Each year the Chamber gives awards to two community members who have made a difference in the community of Sleepy Eye.

The Chamber annual meeting was held last Wednesday, Jan. 23, at the Eagles Orchid Inn.

Each year the Chamber gives awards to two community members who have made a difference in the community of Sleepy Eye.

This year, Bev Bartz was recognized as the Extraordinary Volunteer of the Year and Tricia Erickson was the recipient of the Shining Star Community Service Award.

In its eighth year, the Extraordinary Volunteer of the Year award is given by the Chamber of Commerce to someone in the community in recognition of their contributions by way of their time and talents, participation in community activities and works toward the betterment of Sleepy Eye and Brown County.

Bev and her husband, Harold moved to Sleepy Eye in 1951 when Harold began employment as the veteran’s vocational agriculture instructor and Bev was hired at the Sleepy Eye Hospital as a registered nurse, following her graduation from Abbott Hospital School of Nursing in Minneapolis.

Bev’s medical training has benefitted the Sleepy Eye community in many ways. Most notably, she has volunteered for the Red Cross Bloodmobile since 1952, and has been one of the coordinators since 1967. Bev was also on the Brown County Public Health Nursing Advisory Board for six years.

Bev has served on the Sleepy Eye Woman’s Club since 1964, and has held positions of president, vice-president, secretary and historian. She continues to be an active member, working on the local initiatives this organization has impacted since its founding in 1888.

Bev served on the Sleepy Eye Historical Society Board, the Sleepy Eye Community Education Advisory Board and was a long-time member of the American Field Service (AFS) Committee, helping start the hog roast fundraiser. To this day, she maintains contact with several exchange students and their families. In addition, Bev and Harold delivered Meals-on-Wheels in Sleepy Eye for many years.

Bev has been a consistent supporter of agricultural endeavors. She is a promoter of the Sleepy Eye FFA Chapter and was a 4-H leader for Sleepy Eye Wide Awakes. She was very active in the Minnesota and Brown County Porkettes and received the Bell Ringer Award. In 1983, the Bartzes were honored as Brown County Family of the Year.

Bev is a member of the St. John’s Lutheran Church in Sleepy Eye where she is involved in Ladies’ Aid, serving several terms as president and secretary. She is also a lifetime member of the VFW Auxiliary and the American Legion Auxiliary, proud to honor Harold’s military service. In 2002, Bev was named the Brown County Outstanding Senior Citizen.

Bev’s family was with her when she accepted the award. They include son, Greg and his wife, Mary; daughter, Pam Melby and her husband, Jon, from Wells; son, Brad from Sioux Falls, S.D. (his wife, Nancy, was unable to attend) and Bev is also a grandmother to five grandsons.

The Shining Star Community Service award was presented to Tricia Erickson. 

The criteria for the Shining Star Community Service award are to demonstrate excellent community service;  volunteering time, energy and talent without compensation; encourage others to participate in community service activities; demonstrate how civic engagement can contribute to a healthy environment and a successful society, and maintain a positive attitude and take pride in their community and work. 

Tricia demonstrated this criteria with devotion, energy and integrity, while being an advocate for the community of Sleepy Eye.

Specific to the activities of the Sleepy Eye Chamber, Tricia has been a dedicated volunteer, particularly during Corn Days, the parade and annual meetings.

She has served two terms on the board, for a total of six years, as well as proposing and implementing a significant number of creative and valuable ideas.

As one of the owners of Miller-Sellner, Tricia is a primary contact for individuals seeking donations, valued in both money and time, and in this capacity has supported with great effort numerous community events, not only those benefitting the Chamber of Commerce, but also Sleepy Eye schools and area organizations.

Tricia has shared talents as they relate to promoting the community’s youth, from volunteering on committees at St. Mary’s School to the Sleepy Eye Area Optimists Club.

Mayor Jim Broich was awarded the Ambassadors Big Chief award for his attendance at many community events where the Ambassadors are present.

The evening also included a dinner and short meeting as well as a silent auction.