There are people who stand out as strong, efficient and dedicated leaders. Barbara Berntsen is such a person.
Barbara became a member of Sons of Norway in 1972, and got involved in the activities of Garborg Lodge, and held various offices, including those of Secretary, and President, the latter from 1996 to 1999. Other notable lodge offices she held were Foundation Director and Cultural Director. As Cultural Director she has produced articles in the lodge newsletter covering the rich Norwegian cultural history, something she is still doing in her lodge newsletter as the assistant editor. It is worth mentioning also that Barbara was the chair of the Bazaar Committee for 10 years, proving her talents as an organizer, as well as her dedication to the lodge.
Barbara emerged at the District level when she served as the Secretary of the Convention Committee for the 1996 District Convention hosted by the District in the Catskills. Two years later she was elected District Secretary, a post she held for 6 years. Having been involved at this level in the District, we know that the Secretary’s job is demanding and time consuming, but Barbara tackled the job confidently and efficiently, with an amazing ability to get things done in time. During the last two years of her time as District Secretary she also served as Secretary for the 2004 International Convention Committee for the convention hosted by the Third District in Washington D.C.
Barbara was also a Leadership Workshop facilitator for the District and has served on several convention committees during and after her time as District President. During her time as District President she served as Secretary on what is now referred to as the District Presidents Advisory Committee. At some point during her presidency, companies were getting into extraction of shale gas in Pennsylvania, and leased excavation rights from property owners. Barbara became aware that this was happening in the LOV area and took action that eventually lead to signing the deal that paid 3D Limited almost $ 230,000. This alone should make her worthy of a prize.
Following her four years as District President, Barbara was elected International Director for the years 2008-2012. During the last two years of her term as International Director she was elected International Youth Director by the International Board. On the International Board she served on several committees. She chaired the Benefits Committee, and she was on the Lund Family Fund Committee, raising funds to establish the Lund Family Fund for the Sons of Norway Foundation. To crown her many efforts and achievements at the international Board level, Barbara was the secretary of the Charter, Constitutions and Procedures Committee, which made its recommendations to the International Lodge Meeting in 2012.
Land of the Vikings has been near and dear to Barbara’s heart, and she and husband Roy has spent endless hours working at the facility. There are some of us remembering Barbara crawling under the floor of the main building tracing electrical wires, or clearing snow off the roof. And for the last several years she has served on the LOV Board as Secretary.
It will come as no surprise that Sons of Norway is not the only organization Barbara has been interested in and helped. She has been involved with the 17th of May Committee for the Greater New York, and for many years has been Secretary and Greater Chair of the organization. She has been working with the Norwegian Immigration Association, and was their Membership Secretary for many years, and she lent her organizational talent to the Nassau County, NY, District PTA, where she was Vice President from 1994 to 1998.
There is no doubt that Barbara Berntsen is deserving of the Lifetime Achievement Award and I am proud and honored to submit her name as a candidate.
Zone 3 Director and past District President