Chamber Recognizes 2023 Community Award Winners
On Monday, January 29, 2024, the Mahaska Chamber and Development Group held the Annual Awards Ceremony and Reception at Bradbury Hall. 19 individuals were recognized by the community for their accomplishments and service to Oskaloosa.
The following board members were thanked for their service and contributions to the Chamber Board and our community:
Jeff Davis has played a huge role in many business retention and expansion visits at Church & Dwight.
Deb has been a part of the Oskaloosa community before opening her business, Stella's Salon & Boutique. Her willingness to be a stong advocate for the chamber will always be appreciated.
Chamber Director, Deann De Groot stated, "John and I really didn’t know each other before coming to the Chamber Board, even though John has been at William Penn for years and I have been at the Chamber for years – our paths didn’t seem to cross before John agreed to serve on the Board. As I mentioned at the beginning, these outgoing Board members were learning with me. John will not hesitate to tell you how he found out that he was being nominated to the Vice Chair position on the Board – John actually read the Board minutes – and I am thankful he gave grace and still agreed to take on the role. Since then, John has been very supportive, numerous phones call to check in and I think we would both agree, we started as strangers and are now friends."
Margaret has been the Nelson Pioneer farm curator since 2018. She came into the community as a listener. She got involved in many organizations including Altrusa, Friends of the Library, Great Places – Arts and Culture Roundtable, the George Daily Auditorium, and the Chamber’s tourism committee, and is currently serving on the Chamber Board as the secretary. As she moves on to the next chapter of her life – getting married here in a few short months, we want to thank her for giving back countless hours to many organizations in our community.
The Chamber Diplomats are the public relations arm of the Mahaska Chamber. Being the official greeters, they assist in ribbon cuttings, groundbreaking, and other recognition activities. The Chamber Diplomats are called on for manpower for special events. They also assist the Chamber Board by calling on existing Chamber members as well as developing and calling on new member prospects. They present the following awards.
The Chamber Diplomats present the ACORN Award to a unique business, has served the area from one to 20 years.
For this year’s recipient, what started out as a fun childhood hobby became a business dream come true. Eddie Pierson’s passion started in the summer of 1993 when an illness landed him a week in the hospital. To pass the time, his mother would bring him packs upon packs of trading cards, and quickly his collection grew. Eddie’s collection of cards and sports memorabilia eventually grew so large that he opened Home Plate Sports Cards in 2020 to share his hobby and passion with others.
Today, you can find Eddie sharing that passion with others as he participates in card shows across the Midwest, welcomes people from all over the state into his store, hosts birthday parties at the shop for young sports enthusiasts, or passes out cards at the Lacey Complex during games and tournaments.
Congratulations Eddie Pierson & Home Plate Sports Cards – this year’s Acorn Award winner!
Each year the Chamber Diplomats present the Old Oak Award to an outstanding, established business of more than 20 years.
The Old Oak Award, also chosen by the Chamber Diplomats, is presented annually to a longstanding business. Like an oak tree, this business has deep roots in our community and branches out well beyond their day-in and day-out tasks to help our community in multiple ways.
This year’s award-winning business can trace its roots back to the summer of 1920 when it was established by Dr. Crumbaugh. Since then, it has only had 4 other owners, which include the current ones. Today’s owners of this business are two Oskaloosa natives who are highly committed to the community where grew up and to where they have chosen to return to raise their families.
Oskaloosa Vision Center’s deep commitment to supporting our community takes on many forms. It financially sponsors number of community events including the Southern Iowa Fair, Run in the Sun, or the Christian Concert on the Square. It also provides opportunities specifically for our local youth by sponsoring their sports teams and the Missoula Children’s Theater performance, providing bubbles for the children at the summer weekly City Band Concerts, and by annually awarding a $1000 scholarship to a graduating senior. The owners even volunteer their time to coach youth sports. Oskaloosa Vision Center takes pride in its continuing commitment to support our community.
Congratulations and thank you to Dr. Molly Walker and Dr. Daniel Foster of Oskaloosa Vision Center for being selected as this year’s Old Oak Award recipient. You not only provide quality eye care and eyewear to those in Oskaloosa and its surrounding areas, but you also seek opportunities to branch out into our community in multiple ways. We commend your efforts to make this, your hometown of Oskaloosa, a strong, growing, and thriving community.
The Golden Dipper and Runner-Up Awards are given each year to the Chamber Diplomats who have attended the most calls.
The Golden Dipper Runner-up lives in Oskaloosa with her 3 daughters. Her devotion to the Diplomats is seen in the fact that she attended 55 of the 72 events. She’s taken the lead in choreographing the “star” routine in the Lighted Parade for the last several years. Her devotion to the community can be seen additionally in her roles on the Friday After Five Committee, and Lion’s Club of Oskaloosa. She serves as a mortgage loan officer at Bank Iowa in Oskaloosa. Congratulations Amanda Nelson, Golden Dipper Runner-Up.
The 2023 Golden Dipper currently serves as the office manager & customer relationship management administrator for TDT CPAs and Advisors. Her involvement at the Chamber includes Friday After Five Committee, Scholarship Selection Committee, and beginning her second year on the Mahaska Chamber Board of Directors. She is active at Central Church. Her commitment to the Diplomats and the Mahaska Community is very evident in that she attended 64 of the 72 events in 2023 even through a pregnancy and maternity leave! This year’s recipient is Pam Newendorp.
Retail Business of the Year: Doty's
In their 28 years in business, these owners have volunteered their time in many community projects, most actively in the Oskaloosa Lions Club and the Mahaska County Sheriff’s Reserves. Over the years, they have also been active volunteers with Crisis Intervention Services, Oskaloosa Elks Lodge, Mahaska Homeless Coalition, the Exchange for Entrepreneurs and the Experience Oskaloosa group.
In the past 5 years, this business has given to fellow Chamber members over $9,000 in discounts to provide an added tangible benefit to Chamber membership. They have also sponsored printing for or given donations to many community projects and organizations, including Oskaloosa Lions Club, Oskaloosa Bark Park, South East Iowa Aquatics Swim Team, Give It Up Mahaska and the Southern Iowa Fair, just to name a few.
Customers appreciate the quick turnaround, creativity, and attention to detail. This business is an asset to non-profits and businesses looking for quality printing in the community. Congratulations to this year's Retail/Service Business of the Year, Doty’s.
Service Business of the Year: db Landscaping
The Service Business of the Year offers a variety of services for outdoor projects. These include design consultation, building and hardscaping, commercial and home yard maintenance, fertilizer application, and even commercial and home snow removal. This business also plays an integral role in Oskaloosa’s downtown Painting with Lights by hanging and removing over 300,000 light bulbs each year, which he has been a part of since its beginning in 2016. Without this guy, the lights will not turn on!
Congratulations to db Landscaping for being selected as this year’s Service Business of the Year. Thank you for your hard work and support in taking care of Oskaloosa.
Industry of the Year: Iowa Wood Preservers
The most outstanding industry in the Mahaska community during the 2023 year, has found success through their commitment to quality products and outstanding service. In 2023 this business doubled in size with the number of employees and doubled in production by diversifying their market. As a leading supplier of wood preservation products servicing in the greater Midwest area, Iowa Wood Preservers treats and preserves lumber to meet a variety of different needs and uses including wood for decks and sill plates, agricultural framing, and wood foundations, as well as sign posts, guardrails, and much more. Congratulations to Iowa Wood Preservers as the Industry of the Year. Thank you for your continued investment in the community.
Community Improvement: Golden Goose Club
This year’s Community Improvement Award is given to a group of women who represent the hard work of many volunteers and donors in the community. With a motto like “making tracks all over town,” these membership-based collectives’ community improvement projects are hard to miss! The Golden Goose Club meets quarterly and is presented with community improvement objectives to help partially or fully fund visions in Mahaska County. Without the support of the Golden Goose Club, many of these past projects would not have been seen through to fruition. Some projects you may have noticed around town include furnishings for the Alley and Trolley Stop Alley, Painting with Lights, and Edmundson Playground just to name a few. Our community is very blessed to have a club like this where so many women come to together to fund community projects. Congratulations to this year's community improvement award, the Golden Goose Club.
Chuck Russell Historic Preservation: Woodhaven Amphitheater at Venard College
The Chuck Russell Award is given to a person or project for their dedicated commitment to preserving the rich heritage and history of Oskaloosa and Mahaska County. This year, the award is presented to a project renovation made possible by receiving several grants including Arts Midwest and the Mahaska County Community Foundation, thanks to George Daily Auditorium and Life Scout, Taylor Drost. Drost began raising funds in September 2022 for benches and trail work for his Eagle Scout project. Over $30,000 was raised, exceeding his initial goal. The first performance at Woodhaven Amphitheater at Venard College was held in August 2023 with approximately 220 in attendance over two nights. Drost stated this was a great community project and would not have been possible without community support. Congratulations to all the helping hands that played a role in bringing the Woodhaven Amphitheater back to life.
Educator of the Year: Jason Maddy, Student Success Coach, Oskaloosa Middle School
The 2023 Educator of the Year joined Oskaloosa Schools in 2007 and has been instrumental in the success of countless students in the Oskaloosa Community School District. Initially hired as a history teacher, this individual had a knack for meeting students as they were and developing meaningful relationships to ensure their success in the classroom and in life. Because of his ability to do just that, he transitioned to the role of Student Success Coach in 2018. As a student success coach, he provides integrated social, emotional, and academic support to students who have a rough go in school or life. Recently, he was awarded the prestigious Masonic Lodge of Oskaloosa (Mahaska Lodge 644) 2022/2023 Teacher of the Year Award! Congratulations to Jason Maddy, Student Success Coach. We are thankful to have someone who continues to develop authentic and supportive relationships that help students and schools expand possibilities for learning and development.
Student of the Year: Addison McKain, Oskaloosa Senior High
This Year’s Student of the Year goes to a 2024 graduate of Oskaloosa High School. During her high school career, she has maintained a lofty GPA and is on track to acquire nearly 30 college credits before her high school graduation. In addition, this student has been involved in Volleyball, Softball, Student Council, and Youth for Christ. She has represented Oskaloosa as an IHSAA Boys State Basketball Tournament Ambassador for the last 3 years. She has worked at Muse and Tasos. She currently is doing the World to Work program at the Chamber. You can always find a smile on her face. She is a role model for many students. Currently, she is planning to attend ISU next fall and major in Human Resource Management. Congratulations to Addison McKain, 2023 Student of the Year.
Volunteer of the Year: Mike Broerman
For many years we have had a Volunteer of the Year award. Many times you see these individuals on Chamber or Main Street committees or at events. This year's volunteer of the year was ‘behind the scenes’ and helped our community accomplish the 5th largest certified site in the state of Iowa, 500 acres of land for future development. For nearly three years, I emailed this individual asking for title opinions, easements, and abstracts to be reviewed. This individual had patience, working with a Chamber director who is nearly clueless when it comes to legal documents – but knowing this was one of the biggest pieces we needed to accomplish to get certified with the state. There were tight deadlines for the project and I know this individual put other work on the back burner to work on our project. On behalf of the Oskaloosa Innovation Park partners – the city of Oskaloosa, Mahaska County, and the Chamber – we want to say thank you to Mike Broerman, this year’s volunteer of the year for helping us accomplish a very important economic initiative for our community.
Business Person of the Year: Matt Sherlock, PGA Professional Edmundson & Harvest Point Golf Courses
This year’s business person of the year has been in the golf business his entire working life and has been a Class A PGA member for the last 12 years. He has worked at Edmundson and Harvest Point Golf Courses since he was 12 years old under the guidance of local legend & PGA Pro Jeff Smith. He has been a PGA professional since 2010. He has received many accolades in his career. This individual has also served the Iowa PGA Section and Iowa PGA Foundation. Over the years, he has served as Iowa PGA Board Secretary and president and is currently the Honorary President of the current Board of Directors. He has represented the Iowa PGA at district meetings, Section events, Iowa PGA Foundation, and strategic planning meetings throughout his career. In 2022 he was named Iowa’s Professional of the Year and in 2021 Iowa PGA Deacon Palmer Award Winner – an award given to one who personally displays outstanding integrity, character, and leadership, in the effort to overcome a major obstacle in their life as an unsung hero/heroine at their facility and in their community, who serves to inspire, empower and assist others both inside and outside of the game. In 2017 he was named the Iowa High School Golf Coaches Association Golf Professional of the Year for contributions made to high school golf. Today, as a successful PGA Pro, Matt Sherlock runs the 9-hole Harvest Point Golf Course and 18-hole Edmundson Golf Course in Oskaloosa complete with a driving range, practice greens, and golf shop. Matt also provides professional golf lessons. This past summer he started a Jr. PGA Club in Oskaloosa which provided weekly golf practice lessons and an informal golf tournament experience to 14 young players. Outside of golf, Matt has volunteered within Oskaloosa Community Schools – most recently being elected to the OCSD School Board. Congratulations to Matt Sherlock, Oskaloosa’s Business Person of the Year.
Up & Comer: Loken Vande Vegte
This young professional – an engineer at Musco - has brought passion and vision to life with the Osky Food Park. Going beyond trucks or trailers in a parking lot, he believes this food park can truly be a community amenity that residents can be proud of. Loken Vande Vegte is an engaged and community-minded resident of Oskaloosa. He volunteered his time during a listening session for Plan Osky, is a committee member for our Chamber holiday events, and has helped behind the scenes making sure the downtown Christmas tree and lights come on for the downtown square. Congratulations, Loken Vande Vegte on being voted this year’s Up & Comer.
Citizen of the Year: Russ Van Renterghem, Mahaska County Sheriff
This individual joined the Oskaloosa Police Dept in 1987 and continued his service there until he was elected as Mahaska County Sheriff in 2016. He has dedicated his entire adult life to serving and protecting the community he not only lives in but is deeply a part of. In his early years, he worked the drug task force as well as created and ran the field training program for the Oskaloosa Police Department. This individual is currently on the EMA board, the 911 board, and the Mid-Iowa Narcotics Enforcement Board. Since being elected Sheriff, Russ Van Renterghem has applied and received grants to help with the purchase of car cameras, as well as body cameras for the Patrol Deputies and the Jailers. He has also made sure first responders have AEDs, tasers, and trauma med kits readily available. He created a school safety committee between all schools within Mahaska County and the Sheriff’s Office along with EMA to train and assure the safety of all students and staff in Mahaska County. The Sheriff's department has also recently added a K-9 unit which Russ was key in re-establishing in the department. Russ is a working sheriff - meaning he will take calls along with the deputies to ensure they have backup and to help lessen their workload. He will cover shifts as needed and has been committed as Sheriff to making sure Mahaska County has 24-hour patrol coverage – which often takes away his own personal time off. He is the man who shows up when help is needed or an unfortunate incident occurs. Russ has tactfully mixed politics, service, and compassion which Mahaska County is lucky to have! Congratulations to this year's Citizen of the Year, Russ Van Renterghem.