“We couldn't believe it, we were overwhelmed and honored ! Broke down crying! We don't have the tournament for recognition, we do it to help children with severe medical needs and to keep Mitch's memory alive!”

That was the reaction from Mitch Carlson’s family when they found out that they would be the 2018 recipient of the St. James Sertoma Club “Service to Mankind Award.”

The award has been given out for the last 40 years and this year the family was chosen as the award winner for their commitment to helping children with medical conditions.

Every year the family hosts a dart tournament in honor of Mitch who passed away in 1992 after a car accident.

Since Mitch loved children and didn’t have any of his own the family decided that when they started running the tournament a few years ago they would try to raise money for children in need.

“ It is our way to keep Mitch's memory alive, to honor him, he loved kids and was never honored to have children! God has given us the strength to keep this great cause going all these years! We never dreamed the first few years that we would still be doing it and how much it has grown!”

Mitch’s family also has a previous connection to the award. In the 2nd year of the award being given out Mitch’s Grandma Ida Hanson was the award recipient. Receiving the same award as Hanson is something that her descendants are very proud of.

“We are honored and blessed to receive this award and share it with Ida Hanson, a remarkable woman, who was the second recipient of this award!”

By winning the award they also hope that they can promote the annual fundraiser more and make people aware that it’s more than just a dart tournament.

“Hopefully, this recognition will help everyone realize we are more than just a dart tournament! We are a benefit raising money for children with severe medical needs in our community and everyone is welcomed and encouraged to attend!

The Carlson family would also like to thank all of the different people, businesses and organizations who have helped out over the years.

Some in particular include Ilene Carlson who is in charge of donations, Wendy and Brad Carlson who organize the silent auction and door prizes and Jo Carlson who is in charge of the food for the annual fundraiser.

Over the years the family has also received plenty of support from family, friends, classmates, the St. James Fire Department and Thrivent who has helped out every year.

Be sure to learn more about the annual Mitch Carlson Dart Tournament by attending the 40th annual Service to Mankind Award Presentation on Sunday, July 8 from 3 until 5 p.m. at the VFW.