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Emmetsburg Chamber of Commerce Honors Jane Whitmore

February 22, 2018
by Anna Veltri , Emmetsburg News

On Monday, Feb.19, the Emmetsburg Chamber of Commerce kicked off its 80th year with the annual awards banquet. At this banquet, the Chamber recognized numerous individuals for their involvement in the community including the Citizen of the Year. This year's Citizen of the Year was former Emmetsburg Publishing Editor, Jane Whitmore. Angie Beem nominated Whitmore for her dedicated involvement within the community.

"Through her writings and pictures of the best of Emmetsburg, it was very evident that her work was more than a job; it was a calling which was both most enjoyable and enlightening for all readers," Angie Beem stated in her letter to the Chamber. "She was an enthusiastic newsperson covering events and being a part of many groups and boards With her enthusiasm, ready smile, and cheerful laugh, Jane Whitmore is an outstanding nominee for Citizen of the Year."

Whitmore retired in June after 44 years at the Emmetsburg newspaper. During that time she immersed herself in the community of Emmetsburg.

Article Photos

CHARLES HUGHES CITIZEN OF THE YEAR - Former Reporter and Democrat Editor Jane Whitmore was honored as the2018 Charles Hughes Citizen of the Year during the Emmetsburg Chamber of Commerce's annual banquet Monday night. -- Dan Voigt photo

"I learned early in my career that my camera gave me access to everything, everywhere," Whitmore stated. "I also learned to give back: take a few photos, get the information, then pitch in and help when appropriate."

Whitmore is fondly known for her involvement in the community from planting flowers around Robert Emmet's feet, to her involvement in Main Street Community Theatre, to baking for the Hospital Auxiliary Bake Sales.

"I plant flowers at Bob Emmet's feet once a year," Jane commented. "It makes me smile all season long to see the pink flowers when I drive down Broadway. I bake something for the Hospital Auxiliary bake sales twice a year. It makes me smile because somebody thinks I'm a cook. I create posters for Community Theatre three times a year. It makes me smile when I go see another play."

Whitmore continues to be active in the community. She is a Chamber Member and a member of the Lake Board along with numerous other organizations and volunteer events. She continues to make programs for Main Street Community Theatre. Whitmore does many projects behind the scenes that she does anonymously or with little recognition.

"Tonight I propose to you-become part of the solution. You can make a difference," Whitmore said. "Find a project that fits your lifestyle and help make a difference in our community."

Other award recipients included The Five Under 40 Award. Recipients of this award included Brent and Stephanie Mehan. The Mehans were nominated by Tina Davis for their great involvement in Emmetsburg. The couple successfully runs three businesses: a construction business, an in-home day care business, and an auction business. Brent Mehan is also a volunteer firefighter for Emmetsburg and involved in Saint Pat's Association. Stephanie is involved in Palo Alto Relay For Life and is the President of Saint Pat's Association.

Numerous people in the community, including Bill and Marcy Frevert and Mary Schany, nominated Mark Jones. Jones runs a successful plumbing business. He is recognized for his wonderful professionalism and his involvement in the Knights of Columbus.

Katie Elbert was nominated by Amanda Swartz as well as Brian and Greta Rouse. Elbert has been an integral part of developing the Preschool and Kindergarten Round-Up for Emmetsburg Catholic Schools. She is also a member of the scholarship committee that selects scholarships for seniors moving onto college.

Liz Hoppe is the owner of Deja Brew in downtown Emmetsburg. She was nominated because of her incredible display of business skills, especially for a woman of only 26 years old. She has tailored her business skills to meet the needs of her customers and always serves her customers with a smile.

This year was the eighth year for the Catalyst Award. This award is presented to a business for their inspiration, charity, and wisdom. MidAmerican Energy received this year's Catalyst Award. On October 11, 2017 MidAmerican Energy presented the warranty deed to their building to the Emmetsburg Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber no longer had to consider relocating the radio station or the Welcome Center. Because of this incredibly generous act, the Catalyst Award has been renamed to be the MidAmerican Energy Catalyst of the Year Award.

Two individuals were nominated as Chamber Volunteers of the Year: Donna Tonderum and Frank Kliegl. Donna has been an active volunteer for the Chamber. She is always quick to agree to sell tickets for an event or volunteer her time. Kliegl is often the behind the scenes "heavy-lifter" for the Chamber. He places barricades, sets up snow fence, drives the fire truck to lead parades, and helps to transport Mr. and Mrs. Claus during the holiday season. Kliegl is always says yes to any job asked of him.

All of these individuals truly deserve the recognition they received on Monday night. Members of the Emmetsburg Community can all work together for the betterment of the town.

"The point is-you don't have to volunteer everyday," Whitmore proclaimed. "You can volunteer once or twice a year-as an individual or as part of a group-and you can smile at the results."



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