When Kenneth Halverson volunteers, it is with conviction and commitment. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Lewis and Clark Behavioral Health Services for 33 years, establishing programs to meet the ever-changing mental health needs. He was instrumental in the establishment of a training center and in the development of community support programs for those with severe mental illnesses.
After volunteering for the Habitat for Humanity project at Eagle Butte in 1994, which resulted in the construction of 30 houses in five days, Halverson established a Habitat for Humanity chapter in Yankton. One of the primary needs in Yankton is adequate housing for low-income families. In the short duration of this program, seven homes and a duplex have been built with the guidance of the organization, the sweat equity of the families and the generous sharing of time, energy, and resources of many volunteers. The crew works every Wednesday and Saturday on the homes; however, many additional hours of labor are given by Halverson and the crew leaders to be organized for the next workday.
Halverson has been involved with all aspects of each of the housing projects – from fundraising to working with the family members to laying the foundation to painting the walls. Halverson recruits and welcomes volunteers – skilled or unskilled. He finds a job for young and old volunteers and teaches them necessary skills. He has recruited groups of corporate volunteers, youth confirmation classes, and families seeking ways to serve others.
United Methodist Church is the spiritual home for Halverson, where he is a member of the choir and has served on a variety of committees and boards. He and his wife Mary Alice have helped with Meals on Wheels and other volunteer projects. He was one of five individuals honored as South Dakota’s Volunteers of the Year in 1999. A retired surgeon, Kenneth Halverson said that volunteering “helps me sleep, because I’ve been doing something to help others.”