Roger Kozak
District Governor 2009-10
Rotary Club of Vermillion
Roger Kozak was born in Lake Andes, South Dakota. After graduation from high school, he started work on a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration until college was interrupted by a call to serve in the United States Army.  Roger spent the majority of his two years of service stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia, serving as a non-commissioned officer in Battalion Headquarters for the 2nd Engineering Battalion.  After discharge from the U.S. Army, he returned to the classroom and earned a bachelor’s degree from Southern State College and a Masters and Doctorate Degree from the University of South Dakota.
Roger's career was focused on public higher education. After earning advanced degrees, he began teaching in the college classroom and after five years moved into higher education administration and began his administrative career in Pierre, South Dakota. In Pierre, he served four years as the Director of Research for the South Dakota Board of Regents. In 1979, Roger relocated for the last time and moved to Vermillion, South Dakota, where he began a twenty-two-year employment engagement with the University of South Dakota. For the first five years he served as Special Assistant to the President, moved into the position of Associate Vice President for eleven years and completed his employment with the University of South Dakota by serving as Vice President for six years. Roger retired from the University in 2002 and was named Professor and Vice President Emeritus.
During his tenure at the University of South Dakota, Roger was actively involved in the community. He served on the Vermillion City council for seven years, served as Mayor of the city for three years and served on numerous boards and commissions such as the Chamber of Commerce, Vermillion Development Corporation, Junior Achievement, Community Foundation, Dakota Hospital Foundation and others. Roger remained active in University activities by serving on several University committees and by serving on the University of South Dakota Foundation Board of Trustees.
Roger served as a member of Rotary for 30 years. At the club level, Roger served as a member of the Board of Directors and held several officer positions. Roger also served as an Area Assistant Governor for several years for District 5610. Rotary was an important part of Roger's life and continued to increase in importance because of the opportunities Rotary makes available to multiply the efforts of a single individual many times over to make the world a better place for all. When Roger's year as District Governor ended, he began serving as an Assistant Regional Rotary Foundation Coordinator (ARRFC).
Roger resided in Vermillion with his wife, Patricia, both Paul Harris Fellows. When not involved in community volunteer activities, they both enjoyed golfing, traveling, sailing, hiking and kayaking.
Roger Kozak
Service Above Self Award
“In recognition of exceptional service to Rotarians in Rotary District 5610. This award honors the memory of Roger L. Kozak, long-time member of the Vermillion Rotary Club, who served as District Governor, 2009-10, and who distinguished himself as an exceptional servant leader.”
Call for Nominations
Roger L. Kozak Service Above Self Award
“Each year the Roger L. Kozak Service Above Self Award is awarded to one Rotarian in District 5610.  It was conceived in 2016.  It is given in recognition of exceptional service to Rotarians in Rotary District 5610. The award honors the memory of Roger L. Kozak, long-time member of the Vermillion Rotary Club, who served as District 5610 Governor, 2009-10.  Roger Kozak distinguished himself as an exceptionally dedicated servant leader.”
Roger Kozak’s wife, Pat Kozak, once wrote the following:  “I think the Kozak Award should go to someone who lives the Rotary motto of Service Above Self, and applies the Four-Way Test to all aspects of life.  The person should have rendered exceptional service to the community lived in and to the Rotarians of District 5610.”
Past Kozak Award Winners:

2016-17 - Larry Lyngstad, Pierre-Fort Pierre
2017-18 - George Twitero, Rapid City Rushmore
2018-19 - Pat Sutliff, Rapid City Rushmore
2019-20 - Chuck Lindemann, Marshall
2020-21 - No Award (Covid Pandemic)
2021-22 - Dr. Willis Sutliff, Rapid City Rushmore
2022-23 - Steve Sikorski, Downtown Sioux Falls
2023-24 - Carmen Hansen, Rapid City Rushmore
Carmen Hansen: Carmen Hansen of the Rushmore Rotary Club was presented the “Roger Kozak Service Above Self Award” at the 2023 District Conference in Yankton. Started in 2016, the Kozak award is the top honor given to a Rotarian in District 5610 and is given in recognition of exceptional service to Rotarians in Rotary District 5610.

In making the presentation, John Schneider, Immediate Past District Governor, noted that, “this year’s recipient, like most of those who have been honored in the past, probably doesn’t think they deserve this award. This person believes in ‘Service Above Self’ and is a living, walking, breathing example of it.”

Hansen was recognized for her service both in the community and in Rotary District 5610.

Professionally, Hansen worked as the executive assistant to John T. Vucurevich until his passing. She then worked as Grants Director for the Foundation until her retirement in 2016. To date the Foundation has awarded more than $94 million in grants.

Hansen was involved in the inception of the John T. Vucurevich Foundation Speaker Series in 1993 and has served as the coordinator since 2006. In that capacity, Hansen was actively involved with arranging the visits to Rapid City of such notable speakers as Margaret Thatcher, Sandra Day O’Connor, Colin Powell, Jane Goodall, and Carl Sagan.

A past president of the Rapid City Rushmore Rotary Club, Hansen has been serving District 5610 as Membership Chair since 2016 and has helped numerous clubs and District 5610 to develop membership recruitment and retention plans. 

Carmen and Gary Hansen have been married for more than 50 years and have two children, Warren and Christi, and five grandchildren.

Steve Sikorski:  Congratulations to Steve Sikorski of the Downtown Sioux Falls Rotary Club, who was awarded the 2022-23 Roger Kozak Service Above Self Award at the District 5610 celebration conference in Sioux City on the evening of September 23rd.  It was presented to him by Rotary Past International Vice President and Rotary Foundation Trustee Greg Podd.
Steve Sikorski is a dedicated Rotarian, dedicated to Rotary, his community and the world. He is very active in his local Rotary club, Sioux Falls Downtown, and has served as president. In our district he was District Governor in 2015 - 16 and has remained active since that time serving as the District Treasurer for many years. One of Steve’s special loves is working with Hope Haven and Rotary to help deliver wheelchairs around the world especially to Romania where he has worked on special projects and has built many bridges of friendship. Speaking of friendship he has participated in and encouraged others to participate in Rotary Friendship Exchanges, helping to spread Rotary ideals around the world. Steve has also worked very hard supporting his college fraternity SAE and is very active in his church. Through his involvement with Master Gardeners he is working with “Ground Works” introducing S. D. Ag in the Classroom so children can learn where their food comes from. He has built over 150 raised garden beds for schools, daycares and churches. Steve is truly a #Service Above Self” Rotarian.
Willis Sutliff: Willis is a member and past president of Rapid City Rushmore Rotary Club.  He is very active in the club on the International Projects Committee and has worked hard to encourage Global Grants and Local Grants.  He is currently serving on the District's the End Human Trafficking Committee. 

He and his wife, PDG Pat Sutliff have hosted many Youth Exchange Students through the years, attended several Rotary International Conferences and traveled on and hosted several Rotary Friendship Exchanges.  He and Pat are TRF major donors.

Willis is a retired Pediatrician who practiced for 40 some years in Rapid City and helped start Black Hills Pediatrics.  As part of the local hospital board he helped the hospital move forward and add new services. He has a degree from UC Berkeley in Public Health, spent 3 years in the Army in Germany and has served on American Academy of Pediatrics Committees.

Over the years,  Willis has been active in his local community through his church and Habitat for Humanity.  He is currently on the Starting Strong Board and the YFS Board where he will serve as president in 2022-23.  He also serves on several YFS committees.

Willis and Pat have 5 children and 10 grandchildren.
Chuck Lindemann, Assistant Governor from the Marshall Noon Rotary Club, was named “Roger Kozak Service Above Self Award” winner for 2019-20.  Lindemann’s selection was announced during the District business meeting May 29.
Three past district governors, as well as current Governor Ina Winter, nominated Lindemann for the award, established in 2016 to honor the memory of former District Governor Roger Kozak, who served as District Governor 2009-2010.
This award was established to honor Rotarians in District 5610 who have quietly and cheerfully given their time and talents to the service of Rotary and to the service of their community. 
“Chuck Lindemann is one of the most dedicated Rotarians I have ever met,” said PDG and District Treasurer Steve Sikorski.  Winter extolled Lindemann’s AG service, saying, “He is a creative thinker, keeping knowledgeable about new Rotary efforts and programs and wondering how they could benefit his clubs.”
PDG Dave Lorenz said Lindemann is “an honest man with good judgment and someone who daily practices the Rotary 4-Way Test.”
The award honors the memory of Roger Kozak, who distinguished himself as a servant leader in his home town of Vermillion, SD, where he served on the city council for seven years and as Mayor for three years.  He died August 1, 2012.  He was a member of the Vermillion Rotary Club for over 29 years.