DICKINSON, N.D. (KXNET) — Best friends are those who stick by your side no matter what, especially during times of great celebration, and some best friends surprise you in the best ways possible.

Irene Schafer of Dickinson ND is not like your typical 93-year-old. She is so active, so much so, that she just received a big award in Dickinson.

“I’m kind of blown away. I had no idea that they had this kind of history on me,” said Irene Schafer.

Recently, Shafer was awarded the Stark County Spirit of Excellence Award.

The Stark County Spirit of Excellence Award recognizes the contributions of an individual or group who has demonstrated Leadership, Customer Service, Innovation, Stewardship, or Good Samaritan/Random Acts of Kindness actions within Stark County, North Dakota.

“The award is given and it was started by Stark County Sheriff’s Department and the Convention Visitors Bureau. They felt like we have a lot of heroes in our area. And it’s not just Dickinson, it’s the surrounding area. And to be nominated, we have many nominations, but the selection is few,” said the best friend of Irene, Shirley Dukart.

And by her side was her best friend, Shirley Dukart. The celebration was a complete surprise for Irene.

“She said she spent several months putting this together, and she did a really good job of getting me to that meeting. It started out, she convinced me a couple of our friends were going to take us out in payment because we invited them over so often. And I kept questioning her, where are we going?” said Irene.

Shirley already knows how great of a person Irene is, but now, she’s happy the community sees this too.

“There are so many worthwhile things going on, and so often other people, you can kind of be an example, especially a role model for young women. This is important. This should be a great part of your life, and they’ll never learn unless you show them,” said Irene.

Right now, she is on just about every board and committee, keeping Dickinson beautiful and a wonderful home for thousands. She works with the Chamber, the Rotary and so much more.

“Well, I think probably the major one right now is our Power of 100 Women. This started in 2015 and it built from there. Basically, we review area charities, and our members make donations to these charities. This has made a huge difference in so many lives around here. It has a much greater effect than a lot of the other things I’ve been involved in as far as benefiting people,” said Irene.

Her best friend Shirley Dukart nominated her for the award. To so many, like Shirley, Irene is a very personal person, and she helps everybody in their capacity. Not only by being on boards and donating money. She’s always there to support them and volunteer whenever somebody needs help.

Irene was a founder, along with Shirley Dukart, of the Power of 100 Women which has grown to a membership of 250 members. These members have given more than $600,000 to 501(c)(3) Charities.

Congratulations again, Irene!