Brodina named this year's Unsung Hero

Amy Heilman
Local Happenings

DEVILS LAKE - Two local agencies have come together again to thank a local community member for their efforts in the community. 

Lake Chevrolet Buick GMC and Ramsey Bank are excited to announce that Dustin Brodina has been named the latest Unsung Hero recipient!

“It’s all about the kids. It’s about giving youth the opportunity to be a part of something.” states Dustin Brodina, our latest Unsung Hero.

“It’s all about the kids. It’s about giving youth the opportunity to be a part of something.”

Dustin is originally from Lankin, ND and graduated from Fordville/Lankin High School. He attended college at the University of Minnesota Crookston where he received a degree in Natural Resources Management and also played football and basketball.

It seems wherever Dustin Brodina lives, he finds a way to give back to the youth in the community. Dustin and his wife Christa have four kids, all of whom are involved in activities, but even before they could swing the bat or shoot the ball, Dustin was helping provide opportunities for kids.

His position at the USDA office has taken him around the state for different jobs. Prior to moving to Devils Lake, Dustin and his family lived near Milton, ND and his kids attended the Langdon Daycare Center in Langdon, ND. If you know Dustin, you know he isn’t afraid to get involved and shortly after moving to Langdon, he became a board member at the daycare. Dustin said they could see a need for a larger facility and knew in order to keep the young people living in the town, something needed to be done – adding on to the daycare. Dustin decided to lead the charge. The plan included doubling the size of the current daycare and adding more programs and staff to enhance the great daycare that was already in place. Many hours of planning and meetings resulted in a daycare expansion that was a complete success. Dustin says with a smile, “We did it!”

Dustin also started a youth basketball camp in Langdon as well as a youth flag football league. He said it was easy to get these programs started because parents wanted their kids to be active and were willing to help out to make it a success.

In 2014, Dustin and his family moved to Devils Lake. New to the community, it didn’t take long for him to get involved. In the fall he started coaching youth football and then moved into coaching youth basketball in the winter. Dustin continues to coach both of these sports.

In 2015, Dustin started the Cal Ripken youth baseball program which has been growing ever since. “I wasn’t sure how this was all going to work out but, we began with a tryout and we haven’t looked back.” With this new Cal Ripken Baseball Organization growing there was a need for a new field. In 2017, Dustin once again led the charge to build a new Cal Ripken field at Ruger Park in conjunction with the Devils Lake Park Board. “Many hours of work and help from lots of volunteers made this project a success. Devils Lake now has one of the premier Cal Ripken fields in the state which includes lights!” This is evident as teams from other communities are excited to come to Devils Lake to play.

Dustin organized the first annual Midwest Showcase this spring and teams from Fargo, Bemidji and Grand Forks came to play. Just this past weekend, the Cal Ripken Youth Baseball

tournament was held in Devils Lake for the 10U and 12U teams. Teams from Fargo, West Fargo, Bismarck, Grand Forks, Minot, Jamestown, Hillsboro/Hatton/Northwood and Carrington participated. Dustin realizes that when Devils Lake hosts these tournaments it’s not only a huge win for our kids, but also for our community. The teams stay in motels, eat at restaurants and spend money in our stores. It’s a real boost to our community.

In order to enter tournaments, buy equipment and supplies, many hours of fundraising must take place. Dustin is a great organizer and with the help of the parents, they have been able to raise enough funds to support the programs. Whether it’s a steak fry, golf tournament or banner sponsorship program, Dustin gets everyone involved to support the kids.

“Our programs have a culture of team building and we do this on and off the field. We not only play baseball but we get together and do fun family stuff as well.” Dustin has formed a relationship with the Fargo Red Hawks and the teams have been introduced at games for the past couple of years. “I want our kids and parents to have as many positive experiences as possible.” The team does a lot of pot lucks and grilling while out of town, and of course, swimming at the motel is always a highlight! Dustin is always looking toward the future and his hope is that Devils Lake can field a team for each Cal Ripken age group.

Dustin keeps busy with volunteer coaching, but in his spare time he enjoys hunting and fishing. He is also a Religious Ed teacher at St. Joseph Catholic Church, a member of the Knights of Columbus and active with the Lake Region Sportsman’s Club.

Just recently, Dustin was named the Head Boys Basketball Coach for Devils Lake High School. I think it is safe to say we can expect the same passion and culture that he has created with youth sports to continue in his new coaching role!

Thank you, Dustin for giving back and being a true Unsung Hero.

The Unsung Hero program started over 25 years ago and recognizes those who go above and beyond to make the Lake Region a better place. If you are interested in nominating someone for the Unsung Hero, contact Stacey Dimmler at sdimmler@bergstromcars.com or Amy Heilman at aheilman@ramseybank.com.

Be sure to follow Devils Lake Journal on our twitter page, @devilslakenews, and like us on Facebook!