“Leave something good in every day.” – Dolly Parton

If you have spent a lifetime in selfless service, you are in the company of a rare few and standing alongside Shelley Flaget.

An EMT for 45 years, Board Director at Able Inc. for 18 years, Lay Minister of the ELCA church, Music Teacher, Daughter, Sister, Wife, Mother, and Grandma: Shelley has a deep conviction that drives her to serve her community.

“My parents both ingrained in my sisters and I a community-focus, and we all have our causes dear to our heart,” says Shelley.

Originally from Saskatchewan, she grew up with children around her that had developmental disabilities and her father was instrumental in setting up a workshop for the adults with the same disabilities. Seeds were planted then. Moving to North Dakota, she was taken aback to learn of the facility in Grafton, ND, where those with disabilities were housed all in one place.

After the ARC class action suit was filed against the state for warehousing people with developmental disabilities, Shelley was asked to serve on the southwest committee dealing with outcomes from the suit. That was the beginning of ABLE.

A few years later, she started working at ABLE first as a direct service person and eventually vocational programming. After seven years, she returned home to teach music.

When she was asked to serve on the ABLE board of directors she was thrilled to once more be involved. She recently stepped down after eighteen years of dedicated service, and remains an ardent supporter of the work they do. Shelley is so proud to have had the opportunity to help with growing the organization to the progressive, innovative resource which is providing many with safe, dignified lives.

She states that any place is only as good as you make it, her father taught her that. And the best way to bring happiness to someplace is to give. Give, and it comes back to you.

“Working with those with developmental disabilities is so humbling, and rewarding,” says Shelley. “Truly, the joy came back to me threefold”.

Shelley believes a life of giving is complete by serving your own soul as well as others. Finding something that you love and making that time to enjoy it, and looking for something -one thing- each day that makes you smile – that is a life well lived.

“I am nominating Shelley for KUDOS as her leadership is so amazing and she is one of those unknown treasures (unless you know her)!” – Anonymous

Kudos is a program of the local nonprofit organization Women Empowering Women. The program recognizes the good work women do. These are women who’ve lived quietly, joyfully, or creatively to influence our lives. They are an inspiration and deserve to be recognized for their efforts and impact. Women Empowering Women is dedicated to the collaboration of women to meet needs and help women become the best versions of themselves. To learn more, see wewnetwork.org