Jaycees recognize Vermillion's outstanding young The Vermillion Jaycees honored several local residents at their annual Outstanding Young awards night and reception held on Thursday, March 14 in the William Radigan Emergency Services Building. Mayor Roger Kozak addressed the group on the topic of civic leadership and involvement in the community. Following the mayor's comments, the Jaycees recognized seven leaders in six award categories.
Outstanding Young Civic Leader � BJ Nesselhuf
BJ Nesselhuf has been a supporter of the democratic process for the past five years. However, in 2000, BJ was a participant, running his own successful campaign for the South Dakota House of Representatives. Elected three weeks after his 25th birthday, he became the youngest person ever elected to a state office in South Dakota.
Rep. Nesselhuf's volunteer endeavors are no less impressive. He has served as a substitute Sunday school teacher, chaperoned high school youth group activities, served as a youth soccer coach, and led a group of USD students on a two-week trip to Guatemala. BJ is also a member of Sertoma and Rotary.
Nesselhuf is currently an independent insurance agent. He was selected as Outstanding Young Civic Leader because of his contributions to the city of Vermillion by serving as a legislator and by serving as a willing volunteer to Vermillion's youth. He has represented the city and university well. City Councilman Drake Olson was also a nominee in this category
Outstanding Young Law Enforcement Officer �
Sgt. Dave Thiesse has worked for the Vermillion Police Department since 1991, where he served as a patrol officer until 1994. Since then he has been promoted to sergeant. His current responsibility is for supervision of patrol officers, department scheduling, and training of new staff. He has received commendations for apprehension of burglars and drug arrests from the VPD.
Thiesse is a nationally certified child safety seat technician and has distributed over 250 child safety seats to local families; he also holds education classes in proper installation of the seats. He was leader of the Explorer Post #266 from 1993-2001.
His most public achievement was being selected from thousands of applicants to work the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. There he spent three weeks volunteering to monitor crowd control and served as a visible detriment to terrorist threats.
Thiesse was selected as this year's Outstanding Young Law Enforcement Officer because of his commitment to law enforcement and his visibility and volunteer spirit demonstrated in representing Vermillion at the 2002 Olympics. Other nominees in this category included Detective Shawn Fick and Deputy Sheriff Paul Pederson.
Outstanding Young Educator � Erica Larson
Erica Larson works as a special education teacher in the Vermillion Middle School. She teaches students who qualify for special education services in grades 6-8. She is also in charge of troubleshooting and developing new programs for the computerized Individual Education Plan. She works with other educators such as the Autism/Life Skills and General Education teachers.
Larson conducts disability awareness training within the school system. She has presented twice at international conventions. Erica coaches Special Olympics in Vermillion. She plans and organizes Special Olympic events for school-aged children. She is also a member of Golden Key National Honor Society.
Larson was selected as Outstanding Young Educator because of her commitment to the needs of the community's special needs students. Professors Clark Hammond and Angeline Lavin were also nominated in this category.
Outstanding Young Business Leader � David Hertz
Hertz is the owner and collaborator of many Vermillion businesses. He is the owner of Midwest Mobile Home Park and Midwest Homes, a contracting and construction business specializing in modular homes. He also constructed and operated Little Yotes Daycare until it merged with Vermillion Daycare under the auspices of the Center for Children and Families. Currently, he is developing two other businesses: Midwest Redi-Mix and Countryside Addition, the latter of which is located on the lower level of The Bluffs golf course.
Hertz is involved in philanthropic endeavors. He is on the board of directors of the United Church of Christ, Congregational. He is a member of the Vermillion Chamber of Commerce where he serves on the board of directors. He also remains on the board of the Center for Children and Families while the center transitions its leadership.
He was selected as Outstanding Young Business Leader because of his continuing work to benefit the Vermillion community. His commitment gets stronger the longer he is in the city. His impact on the city of Vermillion is a testament to his work ethic and willingness to take risks. Elizabeth Acosta, owner of Barista's Brew, was also a nominee in this category.
Outstanding Young Homemaker � Dena Brady
Dena Brady is a wife, mother, and businessperson. She and her husband Jim are parents of three children, Jessica, Nathen, and Rachel. Additionally, she provides full-time daycare for six children in her home. Brady also works another business from her home, a travel agency. She considers herself very fortunate to be able to stay at home with her kids and own a business.
She considers her awards her children and her husband and having a happy life and family. Her outside activities include membership in the Jaycees, where she participated in numerous projects including Angel Tree, Toys for Tots, Adopt-a-Family, and the Food Pantry.
Brady was selected as Outstanding Young Homemaker for her ability to balance her commitment to job and family, and her service to the community through volunteer activities. Her work days are as long or longer than most others'. Her special abilities are admired and worthy of recognition. Shelly Preszler was also a nominee in this category.
Outstanding Young Health Care Professionals � Amy Thiesse and Dr. Paul Roob, D.C.
Amy Thiesse is the director of nursing at Sioux Valley Vermillion Care Center. A graduate of St. Luke's School of Nursing in 1991, she has been director of nursing since July of 2000. Over the years, Thiesse has worked in acute care, emergency, clinic, travel nursing, and long term care.
She participates in the South Dakota Organization of Nurse Executives. She also has been appointed to the board of the Vermillion Senior Citizen Center. Thiesse also serves as a "preceptor" to Mt. Marty and SDSU nursing students during their management rotation.
Her greatest accomplishment may be improving the communication of the departments under her leadership, resulting in increased resident and family satisfaction. She is an advocate for those considering nursing as a career, as the shortage of nurses in South Dakota is nearing a crisis point.
Dr. Paul Roob is a chiropractic physician in Vermillion. With a doctorate in chiropractic by age 25, Dr. Roob started his own business. His goal is not simply to treat the symptoms of pain, but to make his patients aware of lifestyle changes that could improve their overall condition.
Dr. Roob holds two fund raisers a year, with proceeds going to a community charity. His most recent fund raiser netted over $400 for the St. Vincent DePaul Society of Vermillion. His typical fund raiser consists of providing adjustments for a donation.
He is also involved in the community as a Jaycee, where he has been an active member. Dr. Roob was selected as one of Vermillion's Outstanding Young for his commitment to health care and his philanthropic endeavors.
Veronica Schmidt and Dr. Vicki Walker were recognized as nominees in this category.
About the Vermillion Jaycees
The Vermillion Jaycees is a community service organization chartered in 1959. The mission of the Jaycees is to provide community development, individual development, and chapter management. The Jaycees are open to anyone between the ages of 21 and 39. Meetings are held on the first Monday and third Thursday of each month in the William J. Radigan Emergency Services Center. Everyone is invited to attend. Guests are welcome at all meetings.