With the theme "Leading by Example," Emmetsburg Chamber of Commerce honored leaders in the community at the Annual Banquet Celebration last Friday, Feb. 8.
Honorees included the 2013 Charles Hughes Citizen of the Year, Lou Ann Huberty, Chamber Catalyst award recipients Laura Blanchet and Steve Heldt; and a new category of leaders honoring tomorrow's leaders, 5 Under 40, with recipients Beth Elman, Kelly Bay, Tony Kauten, Amy Martini and Matt Mueller.
"Wonderful things have gone on in Emmetsburg this year," Emmetsburg Chamber Executive Director Deb Hite told the crowd in the ballroom at the Wild Rose. "Everything that you are doing and the improvements you are making in your businesses and things the city has done this year are making a difference."
AWARD RECIPIENTS honored by Emmetsburg Chamber of Commerce are (pictured from the left) 5 Under 40, Beth Elman, Tony Kauten, Matt Mueller, Kelly Bay and Amy Martini; Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Deb Hite; 2013 Charles Hughes Citizen of the Year, Lou Ann Huberty; and Chamber Catalyst Award recipients Laura Blanchet and Steve Heldt. The Annual Banquet Celebration was held Friday at the Wild Rose Casino Ballroom.
--Jane Whitmore photo
Mainstreet Memories Mall opened a second store
POET is under construction for ?Project Liberty
Kerber Milling has built a new corn dump station
Iowa Lakes Community College has two new business buildings this year
Farmers Mutual has a new building in a place where there was a hole in the streetscape
City and state gave us new surfacing for the roads and new pedestrian ramps
State Farm Insurance moved in to the old US Cellular building and that paved the way for
Your Family Bakery to go into the former insurance building
We have the first leg of the trails for walking and biking
We have a new addition onto Emerald Oaks Independent and Assisted Living, doubling their size
New Shoots and Soper Farms have completed their first year of business
Palo Alto County Hospital/Family Practice Clinic has added two new doctors and two new programs, Sculpt and Living Well Weight Loss
"There are 300 new workers coming to town withProject Liberty, coming now through March and we don't have rentals for these people," Hite told the group. "They are going to be here for a year. We're going to need your help and your goods and services."
Citizen of the Year
This year's Citizen of the Year was nominated by Donna Kunz, 2011 recipient. Reading her letter of nomination, she said, "A person to be recognized is one, who when asked to do an event or assignment will say, YES, unless their calendar is already booked with another event. A person to be recognized should be an active member of an organization and not just a member to be entertained. A person to be recognized should also be one that can yoke organizations together for a win/win event. Lou Ann Huberty does all of the above without needing attention or financial gains."
She ticked off the numerous organizations and activities Lou Ann is involved in: Main Street Community Theatre, Welcome Wagon Lady, More Cents Tomorrow Investment Club, the Red Hat Society, Palo Alto Arts Council, UNIFUND, St. Pat's Association, Friends of the Library, Last Page Book Club, 500 Card Club, Hospice volunteer, VFW and VFW Ladies Auxiliary, Palo Alto County Hospital Auxiliary, Catholic Daughters of the Americas and Eucharistic minister at Holy Family Catholic Church.
"Lou Ann Lives in a town which allows everyone to participate in whatever is of interest to them and small enough to know your neighbors," said Kunz. "With all that she does, she knows most people in town and is a great P.R. person."
Accepting the award, Lou Ann thanked the Chamber and the ERA, noting, "Volunteering isn't easy. Somebody has to stay home and cook and clean and raise the children. Thank you, Larry," she said as she introduced her family.
Citing a memory from a few years ago, she told of a man who said he had seen her picture in the paper a lot. "I replied by saying I am glad you read the paper. I said, you will notice that I do only fun things. As he turned and walked away he said, 'I don't think so - looks like work to me.'
"Volunteering in Emmetsburg has made the community very successful and I have been very blessed to have such a fun time doing it," she said.
As the Welcome Wagon Lady, she offers a list of things to do and organizations to join to newcomers to Emmetsburg.
"I hope everybody takes advantage of volunteering," she said. "There are a lot of exciting things going on in Emmetsburg right now."
"The Catalyst Award is the celebration of a chamber member for the inspiration, charity, wisdom, leader by example and breath of life this person exudes into this community," said Deb Hite. "With this award, the chamber acknowledges and honors this exemplary level of commitment to the community of Emmetsburg.
"Laura Blanchet breathes energy into everything she does. In October 2005 she was a stimulus for creating an exceptional organization with the vision of creating a unique shopping experience in Emmetsburg," she continued.
Nominated by Mary Beth Thomas, the recommendation stated, 'Laura not only makes extraordinary contributions to the Emmetsburg Retail Association, she readily shares her gifts, talents, keen eye and expertise with others. She has a winning attitude, believes in herself and lifts others up around her. Laura is passionate about the success of the retail association. She brings enthusiasm, excitement, energy and fun to the meetings and events."
Accepting the award, Laura stated, "The dream was getting the ERA started. I give credit to the women who helped get that going. We made a plan and sent out letters to make Emmetsburg Retail Association go. We have a supply of energetic, creative and team players...of course, there is always room for more. Amy Martini is my co-chair this year. She is really learning how to take hold of that position. Our weekly meetings have brought diverse voices to the table. We've had a ball doing things for the community."
The second recipient of the Catalyst Award is Steve Heldt.
Deb Hite introduced Steve, noting, "He is credited for changing the streetscape of Emmetsburg. He has a vision for the future of Emmetsburg and a passion to work for a stronger community for all of us."
Nominated by Dan McCain, the letter of recommendation stated, "I?realize Steve and the city take criticism for taking on various projects, but without their foresight and expertise we, as a community, would struggle. Steve took the lead on the Wards building and it was Steve, with the backing of the city, that championed the cleanup effort. He convinced the Chamber and the retail association to join the effort. Steve guided the project through government regulations, property tax problems and a long list of issues. He finished the project initiating a search for a new owner to build in the downtown. Steve did what we all said couldn't be done and we have a new building in the downtown."
Currently Heldt is working on the downtown facade project, a project he initiated, that will reward the community for years to come.
"Steve knows that today's workforce is different than a generation or two ago," Hite said. "He knows our strengths, our beautiful Five Island Lake, walking and biking trails, increased opportunities for tourism which will bring us increased revenue for our casino, hotels, restaurants and retail businesses.'
Heldt accepted the award saying, "All these things that were mentioned, it takes a group of people to do it. Nothing is done by one person. Half the people responsible for these things are sitting in this audience today. Without their help, none of these things would be getting done.
"For the first time in quite a while, the city and the chamber are working together," he continued. "When organizations work together like that, the city and ECDC, a lot of great things get done. Like Lou Ann said, if you haven't gotten out and volunteered, I urge you to do so because there are many more projects out there. The more people get organized and involved, the bigger things we can do."
5 Under 40
"Awards to 5 Under 40 is a fantastic way to show how our young business persons in Emmetsburg are making a real difference in the community and how dedicated they are to the future of Emmetsburg," said Deb Hite. "Tonight's recipients understand that leadership is action and that fulfilling their vision comes from passion, not position."
Beth Elman -- She has a history of leadership, creating a calendar of entertainment events for the Wild Rose. Her efforts have contributed to the ongoing success of the Wild Rose. She has participated in the Miss Shamrock Pageants, serves as council woman for the City of Cylinder and is a member of Emmetsburg Rotary and will be president in 2014. She is a member of Holy Family Parish. She has demonstrated her ability to successfully collaborate with people to accomplish a variety of tasks.
Kelly Bay -- She was nominated for the work she has done the past three years to build her clientele as a massage therapist. She is currently working on plans to expand the practice and hopes to open a multi-therapist massage clinic in the next year. She has taken an active role in economic development and is one of the three co-chairpersons of the community center steering committee. She has a passion for this project and what it means for the future of Emmetsburg.
Tony Kauten -- He works with the team of pharmacists at Hughes Pharmacy and is a member of the Iowa ?Pharmacists Association. He has chosen community service to the extent that it takes a great demand on his time. He serves on the City Council and sits on the Public Properties Committee. With vision for the future of Emmetsburg, he is a member of the Emmetsburg Community Development Corporation and serves as treasurer. Like Kelly, he is one of three co-chairmen of the steering committee for the new community center and serves as a member of the task force.
Amy Martini -- She was nominated for the exceptional role as co-chairperson of Emmetsburg Retail Association. Amy stepped into the leadership role, picked it up and ran with it. She has taken on bigger leadership roles, assisting with all of the event committees, as well as the Lighted Parade. When ideas are flying across the table, Amy listens to all and comes up with the perfect answer. As a member of FUEL Emmetsburg, she promoted a joint effort at Harvest Fest. She is manager and part owner of Pizza Ranch, working with her husband Pat. She is secretary of Pizza Ranch Western Iowa Co-op.
Matt Mueller -- He is a loan officer at Iowa Trust & Savings Bank and currently treasurer of Rotary Club. He serves on the Little League Board and the Education Foundation for Emmetsburg schools. Matt volunteers to take tickets at the games, parks cars for football games and steps in where needed at other activities. He is an organizer of youth baseball camp, and a chamber board member. He and his dad, Art, also have a lawn care service.
Each of the 5 Under 40 recipients, when accepting their awards, stated they returned to Emmetsburg to make their home and raise their families.