Out hats are off to the winners of the Citizen of the Year, Business of the Year and Hall of Fame awards given Monday night at the Estherville Area Chamber of Commerce and Estherville Industrial Development Corporation annual awards banquet and auction at the Estherville Elks Lodge.
Understandably, Nancy Clark was recognized as Estherville Citizen of the Year for her tireless devotion for such projects as Regional Wellness Center Activities, voter registration and polling, Boy Scout leader, with the Excel! Estherville Arts & Culture Committee and as a Santa House organizer.
The Business of the Year award went to Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative for its seven decades of service to the community. Lyle Hevern, EIDC president, recognized CEO Terry Bruns for the cooperative's commitment to Estherville's economic development in the industrial park, community donations and as a leader in cutting-edge technology by developing wind power for two ethanol plants - the first electric cooperative to do so in the nation.
Gene Haukoos, incoming chamber chair, recognized Harold Sawyer with the Hall of Fame award. Recalling his "quiet service", Haukoos said Sawyer was an Elks member and 50-year Mason in addition to his many years of service on the Estherville City Council.
Outgoing chamber chair, Ron Menendez, also warmly recognized chamber board members and staff for their devotion to the chamber and community.
"Everybody did a wonderful job of being a team player and jumping in and helping out," Menendez said.
Sometimes, though, the people whose job it is to coordinate, plan and laud others are lost in the shuffle. Lyle Hevern should also be recognized for his years of service as Estherville mayor.
He continues to serve admirably as EIDC president, a role for which he is uniquely suited.
Our community is extremely lucky to have a chamber of commerce and city government that work together so well. That's why we are able to get things done in Estherville that other communities only dream of. That's why we'll succeed when others fail.
And that's something for which we can all be thankful.