by Vicki Ikeogu
Sartell residents Ryan Holter, Lauren Lindmeier and Gayle Smoley, along with local businesses Blue Line Sports Bar & Grill and St. Cloud Orthopedics, have some new hardware to display on their walls.
As of Nov. 16, the three individuals and two businesses have joined an elite club, having been recognized for their efforts to help improve the city of Sartell.
At the annual Sartell Recognition Banquet at Blackberry Ridge Golf Course, the Sartell Chamber of Commerce, the Hospitality and Visitors Service and city officials distributed awards for Sartell Citizen of the Year, Sartell Student Volunteer of the Year, Sartell Senior Volunteer of the Year, Sartell Small Business of the Year and Sartell Large Business of the Year.
The event, according to Sartell Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Nikki Sweeter, has been going on for the past 10 years.
“There are a lot of people out there doing great things for Sartell,” Sweeter said.
Sweeter said every year the Chamber solicits nominations from Sartell residents to help determine the winners of each of these awards. The criteria, she said, is pretty basic. All residents must live in and/or work in Sartell and businesses must be members of the Sartell Chamber.
“It’s all about going above and beyond the daily work,” Sweeter said. “For the citizen awards it can focus on anything outside of work or school time. And for businesses it could be the amount their employees volunteer or the money they donate to reinvest in the community.”
For this year’s recognition, Sweeter said there were two students, two citizens and one retired community member up for nomination. There was a total of 13 businesses – eight small and five large – nominated.
Sweeter said a selection committee made up of Sartell-St. Stephen School District employees, city staff and Chamber staff met to decide the winners.
Holter was selected to be the 2017 Sartell Citizen of the Year. Holter, an employee of Conway, Deuth & Schmiesing, currently serves as the treasurer of the Sartell Chamber of Commerce and spends a minimum of 10 months volunteering throughout Sartell.
Lindmeier, a Sartell High School junior, was awarded the 2017 Sartell Student Volunteer of the Year award. Lindmeier is active in student council, National Honor Society and volunteers at Country Manor, among many other activities.
“We chose Ryan and Lauren specifically because they spend a lot of time outside of their respective organizations volunteering,” Sweeter said.
Gayle Smoley was selected as the Sartell Senior Volunteer of the Year for her work coordinating volunteers for the Sartell Community Center’s Resource Center. Smoley also volunteers with the Sartell Senior Connection and Books Across the World.
Blue Line was recognized as the 2017 Sartell Small Business of the Year. St. Cloud Orthopedics was named the 2017 Sartell Large Business of the Year.
“Both businesses had given tons both financially and with their time,” Sweeter said.
Sweeter said the committee was impressed with the number of organizations Blue Line owners Scott and Esther Widor have contributed to financially.
“They had a list of about 30 organizations they helped raise money for,” she said. “And a lot of those organizations were in Sartell.”
As for St. Cloud Orthopedics, Sweeter said the work done with Toys for Tots was something that pushed the business over the top.
“About 50 percent of the toys that are donated to Toys for Tots within central Minnesota come from St. Cloud Orthopedics,” Sweeter said.
Sweeter said the work of these individuals and businesses should serve as an inspiration for others to work toward making Sartell a better and more vibrant place to be.
“These winners are all fighting hard for our community to be a great place to live and work,” she said.
Look for profiles on each of the winners in upcoming editions of the Sartell-St. Stephen Newsleader.
Vicki Ikeogu is a local freelance reporter from St. Cloud. Ikeogu is a 2015 mass communications graduate from St. Cloud State University. Ikeogu was previously the business reporter at the St. Cloud Times. She currently works as a transportation planner for the Saint Cloud Area Planning Organization.