Emmetsburg Chamber of Commerce hosted a night of celebration, honoring the Citizen of the Year, Catalyst of the Year, 5 Under 40, and Chamber Volunteers. With the theme "Keep This Town Poppin," guests enjoyed a night at The Shores.
Citizen of the Year
Chamber Director Deb Hite introduced Dan Voigt, recipient of the Charles A. Hughes Citizen of the Year award. He was nominated by Jill and B.J. Schany.
CITIZEN OF THE YEAR Dan Voigt (center) was surrounded by family and friends at the annual Emmetsburg Chamber of Commerce Banquet and Awards Celebration last Friday, March 10, at The Shores. Pictured with Dan are his brother-in-law and sister, John and Diann Burright of Ames (left), and Jill and BJ?Schany of Emmetsburg (right), who wrote the Citizen of the Year nomination letter. --Jane Whitmore photo
The Schanys highlighted Voigt's work with youth and young adults in the community, including music and sports programs at the high school, and 4-H at the county fair.
"While Dan has proven that he is a stellar community minded member of the Emmetsburg community, it is his service to others, specifically the children and young adults in the community that makes him a front runner for this honor," the Schanys wrote. "We believe that 'kind' is the word to sum up Dan's personality perfectly. He is kind, empathetic, and has shown dedication to the members of the community for many, many years. Dan asks for nothing in return for his service or volunteerism; that is the spirit of community at work"
Accepting the award, Dan Voigt said, "The letter from Jill and B.J. was a surprise and the call from Deb (Hite) was an equal surprise. I told Deb, 'the thing is, I don't live in Emmetsburg.' She told me, 'we think of community in a broader sense of the word.'"
Voigt told his audience, "Everyone in the community has a role to play, whether it's at the high school or the paper office, or it's not 'home'. Why do I do what I do? I feel like I have to. The community has given so much to me over the years and I've found a niche to help our younger people."
Voigt asked everyone to share his/her experience and skills in return.
"You don't have to do something huge," he said, "Do it to make the community a better place."
Voigt thanked Jill and B.J., the Chamber of Commerce, Emmetsburg Publishing Company, his "second" family, and his sister and brother-in-law. "I am truly blessed," he said.
The seventh annual "Catalyst of the Year" award was presented to Palo Alto County Gaming Development Corporation.
The Catalyst Award celebrates the inspiration, charity wisdom, leader by example and breath of life of a chamber member. With this award, the chamber acknowledges and honors this high level of commitment to the community.
"Although PACGDC is not a chamber member, the group most certainly meets the name of the award as a 'catalyst' for growth in areas that Emmetsburg is most certainly in need of," said Julie Leners.
She highlighted the need for new business and single family housing grants, in addition to the numerous grants to worthy projects throughout the Palo Alto community.
Renee Jedlicka, chair of PACGDC, and board member Bill Lapczenski accepted the award.
5 Under 40
'5 Under 40' community residents were nominated for this honor:?Steven Carney, Kyle Auten, Kari Anderson, Cary Anderson and Katie Heddinger.
Steven Carney serves as an assistant coach for Little League, stepped forward to help with the "Fun on othe Five" fishing tournament, and coordinated the "Five Island Yellow Bass Bash" this year.
Kyle Auten volunteers throughout the community in Lions Club, service on the EMU?Board of Trus-tees, and he is a volunteer coach for E-Hawk Flag Football league.
Kari and Cary Anderson are involved with youth activities and athletics, from soccer to Little E-Hawk Wrestling, Sunday School and Vacation Bible School.
Katie Heddinger coaches swim team, golf and T-ball. She is highly involved with the Feed Our Kids program.
Chamber volunteers play an important role. Clint Young and Shawn Schany were thanked for play-by-play coverage of EHS wrestling. Wes Schultes and Rick Bird were thanked for play-by-play coverage of football. Rich Hall and Steve Pelzer were thanked for organizing the first Home Brew Competition.