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Rotary Honors ERA Business Women

By Staff | May 6, 2010

AWARD OF MERIT -- Emmetsburg Rotary Club presented the Business and Industry Award of Merit to Deb Hite and Laura Blanchet, co-chairs of Emmetsburg Retail Association. The award was presented Tuesday, May 4, during Rotary’s weekly meeting. Pictured (from the left) are Rotary committee co-chair GeneEnglin, Deb Hite, Laura Blanchet and Rotary committee co-chair Dan McCain. --Jane Whitmore photo

Deb Hite and Laura Blanchet, co-chairs of Emmetsburg Retail Association, were honored by Emmetsburg Rotary Club on Tuesday. They were presented with the Business and Industry Award of Merit.

The annual Rotary Award is presented to those who exhibit outstanding service for the betterment of Emmetsburg.

“Through their dedicated involvement in promoting the retail community and Chamber of Commerce endeavors, this year’s recipients have blazed a trail for businesses in our community,” said Gene Englin, when making the presentation. “Deb and Laura are founding members of the ERA, and have built this organization from the ground up.”

Englin noted that, through their leadership, the ERA has organized:

• new business recruitment efforts;

• new business welcome activities;

• downtown cleanup sessions;

• community event signage;

• Courthouse Christmas lighting;

• motivational speakers;

• and the list goes on and on.

“As you can see, Deb and Laura exemplify the rotary motto of ‘Service Above Self,’” said Englin.

Thanking the group for the honor, Deb Hite explained that the “core group” is the seed, the idea, to get retail to work together. There are seven members of that group. The “fruit” is what has come about as a result.

“It all started with a little yellow duck,” said Deb. “In the past five years the group has come a long way.”

Laura Blanchet noted that there have been many role models for her since moving to Emmetsburg, including Jane High, Ardelle Connor and Ruth Hand.

“Get involved with retail,” said Laura. “If you do something nice for someone,  they will carry it on. We have learned by example and we have all had a good time.”