The Fergus Falls Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution announces a number of awards honoring historic preservation and national defense. Members of this chapter live throughout the Northwestern part of Minnesota and into Canada. 

Three different awards to five individuals or groups in the region are being presented.

In a ceremony in August, the Minnesota DAR State Regent, Kathy Huston, presented Commander Donna Q. Hendel, USN (Ret) with the DAR National Defense Committee Distinguished Citizen Medal. Hendel served her country as a nurse during the Vietnam War. Upon her return from the war zone, she continued her service and training as a Pediatric Nurse in the United States Navy. She continues to volunteer in her community of Fergus Falls.

The Historic Preservation Recognition Award is being given to the Friends of Phelps Mill. It recognizes and honors an individual or group that has done remarkable volunteer work at the community level. This award is administered by Barbara Chesney, the National Vice Chair, Historic Preservation Recognition Award. 

As dedicated volunteers, the Friends of Phelps Mill have worked for decades not only to protect the mill and its surrounding buildings, grounds, bridge, and dam, but also to educate the public about milling in Minnesota and the importance of historic preservation in rural Minnesota. It is largely due to their efforts that the mill has become an iconic symbol of Minnesota used in tourism and advertising campaigns. The site is an Otter Tail County park that brings in visitors, local and from some distance, to experience the history of milling and take part in a variety of recreational and cultural activities.

Who are the Daughters of the American Revolution?

The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) is a women’s service organization whose members can trace their lineage to an individual who contributed to securing American independence during the Revolutionary War.

Today’s DAR is dynamic and diverse, with over 185,000 members in 3,000 chapters in the United States and abroad. DAR chapters participate in projects to promote historic preservation, education, and patriotism. Over one million members have joined the organization since its founding in 1890.

The Fergus Falls Chapter DAR meets monthly, April through November.

Finally, the Excellence in Historic Preservation Medal recognizes outstanding individuals and organizations that promote historic preservation in a myriad of ways. The recognition honors individuals or groups that have saved and/or preserved their local history, including restoration of buildings, significant objects, monuments, cemeteries, and other important artifacts. 

The 2022 Recipients of the medal include:

• The City of Parkers Prairie for preservation and restoration efforts on the End of the Trail historic marker. The monument commemorates the arrival of homesteaders into the county in 1868. This community was the terminus of the trail from Alexandria, the location of the land office for Otter Tail County. 

• Ms. Amy Ann Mursu, Esq. for her preservation of the historic monument marking the site of the first Otter Tail County jail and courthouse in Ottertail City.

• Pam Osterfeld and Marcus Zitzow, owners of 1894 restaurant, for their extraordinary efforts to preserve St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Perham. They made the building handicap accessible and created a destination restaurant. They have restored the interior and incorporated artifacts and photographs from the life of the church into the decor.