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Regional Health Foundation Presents Philanthropy Awards

Aug 29, 2019 12:59PM ● By Alyssa McGinnis
The Regional Health Foundation presented six awards to groups, companies and individuals for their philanthropic spirit during the recent Regional Health Foundation Gala at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. More than 400 community members attended the banquet, an event that raised more than $117,000 for the John T. Vucurevich Cancer Care Institute.

“There is so much generosity that happens every day in the Black Hills, and The Gala is a great way to highlight those contributions and sincerely thank the companies, organizations and individuals who help Regional Health accomplish so much in our communities,” stated Priscilla Romkema, President of the Regional Health Foundation. “We intend to make The Gala an annual event where we come together to celebrate, recognize and honor.”

The awards and their recipients were:


Youth in Philanthropy Award – South Dakota High School Activities Association. The group of young people raises funds statewide at nearly every high school in nearly every community. Brooks Bowman and Gary Linn of SDHSAA accepted on behalf of the organization.

Regional Health Caregiver Philanthropist Award – Dana Darger, Director of Pharmacy, Rapid City Hospital. Darger has donated to a Regional Health cause for 18 consecutive years. In fact, beginning in 2005 he made a donation back to a charitable fund at Regional Health every time he received a paycheck from Regional Health, resulting in 423 individual donations.

Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser Award – Rapid City Hospital Volunteer Auxiliary. The volunteers donate their time, skills, care and the funds raised in their gift shop and fundraising events. The organization has donated $4 million to assist with programs, projects and specialized equipment to Rapid City Hospital. Manager of Volunteer Services Konnie Sorensen, Auxiliary President Penny Hennager and President Elect Sharon Hasvold accepted on behalf of the organization.

Outstanding Philanthropic Corporation Award – Rapid City Area McDonald’s. For 30 years, this corporation has supported and helped host the Regional Health Foundation’s largest annual outdoor fundraiser, the Great Black Hills Duck Race, allowing this event to collectively raise more than $2.4 million. Wendy Walla, owner and operator of Rapid City Area McDonald’s, accepted on behalf of the company.

Outstanding Philanthropist Award – Jim and Laverne Klinefelter. For many years, the Klinefelters have supported Regional Health charitable funds such as Hospice and the Hospice House, the Cancer Care Institute, the Ed Yelick Memorial Scholarship Fund and Children’s Miracle Network. They are the former operators of the Rapid City McDonald’s, a longtime supporter of the Children’s Miracle Network.

Award of Distinction  – Dr. Mark Harlow. Dr. Harlow serves as a board member of many outreach organizations and has reached out through his medical training on international missions to aid others in need of medical care. He also is establishing the largest combined medical student and nursing scholarship fund ever created at the Regional Health Foundation.