness Center is an important new addition to our community,” says Gretchen Stenehjem, of the Stenehjem Family Foundation. “As our community grows, the need for wellness and physical therapy services is necessary. We know everyone will enjoy using the new wellness center.”
The Connie Wold Wellness Center will include amenities such as a large workout room for both cardio and strength, a walking and running path and a variety of fitness classes and physical therapy. It is designed to meet the needs of everyone from youth to senior citizens and people of all fitness levels.
First Lutheran Church also received $12,500 in building funds from the Stenehjem Family Foundation. As longtime members of the church, the Stenehjems are avid supporters of the church.
“First Lutheran Church is embarking on a new building project to expand the church gathering area,” says Gretchen. “The ability to expand will allow the church to hold larger functions.”
The Watford City Boy Scouts received a $1,112 donation. Scott Luhmen, Scoutmaster, says the funding will go toward enhancing the boys’ Scouting experience by helping cover costs for camp and buying new equipment.
“We really appreciate it,” says Luhmen. “It helps make the experience for the boys and helps us run our organization.”
Currently, the Boy Scouts have just over a dozen members ranging in age from 11 to 17. But the Cub Scouts, ages 7 to 10, have roughly 30 to 40 Scouts. Luhman hopes to see a jump in the number of Scouts that continue through high school.
Donations were also made to the Medora Foundation and the Fargo Boy Scouts, in the amounts of $5,000 and $1,500, respectively.
“We are happy to support these worthwhile organizations,” says Gretchen Stenehjem.
With so much to do in the coming year, these donations will certainly make a difference to a wide range of families and individuals.