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Editor's note: Five We're Thankful For is a series of five articles profiling people who are doing good for our community. This is the fourth in that series. 

Bianca Boll will readily admit it. She has an innate inability to say "no" to a worthy cause.

“I have a lot of trouble with saying 'yes' to everything,” said Boll, 46, an electrical engineer for Black Hills Energy during the day and involved with her husband, Dan, in numerous community activities in their off-hours.

Bianca and Dan are involved in volunteer programs partly because of their son Josh, 21, and his participation with Black Hills Works, which serves developmentally disabled and special-needs people in Rapid City and throughout the Black Hills.

She and Dan are parent volunteers with the Out and About program, which takes people served through Black Hills Works to community events, such as Rapid City Rush hockey games, shopping trips or nights at the movies.

Josh, 21, recently became able to participate in Black Hills Works’ adult services programs, including Out and About, Bianca said.

“We’ve been trying to get him on that list for a while, and when we finally get him on, the first question they ask is ‘Could you help us out?’” Bianca said.

Of course, the answer was "yes."

Bianca and Dan offer three nights per month volunteering to help with Out and About. For now, their participation coincides with events where Josh is involved as they learn the ropes of the program, which is, as the name implies, keeping people served by Black Hills Works active in the community and dependent on volunteers.

“They do a little bit of everything. They just try to imagine, what would other adults be doing for fun and how can we get our people back out in the community doing those same things,” Bianca explained.

“It’s important for us to volunteer because it means there are more opportunities for people like our son to go out,” she said.

Bianca is also a volunteer with Our Camp, a summer camp for people with disabilities, helping them experience outdoor activities, including campfires, hiking, fishing and arts and crafts. She used her previous experience with Camp Friendship in the Black Hills, where she served as program director and was also a nursing assistant for several years.

She and Dan also volunteer with The Officials, an organization whose members usher at Civic Center events to raise funds for the South Dakota Athletic Association.

And if that isn’t enough, Bianca also serves as area director for Toastmasters, overseeing and providing training for Rapid City and Wall Toastmaster clubs.

Bianca is from Rapid City, graduating from Rapid City Central High School in 1990. She received her degree in electrical engineering from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in 2015.

“I’m a late bloomer,” she said.

In her three years at Black Hills Energy, Bianca has become known throughout the company as someone who gets involved, serving on numerous committees and helping with employee activities.

The company took notice and this fall awarded her the Black Hills Energy Chairman’s Award for her leadership, dedication and community service. Boll was one of 110 nominated company-wide and the only South Dakotan among the six winners.

Boll recalled hearing of the award when she first started at Black Hills Energy and hoped she might be worthy of it someday.

“And when I got it you could have pushed me over with a feather, because I really did not expect it at that time,” she said. “I’m still a little flabbergasted. I’m totally, deeply honored.”

Black Hills Energy senior program manager Val Simpson said Boll often does things that people don’t expect.

About a year-and-a-half ago, someone began leaving intricately designed and cut paper snowflakes anonymously on desks throughout the company as a holiday gift.

“It took me months to finally figure out it was her,” Simpson said. “It doesn’t surprise me because of the things she does out in the community.”

Boll said her willingness to chip in, both at work and in the community, brings her as much return benefit.

“It’s not that I’m a glutton for punishment or trying to impress everyone else. It’s because we believe in that value of giving back,” she said.

“The reason I do that is that it gives right back,” she said. “It re-energizes and re-inspires me. It gives me more than what I give to those things — by far.

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