Retired SDSU professor selected Spirit of Dakota winner

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HURON — Julie Bell, of Brookings, was named the 37th winner of the Spirit of Dakota award Saturday night at the awards banquet Saturday night at the Huron Event Center. She was selected by a committee of women from throughout South Dakota.

Saturday night’s awards presentation wrapped up a weekend of activities including a tea for all the nominees, an art show and a social prior to the banquet

With the announcement, Bell joins a long list of previous winners of the preeminent women’s award in South Dakota. She was among 12 women nominated from across the state. Nominations come from members of the nominee’s community, from their volunteer organizations and from business associates.

As this year’s winner, Bell will receive a framed Spirit of Dakota award plaque, individually created by sculptor Dale Lamphere, which is based on Lamphere’s full size bronze sculpture that is on the south side of the Huron Event Center.

Bell is a retired South Dakota State University Family and Consumer Science professor, who was involved in the transition of the Future Homemakers of America into the Family, Career, Community Leaders of America, working with nearly 100 chapters in the state to organize state leadership meetings and training camps. During her four decade career, she was the state adviser to the FHA.

Among the chapters that benefited from Bell’s leadership is the FCCLA chapter in Redfield, which raised $3,200 for organizations fighting childhood cancer.

One of her nominations forms described Bell as “a master gardener of community service. At South Dakota State University, she planted seeds of community service in her education majors and FCCLAers. In training them to implement service, her seeds became an abundant harvest of hundreds of community service projects carried out annually.”