2021 Community Builder Award Celebration

During the week of June 21, 2021, seven local community leaders will be recognized by Northern Star Scouting for their positive impact on youth throughout our community. The Community Builder Celebration will take place via a series of short videos available each day at noon featuring vignettes of each of the recipient at www.northernstar.org. Open to all at no cost, the celebration also helps to fund the council’s co-educational workplace development programs through event sponsorships. Career Exploring programs reach more than 2,000 young people ages 14 – 20 through 80 businesses and organizations annually,

Debbie Montgomery, St Paul’s first African American female St Paul Police Officer and former Saint Paul City Councilwoman, will receive the Community Builder Award and six other community leaders will receive Spurgeon Awards. These are named for the volunteer who created Scouting’s workplace-based Exploring program. The 2021 Spurgeon recipients are: John Guttery—Ecolab, Louis Henry—McDonald’s Corporation, Bill Lentsch—Delta Airlines, Jill Renslow—Mall of America, Sheriff Dan Starry—Washington County Sheriff’s Office and Allison O’Toole—Second Harvest Heartland.

For over forty years, the Community Builder Celebration (including its prior iterations as the Pride of St. Paul and Spurgeon Award Luncheon) has been an event recognizing leaders of the Twin Cities communities.  It has celebrated more than 200 community leaders and raised more than $3 million dollars to support Exploring. This years event lead sponsors include The Katherine B Andersen fund of the Saint Paul Foundation, Ecolab and Delta Air Lines.

Criteria and History

Community Builder Award - presented to an individual who has uncommonly demonstrated his or her commitment to making our community a better place in which to live.  It recognizes a person or persons for their outstanding example and leadership as volunteer, board member and trustee of community-based organizations.  It especially recognizes those who demonstrate ongoing, long-term concern for the community and welfare of children and youth, helping in all ways to improve the community of today in every way possible. The Community Builder Award was created in 1979 by the Boy Scouts of America. ,

Spurgeon Award - recognizes a person or persons for their outstanding example and leadership as a volunteer of community-based organizations, role model for youth and for demonstration of excellence in their career field.  It bears the name of William H. Spurgeon III who is credited with developing the co-educational Career Exploring program and has been awarded since 1980.

Grand Sponsors:

The Katherine B. Andersen Fund



Leadership Sponsor:

Delta Air Lines

Exploring Program Sponsors:

Mairs and Power

Xcel Energy

Video Playlist

Each day of the Community Builder Celebration week, a new video will be added to the playlist below (with the newest appearing first) honoring that day's recipients. You can use the video controls to watch the video - or skip to a previous day's video.

2021 Community Builder Celebration Award Recipients

Community Builder Award

Debbie Montgomery-Community Leader, Saint Paul Police Department (retired)

Raised in the Rondo neighborhood of St. Paul, Debbie Montgomery is a community leader. When she was 17, she became the youngest member ever on the national board of the NAACP. She later received a master’s degree in urban planning and began a career in civil service. She became the first female police officer in St. Paul. On the force, Montgomery participated in educational programs and built trust with youth in her community. After retiring, Montgomery was elected to the city council, where she convinced businesses and the government to invest in St. Paul’s Black community. Her list of accomplishments show a theme of service. She was St. Paul's first female African-American city council member. She also was one of the first black graduates of the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

Spurgeon Awards

John Guttery—Ecolab

John Guttery, Senior Vice President, Enterprise Initiatives at Ecolab, has extensive work in the community that is helping to open people’s minds, encourage curiosity and build understanding and connection, with a focus on fostering a global mindset. Through his work with Green Card Voices, the first-hand immigration stories of foreign-born Americans are shared, helping us see the wave of immigrants as individuals with interesting stories of family, hard work, and cultural diversity. He founded Land of 10K masks to use the personal protection needs of the pandemic as a vehicle for celebrating diversity and encouraging people to connect with each other. Through his leadership in Global Minnesota, he is supporting a unique lineup of programs offered from the Twin Cities to greater Minnesota focused on relevant and timely information on international issues, foreign policy, and cultural topics.

Louis Henry—McDonald’s Corporation

Louis Henry, the owner operator of nine McDonald’s restaurants in the Saint Paul area has been a fixture in Saint Paul for decades. From his first McDonald’s franchise in 1989 he has been involved in our community. He is the recipient of the Ronald Award – The highest award presented by McDonald’s Corporation to an Operator for outstanding operations, marketing and community involvement in1993 and 2017. He has served on the board of countless organizations, including Regions Hospital, Boys and Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities, Midway Chamber of Commerce, Minnesota Timberwolves Foundation, St. Paul College Foundation, St. Paul Police Foundation board and many others.

Bill Lentsch—Delta Airlines

Bill Lentsch, Chief Customer Service Experience officer for Delta Airlines, is involved in many organizations, quietly and without fanfare, making a difference. Notably, his efforts over the past 15 years for Serving Our Troops have allowed the organization to continue thriving with its unique mission for soldiers and families. Since 2004, Serving Our Troops has been providing a special message from home for soldiers and their families in the form of a steak dinner from Minnesota. After 15 projects and over 110,000 steaks, Serving Our Troops has truly sent a special message from home. Bill has been there every step of the way, providing critical corporate support, organizing hundreds of volunteers, and directly serving meals to soldiers and families.

Jill Renslow—Mall of America

Jill Renslow has had an impressive 24-year tenure at the Mall of America where she worked her way up to a senior position. In the aftermath of George Floyd's death and the civil unrest that displaced many small businesses, many BIPOC and immigrant-owned. Jill sprang into action to help create the Community Commons at Mall of America, offering up free space for dislocated businesses. Notably, she engaged Juxtaposition Arts, a non-profit youth art and design education center, gallery, retail shop, and artists' studio space in North Minneapolis, ensuring that the project had a youth focused impact.

Sheriff Dan Starry—Washington County Sheriff’s Office

In his 27 year career with Washington County Sheriff Dan Starry has served in numerous roles-DARE Officer; Explorer advisor, field training officer; K9 handler with K9 Smokey; narcotics officer; SWAT team operator, team leader, and SWAT team overall Commander; Patrol Sergeant; Special Services Commander; Chief Deputy; and as current Sheriff, as well as holding every rank within the Sheriff’s Office. He is on the Board of Directors and President for the United Way of Washington County-East, the Executive Board and Vice Chair for the North Central High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas, and Executive Board for the Frontline Foundation.  He serves on the Minnesota DWI Task Force and a member of the Minnesota Violent Crime Coordinating Council.

Allison O’Toole—Second Harvest Heartland

As the CEO of Second Harvest Heartland, Allison O’Toole led our region’s response to the dramatic food needs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Rallying volunteers, funders, restaurants, civic leaders and many others to support our unprecedented needs.  In 2020, Second Harvest Heartland delivered more than 115 million pounds of food (up 23% over 2019), saw a 58% increase in food shelf visits and coordinated more than 330,000 meals served through its Minnesota Central Kitchen program.

Exploring Program Details

Exploring is worksite-based and part of Learning for Life's career education program for young men and women who are 14 (and have completed the eighth grade) through 20 years old.

Exploring's purpose is to provide experiences that help young people mature and prepare them to become responsible and caring adults. Explorers investigate the meaning of interdependence in their personal relationships and communities. It is based on a unique and dynamic relationship between youth and the organizations in their communities. Local community organizations initiate a specific Explorer post by matching their people and program resources to the interests of young people in the community. The result is a program of activities that helps youth pursue their special interests, grow, and develop.

Exploring programs are based on five areas of emphasis: career opportunities, life skills, citizenship, character education, and leadership experience.

The proceeds from the Community Builder Celebration benefit the Exploring program of Northern Star Scouting.

Contact us

Bill Anderson-Horecka

Development Director
2021 Community Builder Award Celebration