Two Selected for Prestigious Fellingham Award

2023 Fellingham Recipients Kathryn Speith Kirst (left) and Ron Workman (right).


Insider Editor

Two Seven Lakes Residents received the prestigious Fellingham Award at the annual meeting of Seven Lakes West Landowners Association on March 19. This year’s recipients are Kathryn Speith Kirst and Ron Workman.

The Fellingham Award was inspired by SLW resident Ted Northrup. According to a history of the award by Carolyn Sink, Northrup was “a very prominent and popular member of the community. Upon his death in 2005, members of the community raised hopes for honoring his contributions at the annual meeting. A committee, chaired by then board member Jo Nicholas, was formed by the board of directors to explore a formal process for a special civic recognition. 

The award, initiated by Northrup’s memory, was first granted in 2006 to George Fellingham, endearingly known as the “George Washington of Seven Lakes West” for his key leadership role in the development of SLW. 

So singular and significant were Fellingham’s hard work and vision for the community, that there were no further nominated members for several years. “The Board felt that there was no member who met the standards established by Joe Fellingham,” writes Sink. 

Finally, in 2011, the award was designated The Joe Fellingham Award for Community Service. In the intervening years, 18 residents have been named Fellingham Award recipients.

According to the written purpose of the recognition: “The Fellingham Award is dedicated to those members of the Seven Lakes West Landowners Association who have made a significant and enduring contribution to the improvement of the community of such magnitude as to generate the admiration and respect of the community as a whole.”

Recipients have given ten or more years of making a “significant and enduring contribution to the improvement of the community of such magnitude as to generate the admiration and respect of the community as a whole,” according to the award criteria.

Additionally, they have sustained the community’s quality of life, had a positive impact on the lives of SLW members and created opportunities for the community through new facilities or programs. In some years, more than one nominee has received the recognition, though there is no requirement one must be selected annually.

This year’s recipients embody the characteristics of a Fellingham Award recipient.

Kirst moved to SLW in 1999, but according to her nomination form, she would have 48 combined years of service when adding all her varied committee work together. 

She previously served on the Board of Directors as treasurer, where she made significant contributions to financial policies and procedures to ensure fiscal responsibility. Kirst has also contributed to the overall vision of SLW, contributing to a 2006 Lake Auman Master Plan and working with both the Long Range Planning and Leadership Support committees in 2019 on developing a governance structure with the best parts of their efforts. 

Other committees benefiting from her leadership include the Library Committee, the Recruiting COmmittee, the Judicial Panel and the Leadership Support Committee. Outside of SLW she has served on an independent committee to explore and evaluate the possibility of incorporation for Seven Lakes and has been an active member of Seven Lakes Kiwanis Club and the Lake Auman Sailing Club. She has also volunteered at Clara McClean House and First Health Hospital.

A SLW resident for 19 years, Workman has contributed to the quality of life by volunteering his time and engineering talents through numerous projects. Described in his nomination form as one who works quietly and unselfishly, Workman takes initiative and addresses needs without being asked. 

Some of those needs include helping with the Lake Auman Sports Club fish food projects, initiating a licensed program for controlling the goose population adding boards and cleats to bulkheads at Johnson Point and Pine Island allowing for safe docking boats. He helped outfit, along with other community members, the storage building near the yard waste, donating many personal tools and items used by and for the community. 

He has also contributed his time and energy over the years to the Amenities Committee, the Events Committee, and the Architectural Review Committee. 

Nominations for the Fellingham are annually sought from the community by the SLWLA Leadership Support Committee and the recipient is chosen by a committee formed by previous Fellingham Award recipients. Nominations forms and recipient criteria are available on the Leadership Support Committee page on the SLW website.  

Contact Maggie Beamguard at