Jake Benesh Outstanding Service Award

Jake Benesh Thumbs UpJake Benesh, a 2010 UW-River Falls (UWRF) graduate, led the 2010 Atlanta, Georgia, Destination trip. He and 9 other UWRF students and faculty helped with the Atlanta disaster relief efforts following the floods of September 2009.

After graduation, Jake spent his summer doing what he loved; working with the Washington County 4-H, fixing motorcycles,traveling on a youth mission trip to Jamaica, and planning for his fall backpacking trip through Europe. He was well-known for doing funny and sometimes weird things just to make someone laugh.

On August 6, 2010, Jake was killed in a motorcycle accident en route to a 4-H Arts-In performance. In every joke he made, action he took, or thumbs up he gave, Jake lived his live in the service of others.

To honor Jake and his commitment to service, the UWRF Destination groups choose a community member to receive the Jake Benesh Outstanding Service Award based on the following criteria.

  • An individual who is a fun, positive role model to others in their community
  • An individual who has energy, passion, and is an engaged community member
  • An individual who focuses on team-building, i.e. creating and/or strengthening relationships

Jake Benesh Service Award Poster 2013

2013 Recipients:

  • Yvette Oldendorf
    Arcola Mills, Stillwater, MN
  • Tamsin McCormic
    Plateau Restoration/Conservation Adventures, Moab, UT
  • Sin Fronteras Youth Group (Without Borders)
    HOPE CommUnity Center, Apopka, FL
  • Ed & Arleen Decker & Case DeWaard
    Once Upon A Time Wilderness Adventures, Maryville, TN
  • Bill, Children’s Creative Corner
    Cincinnati, OH


2012 Recipients:

Jake Benesh Award Poster 2012

  • Gwen Brown
    Freedom Foundation, Selma, AL
  • Cisco
    Friendly House, Phoenix, AZ
  • Emily Mumford
    Freedom Foundation, Selma, AL
  • Pete Bernsten
    Cumberland Trail Conference, Crossville, TN
  • Antoine Scott
    St. Leonard’s Ministries, Chicago, IL
  • Becca Armstrong
    Freedom Foundation, Selma, AL
  • Andrew Jansen
    AmeriCorps, Joplin, MO
  • Mario Kucera
    Outreach360, Dominican Republic
  • Jarvis Cleveland
    Freedom Foundation, Selma, AL