MMLA Attorney Melinda Hugdahl receives National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) Medallion

Legal Aid News | Posted on July 19, 2012

Secretary of State Mark Ritchie Announces National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) Medallion Award Recipients

ST. PAUL, Minn.—July 18, 2012 — Secretary of State Mark Ritchie today announced the names of the four Minnesotans who will receive a 2012 National Secretaries of State Medallion Award for their work with the Safe at Home Address Confidentiality Program. This year Secretary of State Ritchie has chosen to present the awards to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to Minnesota’s Safe at Home Address Confidentiality Program.

“It is my honor to present these awards,” said Secretary of State Ritchie. “There is no doubt that the excellent work that these individuals have done on behalf of Safe at Home participants has improved outcomes and saved lives.”

A NASS Medallion Award is presented by a Secretary of State to recognize extraordinary public service in promoting the goals of NASS in the areas of elections, civic education, service to state government and philanthropy. The 2012 NASS Medallion Award recipients are:

Sue Kendrick, Department of Public Safety – Division of Driver and Vehicle Services

Sue Kendrick went above and beyond to help Safe at Home participants at Driver and Vehicle Services. She promptly responded to participants and took the initiative to educate other department staff about the importance of following procedures for Safe at Home participants.

Patti Jo Kewatt, Xcel Energy

For the past four years, Patti Jo Kewatt was the Xcel Energy contact person for all Safe at Home participants. She took on this responsibility shortly after Safe at Home began in 2007, and has done terrific job making Safe at Home participants feel comfortable and confident that their account information was confidentially handled. Patti Jo has recently taken a new position at Xcel. We thank her for the work she has done to assist people in need.

Melinda Hugdahl, Mid-Minnesota Legal Assistance

Melinda Hugdahl has been instrumental in passing important legislation that further ensures participants’ addresses remain confidential when they are involved with ongoing legal actions. Her dedication and leadership at the legislature made Safe at Home an even better safety measure for participants.

Susan Anderson, Anoka County

Susan Anderson has made Safe at Home a more effective program by raising awareness about the public nature of marriage records and the potential safety issues program participants may encounter. She worked diligently to help other county record offices understand the importance of privacy and confidentiality when maintaining records of Safe at Home participants.

Sue Kendrick and Patti Jo Kewatt were presented their awards on July 18 at the State Office Building, in St. Paul, MN. Melinda Hugdahl will receive her award on July 20 at the Legal Services Partners meeting being held at the William Mitchell School of Law in St. Paul, MN. Susan Anderson’s award will be presented at the Association of Metropolitan Counties meeting at Edinburgh in Brooklyn Park, MN on August 1.

The Safe at Home Address Confidentiality Program was established by the legislature almost five years ago to help protect Minnesotans who fear for their safety. This program protects the physical location of program participants so that they can resume their daily routines without the risk of their abusers discovering their actual address. Additional information about the Safe at Home program is available at or by calling 651-201-1399 or Toll Free: 1-866-723-3035.

Tags: policy