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Richard Tobin Benevolence Awards

Established nearly two decades ago, these awards honor our agents' success and causes or organizations significant to them and their community.

Each year, Catholic Order of Foresters' top 20 agents earn Richard Tobin Benevolence Awards. These awards, established in 2006, are made possible through Catholic Order of Foresters' Welfare and Relief Fund. The late High Chief Ranger Richard Tobin created this fund to allocate money for fraternal good. Each agent who earns a Richard Tobin Benevolence Award chooses a Catholic organization to receive the $500 donation - schools, religious groups, pro-life causes and more from around the country have been named as recipients. To date, $143,500 has been donated to local and/or Catholic organizations as a result of these awards. 


Antonio Alvarado | Arlington Heights, Illinois
Alvarado, who has earned a Richard Tobin Award for eight years, chose The Church of Holy Apostles to receive the donation. It will be used to help feed 140 families in need in this community. "I was excited to learn that I received the award," Alvarado said. "It's a nice way to give back."

Larry Feldt | Sauk Centre, Minnesota
Feldt chose Central Minnesota Lifecare Center. This organization supports women throughout their pregnancy and after their giving birth. It provides several necessities, including formula, clothing, cribs and car seats as well as counseling and education programs. When he learned he had earned an award, Feldt said, “[I was] very excited to know I had the privilege of helping such a worthwhile cause.” The donation will be used for program support for young mothers and their infant children.

Agent Larry Feldt, right, presents his donation check to a pro-life organization in Minnesota.

Dan Zentner | Cedar Rapids, Nebraska
Zentner chose St. Michael Catholic School. “Several of my friends and clients and their families are current or former students at St. Michael’s,” Zentner said about why he chose this school to receive the donation. “It is always nice to be recognized as an agent and a good feeling to be able to help a school like St. Michael’s.” The donation will be used for updates in technology at the school.

Agent Dan Zentner, right, presents his Richard Tobin Award donation.

Brian Marketon | Waverly, Minnesota
Marketon, who has been an agent with COF for more than a decade, chose Holy Trinity Catholic School in Winsted, Minnesota, and St. Maximilian Kolbe School of Delano, Minnesota, to receive the funds associated with the award. “I was humbled and feel honored to serve our members,” Marketon said when he learned he had earned the award. The donation will be used to support Catholic education, since, Marketon says, “That represents the future of our faith.”

General Agent Brian Marketon, left, presents a portion of his Richard Tobin Award to the principal of St. Maximilian Kolbe School.

Holly Schweitzer | California, Kentucky
Schweitzer was honored to receive the award. “What a gift it is to be able to give this back to the community!” she said. “I chose this organization because Sts. Peter & Paul school is very near and dear to my heart,” Schweitzer said. She is graduate of the school, as are her father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. She is proud to see a fifth generation – her daughters – attend the school today. “The principal, teachers, and staff have gone above and beyond, especially this past year with the world pandemic,” she said, adding how “absolutely amazing” they are and recognizing the hard work they have put in to keep the school safe and as normal as possible for the students. “They are a true example of discipleship and servanthood,” she says of the principal, teachers, and staff. “This school is enriching lives and spreading Jesus into the world through these children!”

Richard Oligmueller | Dakota City, Nebraska
General Agent Richard Oligmueller earned a Richard Tobin Award from Catholic Order of Foresters! Oligmueller chose the Jackson Public Library in Jackson, Nebraska, to receive the proceeds from the award. “Reading is an important staple in a person's life,” Oligmueller said. The donation will be used to purchase new children and adult books and items for the summer reading program.

General Agent Rich Oligmueller, left, presents his Richard Tobin Award donation to a local library.

Anthony Owens | Columbus, Nebraska
Owens chose St. Bonaventure’s Catholic Preschool to receive the monetary donation associated with the award. “My daughter is a student at the preschool and my son will be next year,” Owen said, explaining why he chose this school to receive the funds. “I thought it'd be a great way to give back to the school since it has given so much to our family.” 

Agent Anthony Owens, left, and his daughter present Anthony's Richard Tobin Award donation to a local Catholic school.

Roger Bockweg | Fort Wright, Kentucky
Bockweg, who is a first-time recipient of the award, chose Friends of the Rose Garden Mission, Inc. to receive the monetary donation associated with the award. “They serve the poor with food and clothing and also help with crisis pregnancies,” Bockweg said of the organization’s work. He was “very happy” when he learned the won the award. “[I am] excited I can help one of my favorite charities,” Bockweg added. The donation will be used to support operating costs. Bockweg explained, “The Friends of the Rose Garden Home Mission is the non-profit that is responsible for the building, vehicles and infrastructure that keeps the center open and operating [while] helping the needy with food, clothing and crisis pregnancy support.”

Tom Kaelin | Fort Wright, Kentucky
General Agent Tom Kaelin of Fort Wright, Kentucky, has earned a Richard Tobin Benevolence Award from Catholic Order of Foresters (COF)! Kaelin chose Night Out for Norah, INC., to receive the donation from COF associated with the award.

Night Out for Norah, or NOFN, is a nonprofit whose main goal is to spread awareness of Cystic Fibrosis. The organization is named for Kaelin’s nine-year-old niece, Norah, who was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis just weeks after she was born. “We had to do an internet search to learn more about Cystic Fibrosis,” Kaelin said, alluding to the lack of information available. “We were determined to bring awareness and to help find the cure.”

Annually, NOFN holds a large fundraiser with all of proceeds being donated to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation as well as local organizations directly involved in finding a cure. 2020 proved to be a difficult year for the organization because there weren’t able to hold their annual fundraiser. “There is already incredible energy surrounding this year’s scheduled event,” Kaelin said. “I am grateful to be able to donate this Tobin Award to NOFN to ensure the 2021 event will happen.”

General Agent Tom Kaelin, center, presents his Richard Tobin Award donation to his nieces in support of Night Out for Norah.


Richard Tobin Award Recipients PY 2019

Roger Klein | Arcadia, Wisconsin
Catholic Order of Foresters General Agent Roger Klein, of Arcadia, Wisconsin, earned a Richard Benevolence Tobin Award! He has chosen to donate the $500 associated with the award to the Hosea Initiative at Holy Family Parish in Arcadia. This organization has a mission to support the pro-life movement by educating Americans about the deception of pro-abortion advocates. “Because I am firmly pro-life,” Klein explains, “I chose the Hosea initiative [to receive the funds] and hope to bring clarity about the evil of abortion and the sanctity of life.”

Rick Niklas | Covington, Kentucky
Catholic Order of Foresters Agent Richard Niklas earned a Richard Tobin Award from Catholic Order of Foresters for the first time. Niklas chose the Sisters of Notre Dame to receive the money associated with the award. “I chose this organization because I’ve always admired my aunt, Sr. M. Joan Terese Niklas, for choosing her vocation as a sister right out of high school, and knowing that was her calling for the rest of her life,” Niklas said. After taking her vows in 1955, Sr. M. Joan Terese Niklas taught in elementary schools for 15 years, earned a master’s degree in Religious Studies from Providence College, and ministered as a director of religious education in parishes in Ohio and Kentucky. She then followed her calling to work with the deaf by learning sign language and signing at Sunday Mass. The donation will be used for the ongoing ministries of the Sisters.

Rich Oligmueller | Dakota City, Nebraska
General Agent Rich Oligmueller donated the proceeds from his Richard Tobin Award to St. Patrick Catholic Parish in Jackson, Nebraska. The funds from the award will be used to create additional handicap parking spaces at the church. Donations to the church are down as a result of COVID-19, and this kind of project can be very expensive. Rich describes how he felt when he learned he earned the award: “Thankful,” he said, adding he enjoys helping organizations in need. “Parking is important to those who are not mobile.”

Kelly Mauer | Plainview, Nebraska
Catholic Order of Foresters Agent Kelly Mauer earned a Richard Tobin Award for the 15th time. Cumulatively, he’s earned $7,500, and it’s all been donated to community organizations and local causes. This year, Mauer chose to donate the money to St. Paul’s Religious Education Program in Plainview, Nebraska. “I’m not the kind of guy who shows much emotion, but I was humbled,” Mauer said, explaining his reaction when he learned he would receive the award. “With church services being suspended due to COVID-19, collections have been affected,” Mauer explained. These collections support, in part, the CCD (religious education) program at St. Paul Church. “Since our community has no Catholic school, CCD is the only structured religious education our youth receive other than what is taught at home,” Mauer concluded. The donation may be used on supplies, snacks or something else fun for the students, but the CCD teachers will decide exactly what it is.

Ryan Maschmeyer | Union, Kentucky
Ryan chose to donate the proceeds to Go Pantry in Florence, Kentucky. “Knowing that Catholic Order of Foresters’ top agents earn the award, I was proud to be recognized for the work I did in helping my clients during the past year,” he said. Go Pantry is an organization that provides food to local children who do not have enough to eat at home. The pantry and volunteers provide GO BOXES and GO BAGS for children during school breaks and weekends during the school year, respectively. “The thought of one hungry child pulls our heart strings,” the organization’s website reads. “The idea of many hungry children makes us get up and do something.”

As for why Ryan chose Go Pantry to receive the donation, he explained how having a stocked pantry at home can be taken for granted. “There are kids in my community who don’t have that luxury,” he elaborated. “With schools being closed due to COVID-19, Go Pantry has been an extra valuable resource to many families during these times.” The donation will fill GO BOXES – which supply multiple meals – and provide nutritional food to children who would not otherwise have access to such food.



Anthony Owens | Columbus, Nebraska
This is first time Anthony has won the award. He
chose to donate the proceeds associated with the award to Missionary Benedictine Sisters in Norfolk. “The sisters run a facility that hosts a variety of great spiritual events,” Owens explained when asked why he chose this organization. “A couple of them used to teach at my elementary school.” Anthony Owens’ brother, Tyson Owens, also received a Richard Tobin Benevolence Award this year.

Brian Marketon | Delano, Minnesota
Brian, an agent in COF’s Central Minnesota Agency, chose two different organizations to receive the proceeds of his award: Holy Trinity School in Winsted, Minn., and St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish in Delano, Minn. “This is a small K-12 Catholic school,” he said of Holy Trinity. “If there is any way to support the school, I like to do so.” Holy Trinity School will use the $250 donation for the gym floor restoration project. St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish will use the $250 donation it received for the marriage enrichment programs. “There are new programs starting this year, and these funds will help get those programs off the ground,” Brian explained, adding that he wants to support the growth in any way he can.

Frank Bradley | Denmark, Wisconsin
Hedonated the money associated with the award to St. James Church - where the money will be used to purchase new bibles for the parish - and to All Saints in Denmark where the Catholic school will use the money to purchase books. He chose these organizations because of their Catholic values. 

Jim Pappas | Westville, Indiana
General Agent Jim Pappas chose to donate the proceeds associated with the award to St. Mary Catholic Church in Griffith, Ind. The donation will be used for Totus Tuus, a program the church hosts. 

Kelly Mauer | Plainview, Nebraska
He chose to donate the proceeds to St. Paul’s Relief Fund in Plainview. “Recent flooding has affected many statewide,” Kelly said when asked why he chose this cause. “Volunteering time is important, but funds are also needed to replace the basic necessities of daily living.” The donation will be used purchase either daily living supplies or building materials to help families or businesses recover.

Dan Zentner | Cedar Rapids, Nebraska
He chose to donate the proceeds to the Primrose Fire Department and the Cedar Rapids Fire Department. The departments will use the donation for bunker gear updates. “Cedar Rapids Fire works closely with Primrose Fire Department,” Dan, who volunteers with the Cedar Rapids Fire Department, said. “As a member, I know funds are needed to keep things going.”

Roger Klein | Arcadia, Wisconsin
General Agent Roger Klein He chose to donate the proceeds associated with the award to Holy Family School in Arcadia. “The school is growing in enrollment,” Roger said of why he chose the organization. “So much so that we are building an addition!” The money will be used for text books and computers to benefit students’ education.

Janet Woods | Gilbertville, Iowa
General Agent Janet Woods chose to donate the money associated with the award to Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. “Immaculate Conception is my hometown parish where I have received all of my sacraments,” Woods said. “They've recently ordained a new priest from this parish and also have a parishioner who will be ordained a deacon soon.” The money will assist the parish in purchasing vestments for the new deacon. 

Tom Kaelin | Fort Wright, Kentucky
General Agent Tom Kaelin chose to donate the money associated with the award to Sisters of Divine Providence in Melbourne, Kentucky. Tom's aunt, Sr. Jane Francis, has devoted her life to the Sisters and inspired Tom along the way. “She has been a faithful servant and blessing to so many people,” he said. “She has touched so many lives through prayer, hard work, gentle words, and a kind heart. Over the years I have become acquainted with many of the sisters, and they are so welcoming. To visit them is such a joy.” The Sisters will use the donation to live out their mission of being living witnesses to the Providence of God. 

Tyson Owens | Columbus, Nebraska
He chose to donate the proceeds associated with the award to St. Bonaventure Catholic School. When asked why he chose this organization, Owens said, “Students learn very early on that Christ is present and active in their lives.” He continued, “They see God's love all around them every day at school. The students become instruments of God's grace in the world. We are truly blessed to have St. Bonaventure Catholic School in our community.” The donation will be used to help students grow in their faith and education. 

Rich Oligmueller | Jackson, Nebraska
General Agent Richard Oligmueller chose to donate the proceeds from the award to Jackson Public Library in Jackson, Neb. “The donation will be used for the summer reading program and incentives and activities,” he said. “It’s a small community library. The donation will be very helpful.”

Ryan Maschmeyer | Cold Spring, Kentucky
earned a Richard Tobin Benevolence Award for the ninth consecutive year. Ryan chose Rose Garden Mission to receive the donation this year. “As a parent of two children with a third on the way, I know the excitement that comes along with having a new baby…along with the variety of items parents need as they welcome a baby into the world,” he says. The Pregnancy and Support Program at Rose Garden Mission provides pregnancy care services and essential baby items for people in need. The donation will be used to purchase “new baby welcome baskets”, which are a part of the Pregnancy and Support Program.

 Please note, not every winner is listed above. 
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