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Award Applications


On February 10, 2015 the Aberdeen Area Chamber of Commerce will recognize Community Leaders at the 10th Annual Community Champions Awards Luncheon. At this event, several community and regional organizations come together to proudly recognize the recipients of 9 prestigious awards. Each of these awards and their criteria is described below. As you review each award, please think about who is deserving of recognition and nominate them. It is so important for our community to recognize achievement, vision, collaboration, generosity and spirit.

• WOMAN OF SPIRIT (formerly Athena)

CHAMBER SPONSORED AWARDS: To nominate someone for any of the awards listed below call the Chamber office at (605) 225-2860 or email Applications can also be found on the left of this page and must be received by January 16, 2015.

The Woman of Spirit Award. The award, co-sponsored by the Chamber and Steven Lust Automotive, replaced the ATHENA Award, but like the Athena is presented to a woman who exemplifies the following characteristics: Wise, Organized, Mentor to others, Achiever, Nurturing and is Selfless, Purposeful, Inspirational, Respectful, (has) Integrity, and is a Team player. 

The GEORGE Award. This award is presented by the Chamber to an individual(s) who has worked tirelessly on behalf of the community in trying to make Aberdeen a better place to live and work. A George Award recipient has stepped up and taken the initiative, rather than "just letting George do it”.  

The STAR Award. STAR stands for Students Taking Active Responsibility. The Award is presented to a Youth Organization for their Dedicated Efforts in the Community.  

The Emerging Leader Award is presented to an individual who is in the first years of their career and has demonstrated leadership qualities within their businesses and community. TheEmerging Leader Award was created in 2009 to foster young leadership and enhance youth retention in our community. Candidates will be evaluated on whether they have active participation in associations, organizations, volunteer boards, etc.; are recognized by managers and peers for demonstrating leadership skills and standards in the workplace; and have an enthusiastic commitment to promoting and growing with the community, region and state. 

ViTality Award. The ViTality award is presented to the individual who is the 'keeper' of the regional vision, or the person who lives in the regional growth and 'ViTality' spirit every day. The ViTality awarded annually to recognize individuals in a 17-county area of northeastern South Dakota who display enthusiasm for regional development. The namesake, ViTality, is in memory of Aberdonian, Vi Stoia. Stoia was often called a 'regional thinker', and felt that new businesses in Redfield or community work in Leola was a win for Aberdeen and the entire region. Stoia passed away in 2008 but his memory lives on in the form of the ViTality Award.

PRAIRIE FAMILY BUSINESS INITIATIVE SPONSORED AWARDS: To nominate a business for this award email

The Aberdeen Area Family Business of the Year Award.. This award is co-sponsored by The South Dakota Family Business Initiative, CorTrust Bank, and the Aberdeen Area Chamber of Commerce. Started in 2004, the award recognizes the accomplishments of a family business and its contributions to the community of Aberdeen and the surrounding region. Criteria includes that at least 2 family members work in the business, and/or multi-generational; positive contributions of the business to the welfare of the community; Success of the business; and an assessment of the health and unity of the family.

CVB/Hotel Alliance SPONSORED AWARDS: To nominate someone for these awards, please contact the Aberdeen CVB at (605) 225-2414 or
The Hometown Hero Award. The award is presented by the Aberdeen Convention and Visitors Bureau to honor those special individuals or institutions who contribute to our community by going the extra mile to bring their group's meetings, conventions, or events to Aberdeen. Because of the dedication of these wonderful individuals that go above and beyond the call, our community benefits.

The Spotlight Award. The award is presented by the Aberdeen Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Aberdeen Hotel Alliance to honor a special individual who “shines the light” on our community and region by bringing national recognition and attention to our area.

ABERDEEN DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION SPONSORED AWARD: To nominate someone for this award, please contact the Aberdeen Development Corporation at 229-5335 or

The Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
. In the spirit of building on Aberdeen’s rich culture of entrepreneurship, the Aberdeen Development Corporation will sponsor this award, originally started in 2008.