Kathy Haala awarded Extraordinary Volunteer of the Year, Mary Hoffmann named Shining Star

The Sleepy Eye Area Chamber of Commerce annual meeting was held Wednesday, Jan. 22 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, Kathy Haala was recognized as the Extraordinary Volunteer of the Year and Mary Hoffmann was recognized for the Shining Star Community Service award.

In its ninth year, the Extraordinary Volunteer of the Year recognizes a volunteer with outstanding dedication and commitment to the Sleepy Eye Area Chamber of Commerce's mission to preserve, promote and encourage participating in business, education and community growth and development.

Kathy has served on the Chamber Board of Directors for a total of eight years, including three years as the board's president. She has been a dedicated volunteer during Corn Days, the parade and annual meetings. She has also served on the EDA Board of Directors as a board member and president, overseeing multiple projects, including the most recent construction of Veteran's Park.

She is a part of the area Red Cross and Disaster Response Team and has been for the past 15 years, voluntarily responding to fires, floods and other natural disasters, dating back to the Comfrey tornado where she and the team were one of the first responders.

Kathy has continued to share many of her talents promoting the community's youth by volunteering on several committees at Sleepy Eye Public School and bringing out the best in kids with the Stark Baseball Association.

The Shining Star Community Service Award was presented to Mary Hoffmann.

Mary meets the criteria for the Shining Star Community Service Award by demonstrating excellent community service volunteering her time, energy and talents without compensation. She encourages others to participate in community service activities, demonstrates how civic engagement can contribute to a healthy environment and successful society and maintains a positive attitude and takes pride in the community and her work.

Mary has been a dedicated volunteer providing activities at Buttered Corn Days and Party in the Park, as well as being involved with Safety Day Camp.

Mary has developed and assisted with many events such as starting a Pen Pal program with elementary students, Adopt-A-Senior program, bringing cards and playing bingo with seniors at Countryside Retirement Community and Sleepy Eye Care Center, sorting books for VOA's Scholastic Book Grant and filling pots with flowers to brighten a seniors day.

She brings safety education to our community and helps promote agriculture. Mary is also very involved in agriculture at the state and national levels by serving on various committees and boards.

City Manager Mark Kober 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.