State award: Holly Mayer-Taft honored with Outstanding Service Award

Submitted Photo Holly Mayer-Taft, middle, receives the North Dakota Department of Health Association’s Outstanding Service Award from Dr. Monica Mayer, left, Three Affiliated Tribes’ North Segment Councilwoman. She will officially receive the award in June at the Dakota Conference on Rural and Public Health Awards banquet at the Alerus Conference Center, Grand Forks.

NEW TOWN – Holly Mayer-Taft was caught by surprise when she was informed last month that she was selected for the North Dakota Department of Health Association’s Outstanding Service Award.

The award honors an individual for outstanding work or achievement over their lifetime in the field of public health in North Dakota.

“Holly is one of the few nurses we have at Elbowoods Memorial Health Clinic who has dedicated 29 years and nine months to the people of the Three Affiliated Tribes. We are eternally grateful for all her years of service,” said Dr. Monica Mayer, Three Affiliated Tribes’ North Segment councilwoman.

A ceremony was held in Mayer-Taft’s honor in the council chambers at the Tribal Administration Building, west of New Town, Feb. 16.

Initially, Mayer-Taft was nominated for Public Health Worker of the Year but the Health Department committee felt she was deserving of the Outstanding Service Award instead.

Mayer-Taft received her bachelors in nursing from the University of North Dakota and her master’s in science nursing from Walden University. She works at the Elbowoods Memorial Health Center in Parshall.

“Holly is a lifelong learner always looking to learn something new to implement for the betterment of our people,” Mayer said in a nomination letter.

“Nurses who work in Public Health do not get enough credit for the care and dedication they give to their community on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation,” Mayer added.

Mayer-Taft has implemented a number of programs in communities, also collaborating with many tribal agencies on Fort Berthold.

Deborah Wells, Health and Safety administrator, with 4 Bears Casino & Lodge, west of New Town, said Mayer-Taft has trained the casino and lodge’s security officers in basic life support from 2013 to present. “…she has been instrumental by ensuring that our security officers are prepared to apply what they have learned in collaboration with (the) 4BCL (4 Bears Casino & Lodge) mission to keep our environment safe. She goes above and beyond to explain each procedure to help our officers understand the importance of their role being certified CPR during life-threatening situations,” said Wells in her letter of support.

Nelson Heart Jr., Three Affiliated Tribes chief of police, said Mayer-Taft is “knowledgeable in her resources and being able to make things happen.” In a letter of support, he said the drug epidemic is a major concern in the community and Mayer-Taft has trained a number of police officers to give Naloxone.

“Mrs. Mayer-Taft” has shown great leadership in improving health for the people in our communities. She utilizes her expertise to provide health services in health promotion and disease prevention. She is willing to go the extra mile to make sure people are educated and prepared when it comes to their overall health. Her professionalism and caring attitude is essential to making positive efforts to optimize the quality of life on the reservation,” Heart continued.

Jacobi Jarski, Parshall Unit director of the Three Affiliated Tribes’ Boys & Girls Club, said Mayer-Taft and the club have collaborated on numerous projects, including organizing and hosting two local Punt, Pass & Kick competitions, providing teaching materials to staff, health presentations, staff CPR certification and youth wellness screenings.

“She is not only a positive role model to our youth, but she is a prime example of what setting goals and working hard to achieve them can do to benefit our community,” Jarski said in a letter of support. “Her dedication to the youth is an amazing asset to our community and should be recognized as such.”

Cliff Whitman Sr., Three Affiliated Tribes emergency manager, who has known Mayer-Taft for many years, said she “takes great pride in her job and profession.”

“When it comes to all health issues Holly is very supportive to whomever it may be. She works well with the public and is an overall very caring person,” Whitman said in his letter of support.

Mayer-Taft will formally receive the award in June at the 2018 Dakota Conference on Rural and Public Health Awards banquet at the Alerus Conference Center, Grand Forks.

(Prairie Profile is a weekly feature profiling interesting people in our region. We welcome suggestions from our readers. Call Editor Mike Sasser at 857-1959 or Regional Editor Eloise Ogden at 857-1944. Either can be reached at 1-800-735-3229. You also can send e-mail suggestions to