Bismarck Optimist Club
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2017-18 Board of Directors:
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President: Amanda Bakkedahl
Vice President: Dennis Kraft
Secretary: Sylvia Burgess
Treasurer: Tom Miller
Past President: Jerry Haas
Director: Angil Wanner-Koper
Director: Derek Lockrem
Director: Christy Cameron
Director: Brad Thompson
Director: Andrew Engleman
Director: Russ Harkness


Board member elections are held in September and members serve a two year term, beginning October 1st annually.  

Past Presidents:  Jerry Haas (2016-17); Krista Fremming (2015-16); Kelly Gunsch (2014-15); Tonya Holmstrom (2013-14); Kristi Kraft (2012-2013); Daryl Kerzman (2011-2012); Tom Miller (2010-2011); Ben Ehreth (2009-2010); 

2016 "Outstanding Optimist of the Year"
Sylvia Burgess

2015 "Outstanding Optimist of the Year"
Tom Miller

2014 "Outstanding Optimist of the Year"
Kelly Gunsch

2013 "Outstanding Optimist of the Year"
Russ Harkness


Founded: July 20, 1971
Founding members still in our club:
* Duane Bentz
* Jack Neumann
* Leroy VanderLinden
* Mert Johnsrud
Weekly meeting: Tuesdays at noon, 
at the China Star in Bismarck, ND


Jerry Haas, Past-President of the Optimist Club of Bismarck was recently recognized at the Dakotas-Manitoba-Minnesota District Meeting as the Roger L. Haas Memorial Optimist of the Year award recipient. Jerry was a very active leader with recruiting several new members to the club and also took the lead on a few new projects. Jerry also helped initiate a new event, the club’s Easter Egg Hunt which took place on the ND Capitol Grounds. He helped increase community participation in the club’s Avenue of Flags and also led the efforts to create a Pay-it-Forward program for the Optimist Gift Wrap fundraising project.

Jerry continues to lead by example, helping others to share in the success and Brings Out the Best in Youth, the Community and Ourselves. Jerry truly displays the Optimist Creed saying of “To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.” He looks for the positive in people and helps to make them realize what they are capable of doing.