Huron Chamber and Visitors Bureau, Greater Huron Development Corporation host annual meeting and awards

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HURON — Thursday evening, the Huron Chamber and Visitors Bureau, along with the Greater Huron Development Corporation (GHDC), held its annual meeting and awards ceremony, at the Huron Event Center.

The highlight of the annual event is the awards recognition of groups or individuals in the community, who have gone ‘above and beyond’ in supporting the community.

This year’s award winners reads like a “Who’s Who” of Huron.

The Mayor’s Award of Excellence was presented to Kelsi and Jordan Stricherz of Huron, largely for the re-development of River’s Edge Building in downtown Huron, as well other contributions to the city, while Rich Bragg was named the Distinguished Civic Service Award recipient.

A new award this year — the Huron Chamber’s Rising Star Award — was presented to Lance Tschetter.

Drew Weinreis was named Ambassador of the Year and the Volunteer of the Year award went to Rhonda Kludt.

This year’s Dessert Dash fundraiser brought in more than $7,000. Funds are earmarked for new “Welcome” banners, which will be placed on light poles throughout the city.

“With all of the changes that are happening with the highway renovation set to take place,” said Chamber president and CEO Laurie Shelton, “this is a great time to spruce up our main street.”

Mayor’s Award of Excellence
K&J Holdings, Kelsi and Jordan Stricherz

Ted Haeder, GHDC executive director, presented the Stricherzs, owners of K&J Holdings, with the Mayor’s Award, which is sponsored by GHDC to recognize outstanding contributions by a business or individual to the city of Huron.

“Kelsi and Jordan Stricherz have been an integral part of the Huron community,” he said, “embodying a remarkable story of dedication, growth, and community impact. As they approach their ninth wedding anniversary, the couple has shown time and time again that with hard work, dedication, and unity, great things can happen.”

The couple’s move to Huron in 2015 was marked by both personal and professional aspirations. Jordan’s pursuit of the pharmacist position at Walmart was not just a career move; it was also a step toward supporting Kelsi’s academic endeavors at SDSU. The couple quickly made relationships with Huron area residents they met through several venues.

Jordan, the extrovert, made acquaintances on the basketball court and golf course. Kelsi, the introvert, was invited by her hair stylist to a new church, “It was a great experience and we immediately felt welcome by the members of Bethesda. Being part of the church really helped us connect with people in Huron.” Their integration into the community was smooth, a testament to their open and welcoming nature.

Kelsi’s professional journey, from starting at Community Counseling Services to establishing her own practice, True Reflections Counseling, highlights not only her professional growth but also her commitment to mental health and well-being of the community. Her practice resonates with individuals of all ages and stages of life

Distinguished Civic Service Award
Rich Bragg

A Minnesota native, Rich Bragg brought his family to Huron to open a new Slumberland Furniture store. Upon arriving, Rich immediately began to look for ways to connect in his new community, and 2007 provided two early opportunities to become involved. First, he joined the Chamber’s Leadership Huron class. Elected class president, he was able to make social connections while learning about the businesses and entities that make Huron prosper. 

The second opportunity arose when newly elected Mayor David McGirr invited Rich to be a part of the Creating a Value Added Community program through South Dakota Extension. 

This committee taught Rich a great deal about Huron’s strengths and opportunities, but more importantly he made connections with some of Huron’s strongest leaders.

Rich’s wife Jen serves as the Executive Director for the United Way Heartland Region, so some of Rich’s volunteerism comes in the form of a honey-do list. He and their two children Charlie (14) and Ellie (12) are always happy to be drafted into service for various United Way projects. The Bragg family looks forward to many more years of helping the Huron region grow and prosper, and Rich fully acknowledges he has received far more back from this community than anything he could ever put into it.

Volunteer of the Year Award
Rhonda Kludt

Whenever a new group or committee is formed in the area, in many instances the first name thought of to become a part of that endeavor is Rhonda Kludt.

Rhonda is now and has in the past been involved with many different organizations within our community as well as across the state. She currently serves on the S.D. Statewide Family Engagement Panel, and is a board member for People’s Transit as well as the Huron School District Foundation. She continues to serve as a Community Mentor for the HYLC- Student United Way. Before retirement, Rhonda worked as the Executive Director for the United Way - Heartland Region where she helped establish both the Backpack Program and the Preschool Partnership Program, both of which are still thriving today. For her work with the school district on both the Preschool Partnership Program and the HSD Foundation, she was awarded the Community Service Award from the Associated School Board of S.D. this past summer.

During her career Rhonda helped spearhead many great initiatives in the community, but even upon retirement she has continued to serve Huron in many capacities. She is a true ambassador for Huron in every encounter she has, showcasing the best of Huron for all to see. She is always willing to help in any way she can, and is an inspiration to many.

Rising Star Award
Lance Tschetter

Lance Tschetter of Lankota is the recipient of the Chamber’s new award, created to acknowledge the accomplishments of the city’s young business and professionals who lead their industry as well as their community, through volunteerism.

After graduating from Iroquois High School, Tschetter attended S.D. School of Mines for one year before beginning work in his family’s business, Lankota. In lieu of an engineering degree, he instead received extensive education from two very good teachers - his parents, Marvie and Kim.

In 2010 they began engineering and building range recovery bullet machines and expanded upon the idea into other areas.
The agriculture portion of Lankota is constantly evolving and changing with the time, so listening, learning and being diligent and creative in producing equipment to meet the needs of area farmers and other businesses to meet their production needs seems to be the theme for Lance and Lankota.

Ambassador of the Year
Drew Weinreis

Drew Weinreis has been a Chamber Ambassador since 2013 and has previously served as the Chair of the Ambassador Committee. The committee is made up of 23 volunteers, from all walks of life and professions, who want to better their community. Ambassadors receive points for attending meetings, ribbon cuttings, mixers and meeting with existing and prospective chamber members.

Drew regularly attends Ambassador meetings, mixers and ribbon cuttings, volunteers to be the emcee or assist in other ways at these events. He also makes regular visits to Chamber members and prospective members.

Growing up in Huron, Weinreis has always been involved in different committees and volunteer opportunities. Drew was part of the Leadership Huron Class of 2013-2014. The class raised a tremendous amount of money to complete the “glide and slide shelter” at Prospect Park in Huron.