David Award Recipients

David was a man after God’s own heart, and who lived his life in a way we can all learn from. The David Award is presented to individuals who have demonstrated these characteristics in their own lives, fully pursuing a God-first life through adversity and hardship.

Charles & Char Handy

Perseverance

In March of 2016, Charles Handy’s life was turned completely upside down. What was supposed to be a routine surgery for prostate cancer, turned out to be a life-threatening nightmare. After the initial procedure, complications developed and Charles had to have a total of 5 surgeries, which also resulted in a stroke. Since his stroke, he has had to re-learn the use of his arms and legs, and certain brain functions dealing primarily with speech. Obviously with speech issues, his passion for singing has been greatly affected. Charles has had so many reasons to give up, but with God’s help, he has chosen to fight. He now plays golf again. He now drives again. He continues to push forward with physical and speech therapy and does not settle for staying where he’s at. Charles will tell you that this last year has been the toughest thing he has ever had to battle, but he will also say that he has learned so much, and is a better person because of it. He has been a blessing to so many people and gives us all an example to live by, that no matter how tough things get in life, with God’s help and His church, we can be victorious!

Chris & Gretchen Hammer

Sacrifice

Chris and Gretchen have been foster parents to numerous children through the years dating back to 2000. They have allowed God to use them in a way to be a safe haven and a major source of life for kids in need of a home. In their words: “If you asked our boys, they would tell you that ‘God wants all kids to have a loving and safe family for them.’” They have two children of their own, but have opened their arms to those in need and to children whose parents are unable to care for them. “We love them, care for them, advocate for them, fight for them, pray for them, meet for them, hold them, cry with them, sit with them and love them some more.”

Angie Dammer

Faith

Angie grew up here in Sioux Falls, raised with a Catholic upbringing. She fell in love with Dan, and in 1985, they were married. Dan and Angie had two children and later adopted twins. She and Dan raised their kids in the church, though at the time, Dan didn’t have anything to do with religion. In 2001, they were invited to Celebrate and attended as a whole family. It didn’t take long for God to grab hold of Dan’s heart. They began attending Celebrate as a family and made Celebrate their home. after moving briefly to Fargo, they returned to Sioux Falls. In early 2012 Dan was diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer—Angie was by his side every single day during this battle. He passed away in May of 2013 and she became a widowed mother. Being a solo parent has not been easy for her, but through it all she hasn’t ever considered giving up on God because she knows He loves her and has never left her.

Vince and Jeanine Lubben

Compassion

Vince and the company he co-owns (Wireless World) partner with Mission Haiti. Along with their employees, they provide meals and education for hundreds of children. They financially support this as a company, but also encourage their
employees to get involved. Many have traveled to the country. Vince and Jeanine were there recently, in response to the most recent hurricane.

Micheal Freeman

Strength

His story is well known throughout the church, but after living life on a dark path for 50 years, he has overcome immense struggles to be a sold out man of God today. With God’s help, Micheal surrendered his life to Christ and slayed his addiction giant. Micheal is now one of the leaders in our Celebrate Recovery ministry which goes to show that God can take our greatest misery and turn it into incredible ministry! The battle isn’t over until God says it’s over!

Alyssa Catalfino

Hope

Alyssa is a brave example of facing multiple giants in life, all while continuing to express the joy of her faith in Jesus Christ through music. Most people who see her have no idea of the struggles she faces on a daily basis. She continues to live through difficult situations that are beyond her control, yet she smiles and shares about the love of Jesus with the beautiful voice God gave her. At the young age of 17, it will be exciting to watch this special young lady continue to defy giants with her incredible faith and trust in God.

Chris Pena

Selfless

Chris is a single dad of four (ages 12,11,6 & 5). Over the past two years, he has faithfully brought his kids to Celebrate KiDS as he wants them to learn about Jesus, and grow in his own faith. For a time, he’d come in exhausted, but would be here just because his kids begged him to take them. Through ups and downs (which have been many) Chris has kept a positive outlook and it is clear his faith in Jesus is the reason. Chris began his Diamond Life journey this year, and has recently decided that he needs to contribute to our Celebrate family. He has joined the parking lot team at Sycamore! Chris has also started attending the Hispanic service!

Corey Moore

Servant

Corey is a living example of being a “joyful servant.” He is a huge part of the WELCOME at Celebrate because every weekend Corey has his name tag on and he is smiling and greeting everyone that comes near him! Despite being bound to a wheel chair, he is an example of triumphant joy in the midst of unfortunate circumstances. Corey is also an active participant in the Diamond Life.

Deb & Randy Warner

Miracle

Deb and Randy are a couple who have exemplified what it means to face a giant with a strength that comes only from the Lord. In March, Deb came home from a Saturday night service and collapsed with a brain aneurism. That evening, she was given a 10 percent chance of making it through the night. Gradually her chances grew, but due to potential damage, was still in a coma. After being in a coma for several weeks, she came out of it, and not only was able to wake up but made a full mental and physical recovery and is back teaching this school year. The incredible thing about this story wasn’t the fact that Deb wasn’t supposed to live but did, or that she made a full recovery. The incredible part about this story is how they have both acted throughout this time. They have continued to praise God even when the road was incredibly challenging, in such a way that witnessed to doctors, nurses, and each and every person they came into contact with.

Travis Arneson

Fortitude

Travis is a husband, father, and business man. He also has a heart to serve the community and at Celebrate Church in various Children’s Ministry areas. Through all of his success in those roles, Travis has flourished while living with the diagnosis of cerebral palsy. Travis has never let this define him or deter him from pursuing life and living his life to a fuller extent than most.