Sidney Chamber Of Commerce & Agriculture Recognizes Outstanding Individuals & Businesses

Every year the Sidney Chamber of Commerce honors several area businesses and individuals with special awards. This year Agri Industries, Tri-County Implement, Mimi's Kitchen Company, Footers, Dr. Edward Bergin, and Crystal Weltikol received awards. 

In previous years they have held banquets to recognize these outstanding community members and businesses but due to COVID-19, they were not able to host the banquet last year. 

"Instead, we compiled videos for each recipient. Each video had several clips from those closest to the awardees and even some of their beneficiaries," said Sidney Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Kali Godfrey.

These videos are posted on the Sidney Chamber of Commerce Facebook page.

Agri Industries received the Agriculture Award - the business is a long-standing supporter of the Sidney Area Chamber, contributing to the leadership of the Board of Directors. (Photo not available)

"Their innovation in services offered and being an instrumental component in the area's irrigation system were also factors in the decision to present them this award," explained Godfrey.

The Sunrise Spirit Award was presented to Larry and Tami Christensen of Tri-County Implement. The Sunrise Spirit Award is the Sidney Area Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture's highest award, recognizing an outstanding business that gives "a bit more of themselves" to the community.

Godfrey said, "I can't begin to explain to you what an asset Larry and Tami are to our community. Not only are they huge philanthropists, but they're also pillars of our community through their leadership and community service."

They are both involved heavily in local groups. Tami is the Sidney City Council president and serves on boards for Richland Economic Development, The Boys and Girls Club of the MonDak – Richland Unit, Richland County Fair Board, Sidney Kiwanis Club, and various committees of the Sidney Area Chamber of Commerce. Larry just retired as Sidney's Volunteer Fire Chief but is still an active firefighter and is on the Foundation for Community Care Board of Directors.

"You will find the Christensen's business logo, Tri-County Implement on every sponsorship board there is in this town. Additionally, this family's avocation for our agriculture community is second to none. Tami especially watches the legislation session closely and is the first to rally support for bills essential to the livelihood of the Sidney area. Being this far away from Helena has never been an excuse for Tami, her civic engagement inspires everyone to get involved." said Godfrey.

The "Partner in Progress" Award is reserved for the most giving and selfless individuals who go above and beyond to serve their community - Dr. Edward Bergin. He moved to the Sidney community in 1980 to fill the position of the general surgeon. Forty-one years later, he still dedicates his time to the Sidney Health Center.

"Despite his many attempts to retire. Alongside his wife and his "rock," Lila, they raised their three kids in Sidney. Bergin was involved in many aspects of his kids' lives including hockey, Boy Scouts, and swim team. With the help of Sidney Health Center staff, we were able to get videos of shared thoughts, statements, and stories from those who work closest with him. This video was presented to Dr. Bergin and his wife on Tuesday, Feb. 16 where he showed immense humbleness by making it clear that he owes a lot of his success to Lila. He also says that he never would have stayed as long as he did if it weren't for the people of this community: "The people in our town are the kindest, friendliest, and most down-to-earth people I have ever had the pleasure of getting to know. You all deserve a pat on the back." Yvette Lien, a nurse who has worked with Dr. Bergin for 24 years, notes in her video segment that "an amazing doctor is hard to find and impossible to forget." We could not agree more," said Godfrey. 

The Entrepreneur Award was awarded to Mimi's Kitchen Company. Mimi's Kitchen Company opened in the spring of 2020 and was an "instant hit" in Sidney. The business offers cooking classes, a venue for get-togethers and parties, daily lunch specials and treats, and a great array of cooking supplies and ingredients. 

"Mimi's has weathered the storms of a global pandemic and a tragic fire, but they are back at it today - better than ever," added Godfrey.

The Horizon Award was presented to Jerry and Robin Watson of Footers. Footers is known as the "mom and pop" sandwich shop of Sidney. 

"The customer service is always outstanding, and the food is consistently refreshing and delicious. Nominators also cited all the ways Footers gives back to the community, including donations and helping the logistics behind the Dragging Main Events and Trunk or Treat in 2020," said Godfrey.

Crystal Weltikol received the Educator of the Year Award. The Educator of the Year nominations are collected from Sidney Public School principals. After nominations are collected, the superintendent and the executive director select one educator from a very competitive list. 

Godfrey said, "Weltikol is a communication arts teacher at Sidney High School, teaching mostly sophomores. Weltikol became Google Certified during the pandemic and helped the school transition to distance learning."


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