Chamber Community Awards Night
July 11, 2017
The Fennimore Chamber of Commerce has been recognizing Fennimore area volunteers since 1981. Originally recognition began with the Sweetheart of the Year, dual recognition began in 1985 when the chamber added the Citizens of the Year. In 1996 the chamber decided to recognize two men or women as Citizens of the Year in place of the Sweetheart recognition. The Chamber is pleased to carry on the proud tradition and encourages the public to nominate their favorite citizen. In 2010 the chamber further expanded their recognition of Fennimore area volunteers by recognizing two Citizens of the Year, Fennimore Family of the Year and Fennimore Business of the Year.
2016 Citizens of the Year
Ingeborg Froiland has called Fennimore home since 1968 when she moved to the area to begin her career as Librarian at the Fennimore Elementary School. This began her 48 years of dedication and commitment to The City of Fennimore. The nominator wrote “You ask how this person is actively involved in the community? I say what is she NOT involved with and what does she not support?” She is devoted to her church (St Peter Lutheran) as well as other churches in our community, the Fennimore Community School District, Fennimore Foundation, National Honor Society, Fennimore Area Writers Group, and other foundations and activities.
Connie Neal has been a resident of Fennimore for 15 years when she moved to the area to be the Director of the Doll & Toy Museum. She became fully involved in the community and Grant County Tourism and Tri-State Tourism organizations. Connie is a loyal Chamber supporter and believes that our small city has much to offer. Connie has been a champion for the museum since 2006 when the Doll and Toy Museum came under new management as the Friends of the Fennimore Doll and Toy Museum (FDTM). Connie has worked tirelessly and selflessly to make sure the museum is top quality destination for visitors to Fennimore. Connie has shared her decorating and research talents to make sure each display remains true to its origin.
2016 Family of the Year
The Rob and Karla Rands family were recognized as the 2016 Family of the Year. As lifelong residents they have been involved in numerous groups and activities and are a huge asset to the community. They are very generous volunteering their time, talents and resources to improve and benefit the community with no expectation of anything in return. They are the owners of the family operated business Midwest Builders. Karla and Rob have two children who live with their families in Fennimore. They include daughter Racheal Loy and family, and son Ryan & Holly Rands and family.
The nominator wrote “It is said that nothing you do for a child is ever wasted, so perhaps Rob and Karla’s biggest legacy to the City of Fennimore is the heart and soul they put into the Cub and Boy Scout programs. They have made and continue to make such positive impact on so many youth in our community. Many of these boys have become Eagle Scouts and are now enriching the Fennimore community themselves.”
The list of community organizations and services are long. Karla has served on the library board and book sale and works side by side with Rob on scouting organizations and Fennimore United Methodist Church projects. Rob has been involved with FIEDC, former council member, serves on Community Development Authority and Zoning Board of Review. He has served on boards of Southwest Tech, TDS Telecom and currently serves on American Bank board. Rob has also been an active in the local Masonic lodge, SW Shrine Club, Madison Scottish Rite and Zor Temple. Rob was one of the original Ag-Daze festival committee members. Their list of community involvement is endless.
2016 Business of the Year
The Good Samaritan Society – Fennimore, affectionately known to locals as Good Sam, has been part of the community since January 22, 1968. That’s 48 years and counting. During the awards presentation Karla Witzig, Admistrator, expressed the appreciation on behalf of the Good Sam board of directors and entire staff. Witzig indicated they are planning activities for 2018 in observation of their 50th anniversary. She invited the public to participate and to watch for more details.
From the beginning the leadership and staff have been actively involved throughout Fennimore by volunteering in community activities and participating in as many as possible including Kiwanis, 4-H groups, all area churches and of course the Chamber of Commerce. The Good Sam has been involved in activities such as Fun Fest, planting flower boxes on Lincoln Avenue, hosting Grant County meal site, homecoming parade, Women on the Move, and many veteran’s programs.
The nominator wrote “The center employs approximately 100 people and offers a training site to Southwest Tech nursing students. They provide the total package to the community – employment opportunities, housing for those on limited income and housing for those who are not. They also offer onsite outpatient therapy and host the local Grant County meal site for Fennimore. Finally they offer long-term care for the frail and elderly and those who need acute rehab to get them back into their own homes.” They do all this, living up to their motto “In Christ’s Love, everyone is someone.”
Recognizing Outstanding Citizens since 1985
The FACC has been recognizing Fennimore area residents who have made a significant difference in the community since 1985. Those who have been previously recognized include Jim Larson (1985), Nick Kramer (1986), Al Truitt (1987), Harold Plattner and Charlie Roethe (1988), Hazel Craig (1989), Jim Soman (1990) Ray Hoffman (1991), Virgil Brodt (1992), Charles Stenner (1993), Gerald Munns (1994), Rob Rands (1995), Joe Novinska/Anne Novinska (1996) Steve Briehl/Marcia Bahl (1997), Dennis Lendosky/Sally Behnke (1998), Jerry Day/Richard Rogers, (1999), John Briel/Margaret Sprague (2000), Nancy Vogel/Matt Johnson (2001), Martha Hestad/Bill Wood (2002), Connie Schiestl/Richard Carlin (2003), Kris Fry/Doug Daechsel (2004), Bob Craig/Jeri Novinska (2005), Ed Klais/Alice Mudler (2006), Steve Lendosky/Henry Oechsle (2007), Pam Kreul/Tim Slack (2008), Len Leis and Renee Zintz (2009), Dr. Aguilar and Mary Davis (2010), Pastor Leroy Johnsrud, Robert and Dorothy Swenson, and WebWise Design & Marketing (2011); Jamie Nutter, Shirley & Dave and Wendy & Al Stelpflug and Rayovac Fennimore Plant (2012); Cindy Arndt, Herb & Harriet Brun and Suppz Gym (2013); Dean Ashmore; Art and Sherry Freymiller; Fennimore Livestock Exchange/Jake Klais, LuAnna, Brooke and Tyler Staskal (2014); Nelson Properties/Rick and Beth Nelson, Murray Heitzer, and Peterson Family – Aaron, Sara, Aidan, Jessica and Marge Peterson (2015).
Chamber Sweetheart of the Year include Gilda Finnegan (1981), Sybil Koenecke (1982), Velma Helgeson (1983), Norma Brechler (1984), Sarah Lendosky (1985), Brenda Schumacher, Gladys Pettera, Harriet Copus, Isabelle Doyle, Bernice Woll, Arlene Dempsey, Nancy Wells, Linda Parrish, JoAnne Wiederholdt and Jane Soman.
The Community Awards are awarded at 6:30 p.m. during the Chamber’s Annual Chicken BBQ held the second Tuesday of July (July 12, 2016) at the Memorial Park. Committee members include Steve Birkett/Chairperson (Birkett Chiropractic), Karla Witzig/Good Samaritan Center and Trudie Freymiller (Dwight Parker Library).