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Doane's champion of spirit

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Sigma Phi Theta group members stand with alumni Isernhagen while he receives the award.

Doane’s inaugural Community Spirit Award was presented to Dennis Isernhagen. 

“In the spirit of celebrating tradition and homecoming, it’s important that we recognize the relationship that’s existed between Doane and Crete since Doane’s founding,” a Doane University Alumni Facebook post announcing the award said. 

Isernhagen graduated from Doane in 1966 and went on to be a teacher and later an administrator in Nebraska schools. 

Isernhagen and his wife, Jody, have lived in Crete for 25 years and “have worked to help make Crete a better place for everyone in the community,” a press release from Doane University said. 

Isernhagen serves as an alumni mentor to Sigma Phi Theta fraternity and works on their scholarship committee as well as supports and organizes their volunteer work with the Crete Backpack Program. He also works the Doane Track and Field meets and volunteers at Doane’s annual fishing derby on campus for area children. 

“When all of that isn’t keeping him busy, you’ll find him actively supporting area youth at Crete High School and Doane University sporting events,” the press release said. 

The Isernhagens are active members of the First Congregational United Christ of Church in Crete and Dennis has served on the church council. 

Isernhagen also has been very active in Crete Public Schools. He served a two-year term on the Crete Public Schools Board of Education during the time the new high school was being built. He also has spent the last three years cutting grass for the school district for free. 

Fall Festivals emcee Kennerly Benraty, Doane and Sigma Phi Theta alumni who graduated in 2018 presented the award and noted that he had worked with Isernhagen on numerous Sigma Phi Theta events.

“His (Isernhagen) dedication is rooted in an authentic interest in helping the men develop into responsible community members who can see the value in true servant leadership,” Benraty said. 

This award was given at the Fall Festival celebration that kicked off Homecoming on Sunday, October 7, at Osterhaut Lane on campus.