Farmers Union Now Taking Nominations for 2017 Rural Dakota Pride Awards

May 10, 2017

South Dakota winters can be brutal. Foot Hills Kiwanas Club ensures that children in need of warm winter coats have them before the cold winds blow.

 "Kids shouldn't suffer in the winter. We make sure kids in need have a new winter coat. You know they love them because the day they come in to pick them out, it is typically too warm to wear a coat, and yet they don't want to take their new coat off," explains Sharon Wilson, a charter member of the organization.

Each year Sharon and the other members of the organization raise funds through a pancake breakfast and kids clothes consignment sale to buy new coats for underprivileged Piedmont Valley and Black Hawk Elementary students.

 Sharon says that the volunteer work is not only rewarding, but it's a great way to build community.

 "Working together you get to know people who you probably would never have met. We wouldn't be happy living here if we didn't know our neighbors," she adds.

 Sharon and her husband, Norman helped start the Kiwanas because they believed in its "Kids First" mission and they wanted to develop a sense of community in their retirement.

In 2016, Farmers Union recognized Sharon with the Dakota Rural Pride Award.

 "Rural communities depend on these everyday heroes. They are the people who do what needs to be done," says Karla Hofhenke, Executive Director of South Dakota Farmers Union.

 Each year, the Rural Dakota Pride Award recognizes five individuals who give back to their rural communities.

 As an organization which supports South Dakota farmers and ranchers, Hofhenke explains that Farmers Union understands the integral connection between those who work in South Dakota's number one industry and their rural communities.

 "One survives with the other," she says. "Without thriving communities, it's difficult to encourage young people to return to their family's farm or ranch. Rural communities are key to the future of South Dakota's agriculture industry; which is why we like to recognize those individuals who help them thrive."

 Nominate a Volunteer Who Makes Your Community A Better Place to Live

2017 nominations are due July 1. To nominate a volunteer in your community, simply click here or contact Hofhenke at 605-352-6761 ext. 114.

The five Rural Dakota Pride Awards will be presented during Farmers Union Day at the 2017 South Dakota State Fair. 

Last Modified: 05/10/2017 11:22:12 am MDT


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