National Awards


THE 2015





The Dr. George W. (Bill) Fairweather Innovation Award:


  • The Tasks Unlimited Writers Group (WINNER)


The Tasks Unlimited Writers Group is an example of Fairweather Principles in action.


Tasks Writers was originally founded by staff in an effort to encourage writing amongst Tasks clients. The group was highly successful on many levels, with sometimes as many as a dozen writers participating. A good time was had by all, and the process seemed to be good for everyone’s mental health. Science has long been aware of a connection between creativity and mental illness; when creativity can be channeled and expressed it is typically good for mental health.


When the staff member who started the group retired, clients wanted the group to go on – and made it happen. The group meets once a month at Tasks headquarters - one member was given a key for this purpose. The group has continued for several years without staff assistance. Writers have come and gone, of course, but there are four strong participants.


Each participant brings something they have written, usually about five pages, and the group reads it out loud. Then others give the writer feedback on what he/she has written. Writing is a real personal thing and sharing what one has written is not always easy, but the writers in the group feel that the benefits outweigh any discomforts. One of the members has gone on to publish his own book much of which was “workshopped” at the Writers Group.


The Writers Group is an excellent example of dealing with a mental illness in a highly productive manner. While others idle away their time, the writers are organizing their thoughts as well as entertaining fellow clients. We believe Dr. Fairweather, who wrote himself, would be proud us.









The 2015 Fairweather Lodge of the Year:

  • Aces Lodge – Mpls

  • Moon Township Lodge – Pittsburgh


The Aces Lodge (WINNER) is a great example of what a lodge is supposed to represent. Two of the 4 Aces members have been in the lodge program over 30 yrs a third other close to 30 years. The “new guy” has been an Ace for almost 13 yrs!


Aces Lodge has received a cleanest lodge rating from Tasks for 12 years in a row. Their communication is outstanding. They try to work out issues without calling their Lodge Coordinator every 10 minutes, but when necessary, they communicate with their coordinator and their case manager extremely well. They cannot eat all their meals together because of their different work schedules, but they make it a point to eat together at often as possible. They are all extremely proud of being “Aces.”



The Moon Township Lodge  is an excellent example of a Fairweather lodge. Members pulled together to overcome extreme difficulties during startup a few years ago, and overcame quite a bit of turnover about a year ago. But the new and remaining members supported each other to an amazing degree, becoming a stable lodge group early in 2015.


The group also supported each other by holding each other accountable around their physical health. With the support of a couple staff members, the Moons lodge group created an exercise program where each lodge client would compete against each other to bike the equivalent miles from one major city to another in the United States. This competition has continued amongst the lodge group for many months and has not only resulted in a higher priority on physical health at the lodge, but also large amounts of weight being lost.


The Moons lodge prides themselves in being an independent group and requires minimal staff support to operate effectively.  


The 2015 Dorothy Berger, Program Achievement Award:

  • Metro Plains Management

  • Tasks Mailrooms


Metro Plains Management (WINNER) is an apartment management company in Grand Forks, North Dakota, which contracts with the Prairie Harvest Lodge Program to clean four apartment buildings, providing employment for four Lodge Members. This opportunity has allowed Lodge members to polish their skills in time management and working independently. When three vacuum cleaners quit working the same day, they learned a lot about managing frustration. They have also learned about chemicals and cleaning products.


Metro Plains have been very accommodating with the Lodge members and always willing to help when needed. Metro Plains’ two lead maintenance workers work great with the Lodge members and expect no different from them than anyone else. If there are issues, things are not up to standard, they let Prairie Harvest know. If there are issues from our end, Metro Plains staff work with us to resolve the issues. They have been great to work with and we treasure our partnership.


Tasks Unlimited’s Mailrooms at the IRS and Army Corp of Engineers, exemplify Fairweather principles at the highest level.

Tasks got its first ever mailroom contract in 1995. With almost no outside help, Tasks clients took over the reins of the ACOE mailroom and got it running smoothly within months. They have always been known for their excellent customer service and good quality of work. They have been nominated for a national award and the crew has been given ACOE medallions, something even the engineers do not always get.


Tasks took over the IRS mail operations in 2004. Once again, with little outside help, Tasks workers created a new system, and had the mailroom running smoothly from the beginning. Also known for excellent customer service and minimum of errors, the IRS mailroom has won three national awards.


Tasks mailrooms regularly rely on Fairweather principles to carry out their daily roles. There are not any Tasks staff present on a regular basis, just the crew of lodge members and former lodge members. Getting along for lengthy work shifts, in a small mailroom day after day, would be impossible if the clients weren’t supporting each other and lifting each other up. But what’s really impressive is the way they work out their scheduling. Between doctors, dentists, therapists, lodge groups, vacations and other pulls on their time, the crews cover for each other as if by second nature. “Oh, you have a doctor’s appointment? No problem, I’ll work a double tomorrow for you if you can work a double for me when I go to the dentist.”


In addition to the scheduling conflicts, Tasks mailroom employees also cover for each other for other reasons.  When one employee broke her foot, her duties were reorganized to include sitting jobs only, while the rest of the crew took up the slack. There may have been a little hemming and hawing, but the work got done and she did not need to use sick leave. One way or another the shifts get covered, with lodge members stepping up for one other. This caring attitude enables the mailroom crews to excel with respect to customer service.





The 2015 Barbara Breen Lodge Member of the Year

  • Maggie Darker

  • Alvin Lange

  • John Maglich


Maggie Darker (WINNER) is so well liked that her lodgemates recently held a surprise birthday party for her. It was just the right thing to do for a friend that you respect, care for and trust. Maggie is always there to help a lodge member in need. Her lodge members describe Maggie as loyal, honest and dependable.


Maggie has been with the lodge since September, 2011. Within 6 months of joining the janitorial crew, Maggie worked her way up the work to the assistant crew leader position. This position is a permanent job that requires coordination of the job site.  Her attention to detail with regard to bathroom cleaning and chemicals on the job site keeps people safe and our customer satisfied with the quality of work. New lodge members coming onto the training lodge work site frequently seek Maggie out for advice and direction.


Off the jobsite, Maggie loves to get lodge members together to cook a good meal. Sometimes Maggie is full of surprises like the day that she decided to start driving again. No one knew she had these skills as she had been riding the bus to her appointments, but she was quickly able to get her driver’s license renewed, and now shares a car with a fellow lodge member.


In addition to her contributions to the Fairweather Lodge, Maggie likes to try new restaurants, enjoys visiting her 3 adult daughters and playing computer slot games. Maggie is also a voracious reader, often checking out 20 books from the local library in addition to books that she purchases at Walmart. Books that Maggie purchases get donated to the library after she reads them.


Maggie is currently learning basic computer skills and would like to secure some type of healthcare certification since, between her family and the Lodge, she has a long history of caregiving, and is herself a five year cancer survivor.

* New this year, as winner of CCL's 2015 Lodge Member of the Year Award, Ms. Darker also receives a Dr. George W. (Bill) Fairweather Scholarship to the next full National Conference (Conference Registration an accommodations, travel not included).



Alvin Lange is a true Hero to our Harvest Lodge community. I’ve shared a Lodge with Alvin for the past 11 years, and he is different from the other Lodge members and my outside friends. Alvin is considerate of others, sweet, caring – I love him like a Brother!


Alvin is always taking on additional responsibilities, always working hard. Alvin is our Chore Captain, our cook, and our Lawn would not look half as good without Al. He shops for us and cleans the house. He does it all freely without complaints! I don’t want to say that the rest of our Lodge is lazy, but Alvin is the first person up in the morning and he gets to it first!


Alvin not only does his work but, he will dust the tops of doorways, hidden corners around the house and even the tiles under my dog’s paper! I tell Alvin, “That’s my job,” and he will say, “I’ve got it.” I like to fix special meals for him, and other do too. And Alvin does all this while working his regular job, but never complains about anything. He never misses a group, and is a long time member of S.A. (Schizophrenia Anonymous).


None of this would not be possible if it weren’t for Dr. Fairweather’s creation of the Lodge program, and all the people who work together to make it happen. But without Alvin, Harvest Lodge wouldn’t be as great as it is.



John Maglich epitomizes the Fairweather model as he daily encourages, motivates, and supports his peers to be as independent as possible. John organizes softball games and other weekly recreation for the lodge, and encourages group participation in grocery shopping and daily walking.


John has sound decision making skills and is very down to earth. He is able to maintain friendships in his community with neighbors and local businesses.  He uses coping strategies and helps his peers with relapse prevention strategies from exercise to medication compliance.


John is a dedicated, hard working janitor at the Federal Courthouse. His supervisors brag about the quality of his work. His co-workers at the work site report John is a great guy and easy to talk to. John is a huge asset to the St. Clair lodge.




The 2015 David Sanders Lodge Coordinator of the Year:

  • Andy Dahlen – Mpls

  • Katie Hessefort - Mpls

  • Jennifer Mullins – Pittsburgh

  • Elaine Olson – G.Forks


Andy Dahlen spends an incredible amount of time with his lodge clients, often going above and beyond normal coordinator duties. Several times a week, he will go walking, play football, or do other recreational activities with lodge members in order to strengthen his relationship with them, and also to get them more active. Though Lodge Coordinators are normally expected only to work five days a week, Andy comes in on Saturdays for the Aces Lodge meeting because the group prefers to meet on Saturday, and then Andy will go out to breakfast with the group afterwards.


Andy is very creative in developing incentive-based strategies to encourage lodge members to maintain their hygiene, to check their calendars so as not to miss appointments, or use their CPAP machines. He always tries to redirect concerns to the group and has done a great job with engaging clients who have struggled with giving peers feedback in the past.



Katie Hessefort became the lodge coordinator for Spotless lodge almost a year and a half ago and has been very effective in ensuring the lodge group works, together as a group, to make their own decisions. Other lodges and other staff frequently compliment the morale of the Spotless Lodge - such a welcoming, fun group that we have become the envy of other Tasks Lodges.


With Katie’s support, the Spotless lodge group has been a great example of a Fairweather lodge, planning activities as a group, whether going out to eat, golfing with other lodges, a yearly trip to a cabin up North, or just getting together to watch sports on TV.

When the lodge was low on members, Katie helped the lodge make their own hard decisions to cut expenses, decrease grocery costs and budget to catch up on bills which had gotten away from them.


Katie has helped a couple of members with challenging medical issues, requiring hospitalizations, to follow through with doctor recommendations, which enabled them to return to work and other daily activities. With one client in particular, Katie really went the extra mile. When this individual became symptomatic and defensive, leading him to request alternate staff, Katie, rather than taking the easy way out, continued working with him to help him through his mental health difficulties, re-building lost rapport in the process. For these reasons and so many more, Katie deserves to be Lodge Coordinator of the Year. 

Jennifer Mullins (WINNER) has been the Lodge Coordinator at the Moon Township Lodge since before it even opened its doors, literally, on the way back from looking at the house with the real estate agent. We knew from the beginning that there was only one person to take on such a challenge.


Jen had been the advocate and the voice of recovery and peer-run programming at our agency for several years, with an unrelenting faith in recovery and a steadfast belief that anything could be accomplished when people come together. And this was tested early, when Jen moved “her guys” into their new home in a fearful, unwelcoming, initially hostile neighborhood.


But Jen had studied the Lodge principles, sought advice from other coordinators, and during the next several months she and the guys figured it out - from house duties to Lodge rules to acquisition of a van, a basketball hoop and cable - all  the essentials.


Jen’s first priority is always her “guys” - the members of Moons Lodge. At every meeting, with every provider, at any time there is a decision to be made, Jen facilitates the Lodge members’ voices being heard. We have had our share of triumphs, mistakes and even failures, but Jen reminds us that these are merely lessons to be learned, and we move on. Jen balances demands from every side: program requirements, funder outcome reporting, budget constraints and yes, even from her supervisor, but stays focused on what is important: the needs and well-being of the Lodge members.


As we work through the early stages of our new business, Jen again is there to be its champion. Need to work on weekends to promote the business? OK! Need to support the members or her boss when the stress is piling up? OK! Need to talk on the radio, stand in the hot sun for a display; smile for hours at promotional events?? OK! Her passion for the Lodge and all it represents is nearly boundless.


The best evidence as to Jen deserving this award is the members themselves. This group of gentlemen run a clean, friendly and efficient home. They have been resilient through difficulties with attempted businesses. They have provided caring to one another.  When a member needs support or is sick, they shore that member up until they are on their feet again. They have become trusted and well-liked neighbors. They call each other FAMILY.




I consider Elaine Olson, my Lodge Coordinator here at Harvest Lodge, one of my best friends. She works hard. She is fair and considerate, and she always gets the job done.


Before Elaine started working for Prairie Harvest we always had two Coordinators, and Elaine was the main manager for our small restaurant, the 4th Street Eatery, which has since closed, and volunteered her time to run two Lodge-associated groups, Job Club and Healthy Spaces. Now, Elaine is all we need.


Last year, we acquired a contract to clean several apartment buildings around the city, providing employment for five lodge members. We are successful now, but never would have been without Elaine. She gave me a job as a float person on the crew and made the schedule flexible so it would work for me. I can earn money that I need and it helps me maintain my mental health.


Elaine is a very caring person who goes beyond the call of duty.

She lines up rides, or helps out when someone is struggling with depression or tempted to drink. She helps us be the best we can be, and look the best we can look. She helps us with lots of stuff beyond our medications - we don’t live just by our meds. We need people in our lives – people like Elaine.


2015 State Award - Transitional Services and Greenlight Products, LLC

2014 Nominees and Winners

2013 Nominees and Winners



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