The presentation of three special awards—Big Chief, Shining Star, and Friend of Sleepy Eye—is a tradition at the Sleepy Eye Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting.

The presentation of three special awards—Big Chief, Shining Star, and Friend of Sleepy Eye—is a tradition at the Sleepy Eye Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting. At this year’s event, held on Wednesday evening, Feb. 8, former Mayor Jim Broich swept the awards field, receiving all three awards.

City Manager Mark Kober was called on to present the awards. He told the audience of 120 chamber members that it wouldn’t take long for them to guess who he was talking about and told the story of a man who grew up in Sleepy Eye, worked hard in a variety of careers, and served the community.

Kober said, “He became keenly aware of the need for Sleepy Eye to have a vision and became involved in politics some 30 years ago . . . serving as city councilor and then as mayor, and served on many regional, county and state boards and commissions—always representing Sleepy Eye to everyone who would listen.”

“Well, by now you know I am talking about Mayor Jim Broich,” said Kober. “But, here is the best part. Jim, you have won all the awards this year, a clean sweep, the Big Chief [for most Chamber Ambassador appearances], the Shining Star for community service and the Friend of Sleepy Eye award.” Those in attendance rewarded Mayor Broich with a standing ovation.

Wayne Pelzel, Sleepy Eye’s new mayor, was the featured speaker for the evening and laid out his plan of action, detailing six areas he thinks are vital to Sleepy Eye’s continued progress:

•Take care of Sleepy Eye Lake, including the slough that filters its water, and look into changing the lake’s outlet.

•Continue to be watchful of the city’s infrastructure.

•Continue to support and encourage the men and women who lead and work on various services—hospital, fire department, ambulance service, police department, library and all city workers.

•Continue the wise use of tax dollars.

•Maintain the city’s low tax rate.

•Support and encourage the promotion of the community, including the chamber, the branding effort and the valuable business community.

During the business portion of the meeting, several new chamber board members were elected: Mary Boyde of Countryside Retirement Community, Bob Schmid of Americana Community Bank, Kathy Gruenhagen of Miller Sellner, and Scott Haime of Del Monte.

Chamber Board President Mikayla Mages offered thanks to the board members who completed their years of service: Nancy Windschitl, Brad Mathiowetz, Jared Miller and Chris Dunton.

Announced as new board officers, to run meetings and lend support to Executive Director Christina Andres as needed, were John Cselovszki as Chamber President and Matt Wagner as Vice President.