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2016 Award Winners

Congratulations to CMS Explorers and KPI Insurance – Chamber of Commerce Award Winners



CMS Explorers – Volunteers of the Year


CMS Explorers

The Explorers Club is a service club for 6-8th grade boys. For more than sixteen years, the organization has served our community and our school through fundraising and various service projects. In 2011, St. Joseph’s Indian School students joined Chamberlain School students for the first time and now are active participants in the club as well.

Since its inception in 2001. the group has raised over $100,000 for their community and school. While that is a significant sum of money, Chamberlain city engineer Greg Powell has said in the past that the Explorers have helped start and fund over $500,000 in projects for Chamberlain including ball fields, playground equipment, swimming pool equipment, fishing piers and other infrastructure.

That money has been used for a new baseball field, scoreboard and lights, a new soccer field, new playground equipment, a new picnic shelter, trees, new slides and other equipment for the municipal swimming pool, a fishing pier in the municipal campground, audio-visual equipment and an AED device for the school, the “Meals on Wheels” program,  Relay for Life, new flag poles at Avenue of Flags, playground equipment at American Creek Park, equipment at Tri-County Veterans Park and a disc (or frisbee) golf course among other things.

In addition to their fundraising activities, the Explorers have participated in an impressive list of service projects through the years, including cleaning the school grounds, assisting with Veteran’s Day programs, assisting with various basketball and volleyball tournaments, serving meals at the Chamberlain High School Athletic Banquet, hosting Halloween parties for the mentally handicapped, and performing various chores for elderly members of the community. They have raised money for numerous people fighting health issues. They are the “go-to” organization for service projects and help in the community.

Each year, the guys trek to Pierre, to meet the governor and various constitutional officers. They tour the Capitol Building, are introduced to the South Dakota legislators and they tour various museums and agencies in the Pierre. They have become quite familiar to government officials, but for all the right reasons!

In the past few years, the group has discussed “Man Stuff” at each of their weekly 7:30 am meetings. During the “Man Stuff” lessons they learn about a variety of essentials including how to tie a tie, how to shake hands, the importance of being on time, how to fold a flag, how to jump start a car and how to accept a compliment as well as some not so essentials like men’s room etiquette, how and when to shave and how to wear cologne.

The group knows how to have fun too. Each year they cap their year with a trip to Minneapolis, Kansas City or Denver to see a couple of Major League baseball games. They host a Valentine’s Day dance each year for Chamberlain Middle School students (with a low budget DJ).

The Explorers have been recognized in the past on both a statewide and local basis. They were recipients of the 2002 South Dakota Middle Level Educators “Friend of Education”, the 2002 School Administrators of South Dakota “Helping Hands” Award and the 2002 Chamberlain School District “Friend of Education” Award. Advisor Doug Knust was recognized as a 2005 NFL/Ameriquest Mortgage Neighborhood.

This year, the Explorers have 38 members and are raising money for the “Friday Night Lights” program which is a project to put up new lights at Don Giese Field. – Doug Knust, Advisor




KPI Insurance, Kelli Potter, Beth Herman and Kevin Meier – 2016 Business of the Year

I am happy to introduce Kelli Potter, Beth Herman and Kevin Meier of KPI Insurance for Business of the Year.

Kelli graduated from Chamberlain High School in 1985 and USD’s School of Business in ’89.

Kelli worked for Norwest as an intern on the banking floor.

After college graduation, Norwest offered her a full time position. During her time at Norwest she built up the agency and eventually bought them out and became KPI Insurance.

KPI has three employees, Kelli Potter – owner, Beth Herman – customer service rep and book keeper, who joined her in the Fall of 2006, and Kevin Meier – agent, join them in 2014. All three are fully licensed in Property/Casualty, Life/Health and Bonds.

When I asked Kelli what she likes most about her career she said, “The People”

Kelli also enjoys being the local “go to” agency for insurance needs.

When we received the email to nominate a business of the year, KPI immediately came to my mind and for the following reasons; her community involvement and business sense.  I admire her appreciation for Chamberlain and the surrounding communities.

Kelli has been involved in many community events and activities such as the Jaycees, Past Chamber of Commerce President, currently JA presenter,  member of the hospital auxiliary board, current auxiliary board treasurer (for the past 10 years) and a member of the St James Catholic church to name a few.

One of her favorite past times is spending time on the river with Dave, family and friends. Kelli also appreciates the atmosphere of the small town community.

Beth Herman – besides working for KPI Beth is the City Finance officer for the town of Reliance. Beth is involved with the Reliance community but most of her time is spent with her husband Keith, of 27 years and her 5 children and their sporting events.

Kevin Meier is very active in the Kennebec community and a supporter of the Town and Country Club of Kennebec. He serves as the current President of the Chamberlain Kiwanis.  You may also find him judging contests such as the River City Band Festival. Kevin is very outgoing and not afraid to help.

Kevin’s hobbies include hunting, fishing and sporting events.

Presented by Rebecca Reimer




Chamberlain True Value, Chuck and Kay Scharf – 2016 Prairie Family Business Association

2016 Chamberlain Family Business of the Year

Prairie Family Business Association was founded in 1993 as South Dakota Family Business Initiative through the School of Business at the University of South Dakota. The mission of the association is to enhance the long-term survival and success of its family business members. Today, some of the founding members of the association are still active – as are the next generation of those founding families.

Candidates for the Family Business of the Year are nominated by their peers and chosen by the Prairie Family Business Association, with the award being sponsored by a local business. First Dakota National Bank has sponsored this award for many years.

Chuck and Kay Scharf started in the hardware business in July of 2000 and purchased Chamberlain True Value in 2001. Both Kay and Chuck grew up in Gregory and since coming to Chamberlain have been involved in the community.  In 2010 they moved to their present location on the top of the hill in Chamberlain and more than doubled the size of their store and products offered.  The new store has been embraced by the community and the business continues to do well. Chuck and Kay are a unique husband and wife team, who go the extra mile to provide excellent customer service to the Chamberlain-Oacoma region. Working alongside Chuck & Kay is second generation family member, Louis Scharf.

Prairie Family Business Association is pleased to present the 2017 Chamberlain Family Business of the Year Award to Chamberlain True Value and the Scharf Family. Prairie Family Business serves family businesses as they strive to successfully transition from one generation to the next generation. First Dakota National Bank, a member of Prairie Family Business, is pleased to sponsor the 2017 Chamberlain Family Business of the Year Award. Congratulations to Chamberlain True Value and the Scharf Family! – Presented by Gailen Meyerink

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