Photo by Brett Nachtigall/Fall River County Herald-Star
During the Hot Springs Rotary meeting last Thursday, March 25, at the Upper Crust Cafe, local Rotarian Pat DeSmet, far left, was presented a plaque for being named the 2021 Hot Springs Citizen of the Year by the Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce. Presenting him with the award is Rotary President Mike McNeil, who is also a member of the Hot Springs Chamber Board of Directors. Also pictured is Chamber Executive Director Olivia Mears, Board Member Kris Hansen and Chamber Media & Events Coordinator Jarrett Weimer.
HOT SPRINGS – The Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce recently announced their 2021 award recipients during their annual meeting held Wednesday, March 17, at the Mueller Civic Center and also virtually for those who could not attend in person.
This year’s Citizen of the Year went to Pat DeSmet, who is known around town by a couple of other nicknames including “The Sound Man” and the “Man in Orange.” His calm but bubbly demeanor, brings life to the community of Hot Springs.
The Citizen of The Year Award is given to an individual who has demonstrated care and passion in the community of Hot Springs. Someone who volunteers and dedicates their personal time to bettering Hot Springs.
DeSmet has generously shared his decades of professional experience and skill with audio technology for a wide range of local events. Among the organizations he has contributed to over the years are the Miss South Dakota Pageant, Main Street Arts & Crafts Festival, Christmas in the Hills, Farmer’s Markets, Hot Springs School District, United Churches and E-Free Church, and Southern Hills Community Theatre. As a long-serving member of the Hot Springs Rotary Club, DeSmet served as chairperson responsible for the construction of the stage and speaker installations at Centennial Park.
In 2020 during the COVID-19 Pandemic, he continued to showcase house concerts at his personal home, offering outdoor concerts where the audience could socially distance and safely attend.
Another of the top awards presented this year was the Joyce Farrell Youth Volunteer of the Year Award, which went to Hot Springs High School senior Wyatt Ellis, whose nomination statement said:
“Wyatt is a delightful young individual with an outstanding musical talent. You’ve seen Wyatt volunteering and engaging in his community at events like the Fall River Hot Air Balloon Festival where he performed on both the piano and violin. In 2020 Ellis served as a sentinel for the Future Farmers of America organization. He is identified as a respectful and happy young individual.”
Other Youth of the Year nominees included:
Sophia Nathan: Sophia has a true heart for serving others. She has volunteered with the Boys & Girls Club and 4H, while also participating in the girls volleyball, soccer, and basketball teams. She is recognized by the Boys & Girls Club as a junior staff member where she has dedicated countless hours by preparing lessons for younger groups and designing activities both challenging and entertaining.
Caedyn Driskill: Caedyn is an extremely determined individual. He has been a part of the Boys & Girls Club for 8 years while also participating in the Hot Springs Elementary Boys Basketball team this last year. Those around Caedyn describe him as a “go-getter” and takes on any challenge set before him. He is identified by the Boys & Girls Club as the Team Leader for the 2020 Christmas Mural. He is responsible for leading an art team at the Boys & Girls Club that created beautiful self-portraits that were later given to parents.
Elizabeth Grace Davis: Most notable for her sweet illuminating smile, Elizabeth serves in the Daisy Girls Scouts, Middle School Builders Club, and also participates in gymnastics and volleyball. Through the Middle School Builders Club Elizabeth has assisted in fundraisers for the local food pantry, individuals with medical needs, and lending a hand in running the concession stands at school functions. She is described as always being positive and always willing to step in and help where needed.
This year’s special Director’s Award, given by Chamber Executive Director Olivia Mears, went to the community’s Healthcare Providers. In her presentation, Mears said:
“We could not have made it through last year without the tireless efforts of all the Healthcare providers, Medical personnel, support staff, janitorial staff, volunteers and advocates and many others who contributed in this field.”
A plaque will be made in their honor and it will be on display at the Chamber office in recognition of the following Healthcare-related Hot Springs Chamber members:
Addiction Recovery Center of the Black Hills; Battle Mountain Physical Therapy; Behavior Management Systems; Black Hills Special Services; Cascade Chiropractic; Fall River Health Services; Home Instead Senior Care of the Black Hills; Hot Springs Ambulance Service; Lynn’s Dakotamart Pharmacy; Massa Dental Clinic; Medicine Voice Counseling Center; Michael J Fitzmaurice State Veterans Home; Monument Health Hot Springs Clinic; Pine Hills Retirement Community; Rapid City Medical Center; Southern Hills Chiropractic; State Home Care Services; Still Water Hospice; VA Medical Center; Vision Source of Hot Springs
Other business awards were also announced at the annual meeting and then presented in person on March 25 to the winners at their place of business.
The Employer of the Year Award, which is given each year to a business that not only has significant impact on the city and area, but a positive environment for both employees and customers as well as being actively involved in the community, went to Bomgaars of Hot Springs.
Bomgaars is a family owned & operated supplier serving the Midwest to the Rockies since 1952. Their mission is to have what you need, when you need it, at the right price. This business remained open during the COVID-19 pandemic and continued employing their staff and welcoming customers doing their best to fulfill their mission.
The Community Pride Award, which is given to an individual, business, or organization whose actions express or grow a sense of pride in the community of Hot Springs, went to the Hot Springs Cruisers.
The Hot Springs Cruisers group was formed amid the 2020 pandemic by individuals with similar interests and a heart to serve others. From entering their classic cars in community parades, organizing, and participating in local fundraisers, the “Cruisers” created an atmosphere where classic car gurus and daily drivers meet to cruise main street at least once per week.
The Excellence in Digital Media Award is presented to a business with an exceptional online presence on social media as well as their business website. This year’s winner was Hidden Lake Campground and Resort.
The Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce is currently running a campaign marketing Hot Springs as ‘The Picture City’. As you scroll through the posts and visual elements of the online presence for Hidden Lake Campground, it is obvious that this business has embraced the picturesque qualities of their campground and resort which makes it truly a paradise hidden beneath the Southern Black Hills.
Other business awards which were voted on by the Chamber Members themselves included the Retail Business of the Year, Service Business of the Year and the Hospitality Business of the Year,. Following is a listing of those winners, along with all of the nominees in each category.
Retail Business of the Year Award: Sonny’s Super Foods
This is awarded to a business which excels in meeting specialized local needs, has a positive working and shopping environment, and created a meaningful impact with its presence in the community. The criteria needed to qualify for this award include that the business must sell a tangible product that customers can purchase on site, must have a storefront in the Hot Springs area, and must be a member of the Chamber.
Other nominees included: Big Bat’s Conoco, Builders FirstSource, Lynn’s DakotaMart.
Service Business Of The Year Award: Massa Dental
This is awarded to a business that has consistently met a service need in the community and exceeds expectations of quality of service. Criteria to be nominated for the award include that they must provide a non-retail product or service for customers and they must be a member of the Hot Springs Area Chamber of Commerce.
Other nominees included: Polished Salon & Spa and Wilson Electric
Hospitality Business Of The Year Award: Moccasin Springs Mineral Spa
This is awarded to a business which excels at serving as ambassadors for the community, making both residents and visitors alike feel welcome in our community. Among the criteria to be nominated are that the business must provide a hospitality-related service or product and be a member of the Hot Springs Area Chamber of Commerce.
Other nominees included: Upper Crust Café and Winners Circle Lanes & Games