There were plenty of accolades as the Estherville Area Chamber of Commerced feted three groups at its annual banquet Thursday night at the Estherville VFW banquet hall.
The Estherville Little League Association was recognized as Citizen of the Year and Hy-Vee and Pepsicola Beverage Company both received the distinction as Business of the Year.
Receiving the award for the Little League Association were Cory and Michelle Hoyer and Bob and Barb Houseman. Receiving the award for Hy-Vee was assistant manager Travis Morfitt, accepting it on behalf of manager Scott Walters, and Pepsicola manager Bruce Knutson accepted the award for his company.
Receiving the award for Citizen of the Year were members of the Estherville Little League Association. From left are Michelle Hoyer, Bob Houseman, Barb Houseman, chamber executive director Stephanie Neppl and Cory Hoyer.
EDN photo by Michael Tidemann
"There is an organization that clearly stood out," said Chris Fuhrman in announcing the Citizen of the Year award. Fuhrman said Estherville Little League Association members went door-to-door and applied for grants and in five months raised over $130,000 then built the structure in just a month.
"We would not be here if it were not for all of you," said Barb Houseman in accepting the award. "We were blown over by the support that we received."
Houseman acknowledged the time and expertise that people donated.
"We are so proud of that facility," Houseman said.
In announcing the Business of the Year award, Ron Leffel said, "Two businesses really stood out."
Leffel pointed to Hy-Vee's presence in Estherville since 1969 and its support of businesses, schools and chamber events. At the last flight breakfast, Hy-Vee "stepped up enormously during the flight breakfast."
Leffel said Hy-Vee also donated twice to the first chamber Octoberfest, cooking at Fort Defiance. He also recognized the store for supporting Push for the Pavillion and buying Smart Boards for schools.
Leffel acknowledged Pepsicola's heavy involvement in Sweet Corn Days and its support of Relay for Life, food banks and the Midget Maniacs. In 2012 the company posted brochures throughout the area to support events and also held an internal winter coat drive and supported Respite Angels.
"It's an honor to work for Hy-Vee," said Travis Morfitt, Hy-Vee assistant manager, accepting the award of behalf of manager Scott Walters away on a well-deserved vacation.
"This truly does mean a lot to me," said Knutson. "It's really tough to change the culture of this business. This award tells me that we did it."
The large gathering on hand also heard from chamber executive director Stephanie Neppl and past chair Gene Haukoos who acknowledged the tremendous contributions of Neppl and Susan Pytleski, assistant to the director. Haukoos also had special recognition for Ron Menendez who is going off the chamber board after 21 years of service as well as thanking Sara Mix for her three years of service.
Crystal Pluth, new chamber president, thanked participating businesses for their support.
"We are here as a chamber group because of each and every one of you," Pluth said.