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Community Champions Awards Luncheon

The Community Champions Awards Luncheon recognizes volunteer leaders within Aberdeen and the region. The 2021 event was held on Tuesday, March 9, 2021 at 11:00 am at the Best Western Ramkota.
To nominate someone for any of the awards listed below call the Chamber office at (605) 225-2860 or email

The following awards were presented:

The Woman of Spirit Award. The award, sponsored by the Chamber, replaced the ATHENA Award in 2008, but like the Athena is presented to a woman from the Aberdeen area who has attained and personified the highest level of professional excellence in her business or profession and has devoted time and energy to the community in a meaningful way. The 2020 award winner was Janet Hedges.

The GEORGE Award. This award is presented by the Chamber to an individual(s) who has worked tirelessly on behalf of the community in trying to make Aberdeen a better place to live and work. A George Award recipient has stepped up and taken the initiative, rather than “just letting George do it.” The 2020 award winner was Michael Herman.

The STAR Award. STAR stands for Students Taking Active Responsibility. The Award is presented to a Youth Organization for their dedicated efforts in the community. The 2020 award winner was Holgate Middle School WEB (Welcome EveryBody) Program.

The Emerging Leader Award is presented to an individual who is in the first years of their career and has demonstrated leadership qualities within their businesses and community. The Emerging Leader Award was established to foster young leadership and enhance youth retention in our community. The 2020 award winner was Rachel Dix.

The Entrepreneur of the Year Award. This award is sponsored by the Aberdeen Area Chamber of Commerce. In the spirit of building on Aberdeen’s rich culture of entrepreneurship, Aberdeen began the Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2007. The 2020 award winner was Carly Pochop.

Military/Veterans Awards. The Military/Veterans Committee presented awards to active military, veterans, families and businesses. The 2020 award winners were: 1st Luitenant Michael Hill and Christopher Reder.

The Aberdeen Area Family Business of the Year Award. This award is co-sponsored by The Prairie Family Business Association and CorTrust Bank. Started in 2004, the award recognizes the accomplishments of a family business and its contributions to the community of Aberdeen and the surrounding region. Criteria includes that at least two family members work in the business, and/or multi-generational; positive contributions of the business to the welfare of the community; Success of the business; and an assessment of the health and unity of the family. The 2020 award winner was Jensen Rock and Sand. To nominate a business for this award, email or call 605-274-9530.

ViTality Award. The ViTality award, sponsored by the Chamber, is presented to the individual who is the ‘keeper’ of the regional vision, or the person who lives in the regional growth and ‘ViTality’ spirit every day. The ViTality awarded annually to recognize individuals in a 17-county area of northeastern South Dakota who display enthusiasm for regional development. The namesake, ViTality, is in memory of Aberdonian, Vi Stoia. Stoia was often called a ‘regional thinker’, and felt that new businesses in Redfield or community work in Leola was a win for Aberdeen and the entire region. Stoia passed away in 2008 but his memory lives on in the form of the ViTality Award. The 2020 award winner was the Brown County Fair Board.

We’re Changing The Game.