Each year, AHSGR offers Member Recognition in the form of two awards, the Distinguished Service Award and the Special Citation Award.

Distinguished Service Award

The AHSGR Distinguished Service Award (DSA) is an all-Society award, the highest and most prestigious award the Society can bestow on a member. The award honors and celebrates the exceptional and meritorious service of a member who has made a noticeable and positive impact on the Society or International Foundation in advancing their goals and purposes. The award may be granted posthumously. Although important, monetary contributions to either the Society or International Foundation are secondary factors for consideration in the selection of honorees.

Submit Nomination for Distinguished Service Award

Special Citation Award

The AHSGR Special Citation (ASC) is an all-Society award designed to recognize a one-time outstanding act or continued superior performance in a given area of responsibility in support of the mission of the Society or Foundation. The award may be given to an employee, AHSGR member, or an individual or business organization friend of AHSGR. The award may be granted posthumously. The ASC replaces the Outstanding Employee Award and embraces all former awardees.

Submit Nomination for Special Citation Award

  • 2023 Distinguished Service Award - William Schwab

    William Schwab (1920-2014) was a Life Member of AHSGR and very active in the Northern Colorado Chapter. He served as President from 1989-1994 and Past President from 1995-1998. He was also active on the International Board. Bill was instrumental in the restoration of the sugar beet shack in Greeley’s Centennial Village Park. He often demonstrated beet-thinning and topping at the Adams County Fair. He attended many AHSGR conventions in the US and Canada.

    Bill was proud of his German Russian heritage. He was born in Brighton, Colorado to Jacob and Elizabeth Schwab, who were both from Donhof, Russia, He kept in contact with relatives in Russia and those who moved to Germany. He hosted some of these cousins in his home and also traveled to Germany to meet more relatives.

    Bill served in the U.S. Army from 1942-1945, as a German interpreter. He and Helen Timmerman were married May 2, 1946. They had three children. Bill established Bill’s Floor Covering store in 1954 and successfully rant it for 29 years until he retired. In his free time, he loved fishing, bowling, and traveling.

  • 2023 Distinguished Service Award - Mike Meisinger

    Mike Meisinger was born in Greeley, Colorado and raised on his parents’ farms near LaSalle and Kersey (Yes, he hoed beets). He started school at the Beebe Draw rural school southeast of LaSalle. After graduating from Platte Valley High School in Kersey, he earned a bachelor’s degree from John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, followed by a master’s degree in applied math from Oklahoma State University.

    Mike worked for IBM for 35 years with a variety of assignments in Ponca City, Ok; Atlanta, GA; Springfield, IL; and Kansas City, MO. He has lived in Overland Park, KS since 1995. After leaving IBM, he served as a member of the AHSGR Board of Directors for several years acting as Vice President for part of that time. Over the past ten years, he has devoted most of his spare time to genealogy and his role as Village Coordinator of the German Russian colonies of Messer and Neu Messer.

    Mike first became interested in the Germans from Russia when he wrote a term paper about them for a college history class in 1973. Over the years, he has made multiple presentations on the Germans from Russia at meetings in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Michigan.  These presentations have covered the history of the Germans from Russia, researching the Germans from Russia, his tour of the former Volga Colonies in 2016, and research on specific Volga German families for family reunions. He has particularly enjoyed sharing the story of the Germans from Russia with a new generation of descendants at the family reunions.

  • 2022 Distinguished Service Award - Karen Soeken

    Karen Gienapp Soeken grew up in Michigan. She received a B.A. in mathematics from Valparaiso University; a Master’s Degree in Mathematics/Statistics and Ph.D. in Measurement and Statistics from the University of Maryland; and a Master of Theological Studies from Wesley Theological Seminary. She is Professor Emerita from the University of Maryland School of Nursing.

    Karen joined AHSGR in 1975, the Nation’s Capitol Chapter. She has been a member of the AHSGR Board of Directors since 2010, serving as Membership Committee chair, Strategic Planning Committee chair, and Secretary. She has provided commitment and leadership to the organization—leading the Board of Directors to create a blueprint for the future.

    Karen currently serves as President of the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia and has repeatedly demonstrated her dedication to its success nw and into the future.

    She and Don, her husband of 57 years, are the parents of two and grandparents of six. Besides being involved in AHSGR, she also enjoys reading mysteries, crocheting prayer shawls, solving crossword and sudoku puzzles, making quilts for Lutheran World Relief, and spending time with her grandkids.

  • 2022 Special Citation Awardee - Bob Ahlbrandt

    Bob Ahlbrandt, Ph.D., is currently serving as Vice President of the AHSGR Board of Directors. He is chair of the Technology Committee, providing strategic direction and oversight of AHSGR’s technology which supports our Headquarters Museum and Library, as well as our virtual capabilities, including ahsgr.org. Bob also serves as the Coordinator of Village Coordinator activities and is currently President of the Greater Kansas City chapter of AHSGR.

    Bob holds a B.S. from the University of Missouri, and M.S. and Ph.D. in Statistics from Colorado State University. Bob spent 30 years working in pharmaceutical research and development supporting global registrations of innovative new medicines. After retiring, he has spent more time exploring his Volga German ancestry (paternal ancestors from Grimm, maternal ancestors from Balzer and Rosenberg) and has become more actively involved in AHSGR.

    This AHSGR Special Citation recognizes his efforts and numerous volunteer hours in the development and migration of data to the new AHSGR website.

  • 2022 Special Citation Awardee - Lee Macklin


    Lee Macklin is a second generation German from Russia from Kansas. Lee earned a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree in Information Technology

    from the University of Dallas in Texas. He served 10 years in the US Navy as an Anti-Submarine Warfare Specialist during the Vietnam War. This was followed by over 30 years as a software engineer, sales consulting engineer, and technical project manager retiring in 2012. He is married to Cindy Keller Macklin who also has German from Russia ancestors. They have three children, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

    Since retiring, Lee has devoted much of his time as the family genealogist and resident DNA expert. He has given many educational and analytical presentations both from genealogy and DNA perspectives. He has been a presenter at numerous AHSGR and GRHS national conventions as well as various local chapters and other organizations. Lee currently maintains an extensive website for the Sacramento Valley Chapter and serves as president of the chapter and a member of the AHSGR Board of Directors.

    This Special Citation Award is given in recognition of Lee’s leadership of the 13- month effort to build a new AHSGR website which went live December 2021.

  • 2022 Special Citation Awardee - Dennis Zitterkopf

    Dennis Zitterkopf is from Kansas, graduating from Durham High School in 1957. He received a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering in 1962 and a Master of Science in Engineering from Johns Hopkins University in 19

    70. He worked at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in the Space Department, 1962-1978, and for Boeing Defense Division, 1978-2001, after moving to Wichita, Kansas.

    Dennis has been a member of AHSGR since 1972 and was a charter member of the Nation’s Capital Chapter. In Wichita, he has been an active member of the Golden Wheat Chapter, serving in various leadership roles. As a member of the AHSGR Board of Directors, Dennis was Technology Chair, 2005-2015, during which time he also served as the SOAR Project Manager, and again from 2019-2021. In 2009 he was awarded the Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his many contributions to the society.

    This AHSGR Special Citation recognizes his efforts and numerous volunteer hours in the development of the new AHSGR website

  • 2021 Distinguished Service Awardee - Duane Stabler

    Duane Stabler, AHSGR Distinguished Service AwardeeDuane Stabler’s paternal ancestors immigrated to the USA from Klein Neudorf (Glueckstal) and Hoffnungstal (Odessa).  His maternal ancestors immigrated from Hoffnungstal (Bessarabia) and Worms (Beresan). They immigrated to the USA and settled in rural Campbell and McPherson County of South Dakota. Duane grew up in rural Eureka, South Dakota. 

    Duane attended grade and high school in Eureka and then attended Northern State University where he received his BS degree.

    Duane married Dorothy Wangler from Aberdeen, South Dakota whose family are all from the Kutschurgan colonies in Black Sea region settling in North Dakota.

    That degree lead Duane and his wife to Dallas Texas where Texas Instruments hired him; he later joined Seagate Technology, located in Minneapolis Minnesota and remained there for about 32 years rising through the ranks of engineering and engineering management. In 2018 Duane and Dorothy retired to Frisco, Texas in suburban Dallas, TX. 

    His family surnames are Staebler (Stabler), Wolf, Schmidt, Bossert, Holzwarth and Fuehrer. These families were all from the Black Sea colonies. His interest in this heritage began when he was about six years old. At that time his Grandfather John Stabler passed away and Duane recalls knowing that Grandfather Stabler was born in Russia. He heard the family stories and asked many questions of family throughout the years. Apparently, he stored them away because it wasn’t until about 1982 when Duane read about the North Star Chapter of Minnesota. He joined AHSGR and the North Star Chapter and attended his first convention in Milwaukee, WI where he met Art Flegel who took one look at Duane’s name tag and said, “you are a Glueckstaller.” At the time that was a word that Duane didn’t know, but he learned fast and sought advice from many people throughout the years. Mentors for Duane include Margaret Freeman, Ardella Bennett and others too numerous to mention.

    Duane is a former member of the GRHS Board of Directors and is currently the North Texas Chapter’s representative to the GRHS board of directors. He is the president for the North Texas Chapter of Germans from Russia (https://ntgfr.com)  since it was formed in 2019. He is also a director with the Galizien German Descendants (https://galiziengermandescendants.org).

    For the past six years, he is also the leader of the Gluckstal Colonies Research Association (GCRA), https://glueckstal.net, following Margaret Freeman and Homer Rudolf. He is a regular contributor to various publications. Duane and two other researchers published a book titled Researchers Guide to McPherson County SD Cemeteries in 2005.  It can be purchased from NDSU.  His second book Walworth County, South Dakota was published in 2013 and is available through Arcadia Publishing (www.arcadiapublishing.com ). In 2017, Duane received the Joseph S Height Literary Award for his article, Eureka Lutheran College, Eureka, South Dakota: A Vision Crushed by the Depression of the 1930s found in the GRHS Heritage Review, December 2016.

  • Past Distinguished Service Award Recipients

    Duane Stabler, Frisco, TX, 2021

    Dr. Lewis Marquardt, Austin, TX, 2019

    Dr. Dona Reeves Marquardt, Austin, TX, 2019

    Donita (Dodie) Rotherham, San Diego, CA, 2018 

    Dr. Wilhelm (Bill) Doos, Milwaukee, WI, 2017

    Pam Wurst, Lincoln, NE, 2017

    Larry Bohlender, Greeley, CO, 2016 

    Samuel Dreith, Denver, CO, 2016 

    Dr. Robert Janke, Schoolcraft, MI, 2016

    Leona Janke, Schoolcraft, MI, 2016 

    Mabel Kiessling, Calgary, AB, Canada, 2015

    Leona Mann, Calgary, AB, Canada, 2015 

    Norma Somerheiser, Lincoln, NE 2015 

    Corinne Koehler, Arvada, CO, 2014 

    Kevin Rupp, Hays, KS, 2014 

    Jim Weibert, Rocklin, CA, 2013 

    Dr. Jerome Siebert, Moraga, CA, 2012 

    Clarence Kissler, Littleton, CO, 2011 

    Harley Behm, Portage, MI, 2011 

    Ed Hoak, Long Grove, IL, 2010 

    Nick & Barbara Bretz, Arvada, CO, 2009

    Dennis Zitterkopf, Wichita, KS, 2009 

    Mayo Flegel, Mankato, MN, 2008 

    Raymond Pfau, Racine, WI, 2008 (Posthumous)

    Diana Bell, Fresno, CA, 2007 

    Edward Schwartzkopf, Lincoln, NE, 2007 (Posthumous) 

    Doris Evans, Almira, WA, 2006

    Kathryn O’Malley, Mt. Ida, AR, 2005 (Posthumous) 

    Edwin Rau, Fresno, CA, 2005 (Posthumous) 

    Elaine Frank Davison, Walla Walla, WA, 2004 (Posthumous) 

    J. Paul Hile, Fairfax, VA, 2004 

    George Miller, Naperville, IL, 2003 

    Dr. Timothy J. Kloberdanz, Fargo, ND, 1999 

    Dr. Solomon Reinhold Schneider, Fort Collins, CO, 1999 

    Leona Pfeifer, Hays, KS, 1998

    Margaret (Zimmerman) Freeman, Santa Monica, CA, 1997 

    Martha Issinghoff, Dodge City, KS, 1996 

    Gerda Stroh Walker, Denver, CO, 1995 

    Lawrence Weigel, Hays, KS, 1995 

    Reuben Goertz, Freeman, SD, 1994 (Posthumous) 

    Mela Meisner Lindsay, Denver, CO, 1994 

    Jacob “Jake” Sinner, Lincoln, NE, 1993 

    Ruth M. Amen, Lincoln, NE, 1992 

    Arthur E. Flegel, Menlo Park, CA, 1992

    Dr. David J. Miller, Greeley, CO, 1992

    Dr. Adam Giesinger, Winnipeg, MB, Canada 1991

  • Past Special Citation Award Recipients

    Gwen Mayer, Denver, CO, 2017 

    Merrill Crandall, Lincoln, NE, 2017 

    Judy Runion, Lincoln, NE, 2017 

    Delores Giebelhaus Schwartz, Lincoln, NE, 2014 

    Frank McLean, Yakima, WA, 2012 

    Rachel Smith, Wichita, KS, 2011 

    John & Marcella Wark, Menlo Park, CA, 2011 

    John Weber, Lincoln, NE, 2010

    Phil Dinges, Lincoln, NE, 2010 

    Edward R. (Ted) Gerk, Kelowna, BC, Canada, 2006 

    Teresa Helzer, Castle Rock, CO, 2006 

    Marie Trupp Krieger, Portland, OR, 2006

    Patrice M. Miller, San Ramon, CA, 2006 

    JoAnn Kuhr, Lincoln, NE, 1999 

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