Morland stepping down from Sunrise Foundation after more than 30 years

Board members wearing Giving Hearts t-shirt—theme this year is #Count Me—meaning every donation or pledge counts. Pictured from left to right is Bob Morland, Jim Stafford, Bruce Bowman, Rita Freitag, Dr. Jennifer Sarsland, Dr. Sarah Stuchl, Margie Hande, Ron Palczewski, Gary Brennan. (Courtesy Photo)
NOT PICTURED: Bruce Hagen, Wayne Nelson, Patricia Gilbert

The Sunrise Foundation has served area healthcare since 1984, and one of the longest tenured members of the board is stepping down after more than 30 years.

Bob Morland, who has served since the board first formed, has decided that it’s time for someone else to serve.

Pioneer Editor

In talking with the Pioneer, Morland also said that they had instituted time limits for board members, to encourage more turnover to get other voices on the foundation.

“I think [the term limits have] been a good thing,” he said.

Recalling how he got on the board, Morland said, like many other boards he served on he was recruited.

“That’s kind of how it is, you kind of are recruited,” Morland said. “They look for people in different areas of expertise.”

In the last three decades, Morland has seen the foundation grow from a small organization, to an entity that’s help funded thousands of dollars to the area’s healthcare industry. A big boost came at the generosity of a Bowman-area resident.

“We started small and gradually got a little bit bigger,” he said. “The biggest shot in the arm we got was when Alice Travers gave us the $450,000.”

Morland, who couldn’t recall exactly when Traverse gave the donation, said that money gave the group the kick it needed to accomplish their mission, which is to provide financial assistance and support to any and all aspects of healthcare in our service area, which includes the hospital and ambulance services, among other things.

“Our mission is for healthcare related areas,” Morland said.

He also said it was good for young people to serve on local boards, and that you don’t have to be an elected official to participate in your community.

“I think it’s important for people to be involved in their community, whatever it is,” he said. “I think especially young people, it’s a good way for them to be involved. Not everybody has to run for county commissioner [or] city commissioner, there’s lots of other opportunities out there to serve your community.”

Morland stepping down is not the only change recently for the Sunrise Foundation. Another long-time board member is also stepping down. Rita Freitag, who has served on the board for 12 years is also stepping aside for someone new to serve.

Another big change happened at the head of the board. Barbi Narum was appointed as new foundation director, who started in October.

Leah Benz and Ila Kelner will be replacing Morland and Freitag on the board.

The 12-member board is represented by people from Slope, Bowman, and Harding counties. Narum, in an email to the Pioneer, credits the generosity of many individuals throughout the years as having made it possible for the group to disperse funds every year.

The main fundraiser for the organization is Giving Hearts Day, which is always the second Thursday in February. Matching pledges of $2,000 each from Family Dentistry and Prairie Dental, Inc. have already been given.

Giving Hearts Day will be Feb. 8, 2018. More information can be found at

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