Photo by Robert Williams
Former Frazee mayor Hank Ludtke gives his acceptance speech after receiving the United Way of Becker County’s Everyday Hero Award Thursday night in Detroit Lakes.

By Robert Williams


There was a big secret around Frazee over the past week that was finally shared with the one person who could not know what was happening on Thursday, April 27. Hank Ludtke was honored, in Detroit Lakes with the United Way of Becker County’s Everyday Hero award. 

Ludtke related his version of the secret during his acceptance speech, which on a personal level was a ruse. His daughter Samantha pulled off the surprise by claiming Hank had to attend a work function with her in Detroit Lakes.

“We got here and she said, ‘Oh, it’s next Thursday,’” said Ludtke. “I had something to do with Neighbor to Neighbor and they wanted me to come today, but I said, no, I have something I have to do with my daughter. So, here I am completely blindsided.”

The Everyday Hero award is bestowed upon the community’s unsung heroes—people who are looked up to, who inspire, and who quietly go about making a difference in the lives of others.

“It’s not just me. There are all kinds of people who do this stuff everyday that make the whole area better and bless you for doing it,” said Ludtke. 

Ludtke’s award introduction was a lengthy list of his many different titles, organization affiliations, and various contributions and volunteer efforts he does for the Frazee and Vergas communities and the county. He received a standing ovation from a packed room.

“There are a lot of people here who are more deserving than me who have come and gone over the years, but I really appreciate it and it’s a big surprise,” he said. 

The award has been presented since 2002 in both an adult and youth category.

Photo by Robert Williams
United Way of Becker County Executive Director Terry Haus presents Hank Ludtke with the organization’s Everyday Hero Award Thursday, April 27, at the Detroit Lakes Holiday Inn.

Past Everyday Heroes

2002 Joy Peterson

2003 Marcia Otte

2004 Brenda Houts

2005 Linda Livingston Wiedewitsch

2006 Cindy Sauer

2007 Tammie Jenson

2008 Sue Berg

2009 Becky Williams

2010 Michele Baker

2011 Rick Strozyk, Jeff Swanson

2012 Coleen Voeltz

2013 Amy Erickson, Ron Sprafka

2014 Diane Midthune

2015 Jay & Leah Schurman, Deb Tucker

2016 Marvin Anderson, Keith Heinlein, Laverne (Max) Maxwell

2017 Pat Benson

2018 Bobbi Jo Koons

2019 Duane Dunrud

2021 Terry Eiter

2022 Molly Fairbanks