Video report of banquet by Clay Patton
The Lexington Area Chamber of Commerce recognized many people during their annual banquet on February 22nd for their contributions to the community. The Business of the Year Award was presented to Plum Creek Mart Place and crew on it’s 30th anniversary in the community. It was started 30 years ago as Sav-A-Lot Discount Foods and is co-owned by Mogens Knudsen and Sally Knudsen. In accepting the Award, Mogens said every business needs two things…customers and employees, “I thank so many of you who have been loyal customers from the very beginning.” He also remarked at the tables of employees at the banquet and their years of experience with the store. Mogens presented the Award of Excellence to Manager Barry Carpenter who has been associated with the business even before it opened. Plum Creek Market Place employs 50 people.
The Jim Kelly Memorial Award was presented to the Dawson County Area Hero Flight Crew. The Hero Flight has sent 120 area veterans to Washington, D.C. over 5 different flights in the past. Max McFarland gave a few remarks on behalf of the Flight Crew. He said “the preparation for these flights start months and months in advance and by the time we fly off the ground the details have all been taken care of. Everybody has their job, they know what to do and when to do it. It’s like a well oiled machine.” McFarland announced that a 6th Hero Flight will take place this Fall. Other Hero Flight Crew members include: Theresa McFarland, Katie Arndt, M.J. Hart, Katie Schulte and Max Schulte.
Chamber Executive Director Sarah Neben presented the Presidential Award to Tara Naprstek who serves on many local boards, describing her as “a go-getter who is committed to help make Lexington a great place to live and work.” Presidential Ambassador Awards were given to Tish Doughty, Marie Rodriguez-Divas and Jennifer Shubert. Doughty was also presented with the LeRoy Jordening Memorial Ambassador of the Year.
The Craig and Terri Uden Family was honored with the Farm Family of the Year Award. Craig took the opportunity to comment on the “positiveness” and “growth” of the local community since the 80’s ag economy. He further remarked to “look out in this audience tonight and see how many young people are back in this community! That is tremendous!” Something he said is not common in rural areas of Nebraska and the nation. Uden also noted the area’s advantages for cattle production.
Roberts Cattle Co’s Farm Manager John Salem was presented with the Ag Employee of the Year Award. Salem has been employed with Roberts Cattle for 20 years. In accepting the award, Salem said “to me this really isn’t a job when you get to do what you love every single day. It just makes it so easy to go to work in the mornings.” The Agri-Service Award was presented to KRVN News Director Dave Schroeder who observed 31 years with the radio station that evening. Schroeder works to provide news coverage to rural Nebraskans and assists with ag stories as well.
Chamber Board Member Darin Buescher presented Friend of Tourism Award to Dawson County Commissioners. They include Commissioners Butch Hagan, Bill Stewart, Dennis Rickertsen, Dean Kugler and P.J. Jacobson. The Dawson County Commissioners oversee Dawson County Visitor Committee distribution of lodging tax funding.
Sen. Matt Williams gave the keynote address for the evening.