Winchell-Dahl receives award for Wisdom Steps work
Grand Portage Elder Nutrition Program Director Patty Winchell-
Dahl received special recognition at the Wisdom Steps Conference at
the Grand Casino in Hinckley in June. Winchell-Dahl was presented the
“Dr. Allan Allery Award” which is given to an individual involved in
the Wisdom Steps program for “exemplary support and dedication to
The award is named after the man who founded Wisdom Steps, a
preventative health program, to address the troubling fact that
American Indian elders had a higher mortality rate than the rest of
the population. Dr. Allery wanted to do something about it and he
created the program, which focuses on the importance of health
screenings—and movement, especially walking.
The program began in the Twin Cities and Bemidji area. Wisdom Steps
has grown to be a non-profit serving all of the tribes in Minnesota.
Anyone involved in the program can nominate someone that they think
has made a difference in his or her community.
Betty Hoffman of Grand Portage nominated winchell-Dahl.
Reached by the News-Herald after the presentation, Winchell-Dahl said
she wanted to express appreciation to the community and her staff, as
she was so surprised at the award that she didn’t properly thank them.
“The fellow who received the award last year asked, ‘Patty, don’t you
want to say something?’ I couldn’t. I was so flabbergasted. Those who
know me, know I am never at a loss for words, but I was.”
Winchell-Dahl was presented with a beautiful plaque and an honor song
was played for her at the awards banquet.
She added, “It’s a great honor, but I was just doing my job. The
Elders make it easy. We have such an active, involved elder community;
it’s a joy working with them. And I have great staff and support from
the Reservation Tribal Council.”
And the Wisdom Steps program is rewarding, Winchell-Dahl said. It is
growing and can be adapted for any group, not just American Indian
elders. “Young people see us and think ‘we can do it too.’ Elders are
the role models.”