Rural Dakota Pride Award

2016 Rural Dakota Pride Award Honorees Recognized Today During Farmers Union Day at the S.D. State Fair

Each year, South Dakota Farmers Union recognizes individuals who give back to their communities with the Rural Dakota Pride Award. Today, during Farmers Union Day at the South Dakota State Fair, the following South Dakotans were recognized: 

Bryan Breitling, Miller; Doug Edwards, South Hand County; Sharon Wilson, Black Hawk and Tim Pravecek, Winner.

Bryan Breitling, Miller

In 2008, the Hand County Health, Wellness & Community Foundation was formed. Since its launch, the community of Miller has raised enough money to help contribute major funding for a new hospital addition and renovation project, a community center and a new irrigation system at the golf course.

Serving in the volunteer position as Foundation Chairperson for the last eight years is Bryan Breitling.

"Everyone needs to be invested in their community. When you live in a community, there will be things you don't like; it's our responsibility to invest in those things to make the community better," explains the 47-year-old hospital administrator.

Growing up on a farm near the small community of Roscoe, Bryan learned from an early age what service to others looks like. His mom is a nurse and he has spent his entire career as a health care administrator in rural communities - and the last 15-plus years in Miller as administrator of Avera Hand County Hospital.

He says that creating a community that is family-friendly and a place where young professionals want to live motivates much of his volunteer activities.

Bryan and his wife, Mary, have three children. "A lot of what I do has to do with our kids' perspective, what my expectations are for my kids and the experiences and opportunities I want them to have here in our community," Bryan says.

Along with the Hand County Health, Wellness & Community Foundation, Bryan, or "Mr. Miller" as his family has nicknamed him, has also served as a Boy Scout Troop leader, on daycare and after school boards, and treasurer of Kiwanis.  Bryan, a Desert Storm veteran, currently serves on the Miller School Board, the United Methodist Church finance committee and ad board, Miller Swim Team Board and On Hand Economic Development Board

Bryan Breitling of Miller, is one of four South Dakotans recognized Sept. 3, 2016 at the South Dakota State Fair by South Dakota Farmers Union with the Rural Dakota Pride Award. "Everyone needs to be invested in their community. When you live in a community, there will be things you don't like; it's our responsibility to invest in those things to make the community better." Bryan Breitling

Sharon Wilson, Black Hawk

South Dakota winters can be brutal. Foot Hills Kiwanis Club ensures that children in need of warm winter coats have them before the cold winds blow.

"Kids shouldn't suffer in the winter. We make sure kids in need have a new winter coat. You know they love them because the day they come in to pick them out, it is typically too warm to wear a coat, and yet they don't want to take their new coat off," explains Sharon Wilson, a charter member of the organization.

Each year Sharon and the other members of the organization raise funds through a pancake breakfast and kids clothes consignment sale to buy new coats for underprivileged Piedmont Valley and Black Hawk Elementary students.

Sharon says that the volunteer work is not only rewarding, but it's a great way to build community.

"Working together you get to know people whom you probably would never have met. We wouldn't be happy living here if we didn't know our neighbors," she adds.

Sharon and her husband, Norman, helped start the Kiwanis because they believed in its "Kids First" mission and they wanted to develop a sense of community in their retirement.

"We decided to retire in Black Hawk, but truly this is a bedroom community to Rapid City, so we were looking for a way to get to know people here when we were asked to help start this Kiwanis group."

Along with Kiwanis, Sharon is also a member of the Foothills Chamber of Commerce.


Sharon Wilson of Black Hawk is one of four South Dakotans recognized Sept. 3, 2016 at the South Dakota State Fair by South Dakota Farmers Union with the Rural Dakota Pride Award.

"Working together you get to know people whom you probably would never have met. We wouldn't be happy living here if we didn't know our neighbors." Sharon Wilson 

Doug Edwards, South Hand County

Connecting kids with the outdoors and the sport of hunting is a passion of Hand County farmer, Doug Edwards.

"If you don't get kids started hunting and fishing as youth, they'll never start. But, if you get them started and they like it, it will be a sport they enjoy the rest of their lives."

A third-generation farmer, Doug grew up farming and hunting the land which borders Wall Lake. To preserve the land as a wildlife and hunting haven, in the late 1950s, Doug's dad, David, joined with other community members to put the land into a refuge and form the Wall Lake Hunting Club.

Like his dad, Doug is an active member. More than a social club, the Wall Lake Hunting Club raises funds each year to sponsor hunter safety courses, as well as youth hunting and fishing tournaments.

All youth who complete the annual hunter safety course, which is sponsored at no cost through the Wall Lake Hunting Club, are invited to the Annual Wall Lake Youth Hunt.

The day-long event provides young hunters and their parent or guardian with a pheasant hunt, trap shoot and meal at no cost.

"Hunting together with friends and family is a great South Dakota tradition. It's rewarding to see the looks on those kids' faces and hear the 'Thank Yous' - it makes the work that goes into fundraising worth it," Doug says.

Doug also supports the small farming/ranching community of South Hand County. Doug serves on the South Hand Volunteer Fire Department. He is also involved with the South Hand Goodwill Corporation, a nonprofit organization. Doug helps with planting and harvesting of crops. Money from sales of crops is donated to persons in the area in need, to the local ambulance and South Hand Fire Department for funding of equipment. 


Doug Edwards of South Hand County is one of four South Dakotans recognized Sept. 3, 2016 at the South Dakota State Fair by South Dakota Farmers Union with the Rural Dakota Pride Award.

"If you don't get kids started hunting and fishing as youth, they'll never start. But, if you get them started and they enjoy it, it will be a sport they enjoy the rest of their lives." Doug Edwards

Tim Pravecek, Winner

Nearly 100 Tripp County youth compete in 4-H Shooting Sports and Tim Pravecek knows them all.

The Winner native has been coaching area youth since 1993.

"Shooting sports competition teaches them that winning isn't everything and it gives them the confidence to handle themselves well under pressure," explains the 4-H Shooting Sports Coordinator for Tripp County who has had several individuals he coached compete nationally.

Tim has been helping to organize State and National 4-H Shooting Sports competitions for more than a decade now and received his Junior Olympic Archery Development Instructor Level 2 certification in 2015.

Growing up on what is now a Century Farm, Tim has been hunting since he was a child. Today, when he has time to himself, you will find him outdoors enjoying nature and his favorite pastime. "I call it my therapy."

Giving of his time to his hometown and county is routine for Tim who helped fundraise to build the Rosebud Gun & Arrow Club north of Winner, has served as chairman of the local Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Chapter, is a member of Pheasants Forever, was on the Board of Directors for S.D. Bow Hunters Inc., Financial Secretary for Knights of Columbus, Treasurer for the Tripp County 4-H Leaders Assoc. and Director of the Shotgun portion of the National 4-H Shooting Sports Invitational in Rapid City.

"Without volunteers who follow through, nothing would happen. My dad taught me the importance of following through when I was little," Tim says.

An advocate for safety, Tim has led bow safety and gun safety classes for nearly 30 years.

"Young people need to practice and understand safety to know what they are doing before going out in the field on their first hunt," Tim says. "Someone is going to lead them out there at some point, whether they are carrying a gun or with someone who has a gun, and they need to understand the seriousness of hunting - it's not a toy."

Tim Pravecek of Winner is one of four South Dakotans recognized Sept. 3, 2016 at the South Dakota State Fair by South Dakota Farmers Union with the Rural Dakota Pride Award.

"Shooting sports teaches them that winning isn't everything and it gives them the confidence to handle themselves well under pressure." Tim Pravecek 

 

S.D. Farmers Union Celebrates our State's Family Farmers & Ranchers, Rural Youth & Community Heroes During the 2016 S.D. State Fair

Farmers Union Day at the 2016 South Dakota State Fair, Saturday Sept. 3, is a great opportunity to showcase South Dakota family farmers and ranchers and all they do for the state's economy, rural communities and the world.

 "In the tradition of the State Fair, Farmers Union Day honors the cream of the crop," explains Doug Sombke, South Dakota Farmers Union President.

 "Whether it's honoring those who give back to rural communities with the Rural Dakota Pride Award, recognizing the work that our family farmers and ranchers put into raising food and fuel through the Farmers Share Luncheon or youth who will compete in the Team Up For Safety Farm Safety Championship." Rural Dakota Pride Awards The 2016 Rural Dakota Pride Award goes to four individuals to recognize their selfless contributions to rural communities across the state. 

The honorees include: Bryan Breitling, Miller; Doug Edwards, South Hand County; Sharon Wilson, Black Hawk; and Tim Pravecek, Winner. Turn to page 14 to read more.

As an organization which supports South Dakota farmers and ranchers, Farmers Union understands the integral connection between those who work in South Dakota's number one industry and their rural communities.

 "One cannot survive without the other," says Karla Hofhenke, Executive Director of S.D. Farmers Union. "Without thriving communities, it's difficult to encourage young people to return to their family's farm or ranch. Rural communities are key to the future of South Dakota's agriculture industry, which is why we like to recognize those individuals who help them thrive."

 The organization will also announce the 25 South Dakota students who received $1,000 scholarships for post-secondary education as part of the Farmers Union Foundation and Farmers Union Insurance Agency 2016 Insuring a Brighter Tomorrow Scholarship program.

 "Education is one of the three pillars upon which Farmers Union is built.

Year-round, Farmers Union invests in providing leadership, cooperative and farm safety educational programming to school-age rural youth across South Dakota," Sombke explains.

 Team Up To Safety Quiz Bowl

Sombke and Hofhenke invite everyone to watch rural youth in action by attending the 2016 S.D. Farmers Union Team Up To Safety Quiz Bowl championship held at 1:15 p.m. on the Freedom Stage across from the Farmers Union Tent.

 "The quiz bowl is a fun way for high school students to learn about safety on the farm or ranch," says Hofhenke, of the competition that asks FFA members questions on farm and ranch safety. Teams qualified for the championship during the S.D. State FFA Convention held this April. The teams include members from the following chapters: Viborg/Hurley FFA Chapter; McCook Central FFA Chapter; Sunshine Bible FFA Chapter; and Lyman FFA Chapter.

 "We hope the information they learn during the quiz bowl will prepare them if they are ever faced with an emergency situation or if they're working with livestock or doing any other potentially dangerous job on the farm," Hofhenke said.

 Farmers Share Luncheon, Only 30 cents for All During Farmers Union Day The Farmers Share Luncheon, hosted by SDFU, gives fairgoers an opportunity to learn just how much of the grocery store price tag South Dakota's farmers and ranchers take home after harvesting the crops or livestock they raise.

 "Anyone who shops for groceries knows how much they pay to eat; however, they have no way of knowing how much of what they pay in the grocery store actually goes into the pockets of farmers and ranchers who raise the food ­ that's why I like the Farmers Share Luncheon," explains Terry Sestak, District 1 Farmers Union President and a fourth generation farmer from Tabor.

 The lunch, which feeds more than 1,000 fair-goers each year, clearly illustrates this by selling a lunch that would typically cost $8 if it were purchased at a café for only 30 cents ­ the amount South Dakota farmers and ranchers would actually receive for the ingredients.

 The lunch is a pulled pork sandwich, baked beans, potato chips and milk.

"Everyone is concerned about high prices in the grocery store - I understand that; it wasn't too many years ago that I was shopping for a family of five," said Hofhenke. "However, what our state's farmers and ranchers actually take home as income is a far cry from the prices we all see on our grocery receipt after a trip to the super market."

 "This is a good promotion for South Dakota family farmers and ranchers as it increases consumer awareness," Sestak says. "What better place to promote agriculture and the people who raise our food than at the South Dakota State Fair."