HURON — Perhaps the most refreshing thing about the 2021 Huron Chamber and Visitors Bureau and Greater Huron Development Corporation’s annual meeting was that it took place.
A year after being cancelled, as many events were, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the members and supporters of both the Chamber and GHDC gathered at the Huron Event Center to look back at the past two years and to recognize those in the community who have gone above and beyond in their efforts to make Huron a better place for all involved.
As the 2020 annual meeting and awards banquet didn’t take place, the Chamber presented two Distinguished Civic Service Awards Tuesday night. The 2019 Distinguished Civic Service Award was presented to Kim Rieger of Huron Regional Medical Center by Steve Gohn, while Dr. Joe Carr presented the 2020 Distinguished Service Award to Terry Nebelsick, the outgoing Superintendent of the Huron School District.
Rieger is a Huron native who has been involved in the Chamber in various capacities since she returned to the city in 1991. In one of her earliest efforts, Rieger helped bring back a version of the ping-pong drop in the downtown area during the annual Crazy Days event. She has served on the board and as vice president and president of the Huron Convention and Visitors Bureau and has also served on several Chamber of Commerce committees.
She serves on the annual meeting committee, the Parade of Lights committee and the Shop Huron and Win committee, as well as numerous marketing committees.
When her husband, Rob, was mobilized to serve in Iraq with the 323rd Chemical Company as part of Iraqi Freedom, Kim was instrumental in helping the families of those in the company and spearheaded the Family Readiness Group’s efforts to establish weekly communications with those families and for to host monthly support gatherings.
For her efforts, Rieger was recognized as the 2003 Volunteer of the Year by the Army’s 96th Regional Readiness Command.
When Terry Nebelsick moved to Huron to become the high school principal in 1994, a new neighbor told him “If you love Huron, they will support you.”
Serving first as high school principal and then as superintendent for the past 10 years, Nebelsick has remained involved in the community through his faith, his work, and his willingness to be a part of Huron.
The Nebelsicks have been active at Riverview Methodist Church since their arrival and Terry has spoken at several area churches as a lay minister, while also serving on many committees at the church. Outside of the Huron School District, he has been involved in several statewide boards and committees in numerous capacities, including serving as president of the S.D. School Superintendent’s Association and chairing the Large School Superintendent’s Group.
Nebelsick noted that this year will be remembered for the “covenant” that was formed between members of the medical community, representatives of both city and county government and the school district to help the community find its way through the COVID-19 pandemic.
His work in the community to coordinate a day-care program for essential workers, and, with other school administrators, to serve more than 3,000 meals per week on a safe, drive-through basis, were instrumental in halting the close contact tracing and led to the Healthy Student Initiative, under which the school continues to thrive.
Stan’s Inc., of Alpena was presented the Huron Excellence in Family Business Award by Rebecca Zabel of Prairie Family Business.
Started by Stan Kopfmann in 1964 and now spanning three generations, Stan’s has built been a beacon of providing customers with quality products and service, while also offering team members the opportunity to grow in a local, family-owned company.
That forward-thinking philosophy has led to many employees volunteering are local fundraisers, as well as school and community events in Alpena, Wessington Springs, and Huron, and also serve as board members, committee members, and volunteer firefighters in their communities.
For more than 57 years, Stan’s has offered livestock feed and transportation for its customers.
The Chamber presented a new award Tuesday night, as Tiffanie Kouf was named as the 2020 Ambassador of the year, for her work on the Ambassadors Committee. Chamber Ambassadors volunteer their time to promote Huron and help local businesses by attending ribbon cuttings and mixes at current businesses and establish contacts with new businesses.
Another new award for the Chamber was presented by Doug Ramsell, the chair of the Beadle County Commission, who during his look back at the past year, surprised Scott Winegar and Carr Chiropractic with the “COVID Community Hero Award.”
The final award of the evening, the Mayor’s Award for Excellence in Business, was presented by Huron Mayor Gary Harrington and sponsored by the Greater Huron Development Corporation, to recognized outstanding contributions by a business or individual to the economic development of the Huron community.
This year’s award was presented to the Huron School District and was accepted by school board members, with many of the district’s administrators in attendance.
Things changed quickly for everyone in March of 2020 and the Huron School District needed to quickly and efficiently re-invent learning. Personal computers were sent home with middle-school and high school students and learning packets were created and provided to elementary students in a contact-free manner.
The school district formed a plan that allowed it to open last fall and has made it possible to continue to operate in class and avoid shutdowns throughout the year. The use of masks, creating shields in classrooms and on buses were part of the plan.
With the students in school, healthcare workers could do their jobs to help others, businesses could remain open and provide services and paychecks to employees and students could benefit from the social interaction on a day-to-day business.