It's not unusual for Dean and Jan Monson to eat at Spaulding's Sports Bar in Chokio on a Wednesday evening. But Dean noticed something different on Wednesday, Dec. 12.


"I kept saying 'what are all these people doing here?'" he said. Spaulding's was packed that night because of Dean Monson. Monson is the latest recipient of the Pay It Forward Stevens County Award. The award is given by a group of businesses in the county to honor a person's contributions to the county or community.



The recipients aren't notified in advance of the award but the owners of Spaulding's used an announcement on Facebook to make sure the community turned out for the presentation. Monson doesn't use Facebook so the secret was still kept.


"I had no idea what was going on," Monson said. Not only we he surprised by the award, "I'm humbled," Monson said. "I never believed I'd get anything like this."


Monson was nominated by high-schooler IvyRose Kosbab. Kosbab's nomination letter shared 11 specific examples of why Monson deserved the award.


Some of those 11 examples are: Monson has helped kids in the community who need vehicles, he borrows out his 'pride and joy' vehicles for the local high school prom, he's donated two grills, grillers and pork for a community event, he's helped the local fire department and supports the Chokio-Alberta School District in numerous ways.


Kosbab talked to members of the community to compile her list yet she know the list wasn't complete. "I know that this is just the beginning or the tip of the iceberg," Kosbab said in the letter. "...I can imagine there are many things we don't know about and probably never will!"


"The whole community knows they can count on Dean if they need help," Kosbab said in her nomination letter.


"I just love my community," Monson said of why he helps and supports organizations and people.


He learned about supporting others through his moth Rachel Monson, he said.


Monson said she was the "best mother" and "she gave her heart and soul to the community and her church."

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Pay It Forward Stevens County is a group that recognizes individuals who have, through their volunteerism, made a positive impact on the lives of others in the community. Nominations can come from anyone, and the Pay It Forward group reviews the nominations on a monthly basis to pick one person who best exemplifies paying it forward. Pay It Forward Stevens County is sponsored by Morris Pizza Ranch, Stevens County Times, Bank of the West, West Central Screen and Print, the Regional Fitness Center, Riverview, Superior Industries and Hancock Concrete, Stevens Community Medical Center, KMRS/KKOK Radio Stations and Shear Designs. Nominations can be dropped off at any of the participating businesses.