Following are comments by outgoing Estherville Area Chamber of Commerce president Crystal Pluth from Thursday night's Chamber annual banquet as she looked back on 2013.
Welcome and thank you for braving the elements to help us celebrate what was an eventful and exciting 2013. Never once when the year started would I have guessed that the Chamber board would be looking for our third executive director in as many years. However as the saying goes, people come in and out of our lives for a time and a reason and the time and reason was right for Lexie to take over leadership of the chamber. And I am sure you will agree with me when I say she brings an amazing level of energy and a true passion for helping make Estherville and Emmet County a great place to live, work and visit.
Lexie and Susan make a terrific team and have been the drivers behind growing some of our normal Chamber activities throughout the year and have also implemented new events that succeeded beyond even their wildest dreams. I hope everyone enjoyed the evening under the stars with the Rumbles and appreciated a shorter wait time at the Flight Breakfast thanks to new pancake dispensers, a nicely melted s'more awaited runners at the end of the Oktoberfest run and if you weren't running scared out of Fort Defiance by the end of the Fright Hike, you need to mark this terrific event on your bucket list to attend Halloween of 2014.
Receiving the Citizen of the Year award from Ruter was Steve Danielson.
Photo by Michael Tidemann
All of the Chamber events take a lot of time, organization, manpower and money. The banquet this evening is a celebration of you, our membership, for your support and dedication to our cause. It's an evening of recognition. While we are fortunate to have so many terrific volunteers it's a joy to take time to recognize a community member who is very dedicated to Estherville and the Chamber and to a business that shows exemplary community and chamber support. And truthfully, tonight's recipients have efforts that go well beyond the past year.
And finally tonight is a fundraiser. The Chamber wouldn't be what it is today without the financial support received from each and every one of you. On behalf of Lexie, Susan and the entire chamber board, I extend to you our many thanks for your membership and trust in us.
Following are remarks by Chamber executive director Lexie Ruter and her introduction of the 2013 Business of the Year and Citizen of the year.
The year 2013 has been a big one for me and for the Chamber. I started the first week of June and it has been a whirlwind the entire time. First off I want to thank you all for coming and for your membership and support for us and this community. The sense of pride that most people have for Estherville is extraordinary and I am so happy to get to be part of it. Estherville is an amazing place with tons of unique aspects but I am sure you already know that.
Second, I want to thank Susan, my right-hand lady, who puts her heart and soul into the Chamber with me every day! I am very lucky to work with someone who is not only great at her job but also a great friend.
Next I want to recognize the board members who stepped down during 2013: Laurel Hash and Tina Reichart. We also had two board member terms come up at the end of 2013 who were both Chamber veterans: Crystal Pluth and Ron Leffel. All were wonderful board members and we are sad to see them all go. We are happy to know that we still get to work with them regularly and see them often.
I would like to take this opportunity to introduce the Chamber board for 2014. Please come up front as I say your name: President Chris Fuhrman, Bruce Knutson, Scott Stokes, Darin Olson, Jared Colegrove, Bob Grems, Tara Paul and our two newest board members, Joe Van Otterloo and Isaac Gerdes. We are really looking forward to 2014. Thank you.
I would also like to introduce our ambassadors for 2014! Please stand as I say your name: Ron Leffel, Kathy Knudson, Pam Bruns, Holle Smith, Jennifer Hough, John McCorkell, Glen Caron, Blair Martyr, Kate Woods, Dallas Quastad and Brad Jungers
Business of the Year
With almost 200 members it is a daunting task to pick business of the year. We look for a business that is working and striving towards a better Estherville. We also look for a business that works closely with us to accomplish our goals and theirs.
This year's winner has worked towards progress in Estherville. This business is working to fill a large need we currently have in our area, housing. Countless home renovations, updated rentals and new construction have happened because of this business. With over 30 condo units built in the past years this business can account for nearly $6 million in additional value for Estherville. There was at least one year when one of these condos was the only new housing construction in town.
This home-based business is ran by a wonderful leader who is not only active in his job but is very active within the community. He is a member of the united Methodist Church Choir, and has sang with the Many Voices Choir, served on the Emmet County Board of Review for 12 years, the United Methodist Church Trustee's for over nine years, the current president and founding member of the Friends of Fort Defiance, serves on the RWC Board and Excel! Estherville Board where he chairs the Beautification Committee, and is in his sixth year on the Estherville City Council.
The amazing contributor to Estherville and the 2013 Business of the year is Dave's Brown House Kitchens, Dave Seylar.
Citizen of the Year
The Citizen of the Year award is given each year to a very deserving and outstanding member of the Estherville community. This year's award winner is not only very deserving and outstanding but also a wonderful friend. Born and raised in Estherville this person upon graduating from Iowa Lakes Community College enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1973 and finally retired from the Air Force in 1997 with the rank of Master Sergeant.
In 1975 this person opened his own business in downtown Estherville and has been a staple ever since and will reach its 40-year anniversary in 2015.
This person is very active in the Chamber and in the community. He has served on the ILCC Alumni board for 15 years, a member of the Estherville city Cable Commission, a member of the Northwest Iowa concert band and jazz band, which plays each year at Flight Breakfast and been a member of the United Methodist Church's Chancel Choir since high school.
This award winner is a huge asset to the Chamber. Whenever we need anything we usually don't even have to ask before he volunteers to help. He was instrumental in starting TUBACHRISTMAS, is the president of the Excel Arts and Culture committee, he records and broadcasts both our Sweet Corn Days parade and Parade of lights, he is the lead and creator of Gospel on the Square, a yearly event, provides music at many of our events including Fright Hike and Flight Breakfast and helps with nearly every event we do in some way or another.
This year's Citizen of the year is Steve Danielson. a truly dedicated man to the Chamber, this community and our country!