Leadership Vermillion praised

Leadership Vermillion praised U.S. Senator Tim Johnson returned to his hometown Friday, May 7, and addressed the graduating class of Vermillion Leadership 2004 at a banquet in the Al Neuharth Media Center. by David Lias Extraordinary.

That's how U.S. Senator Tim Johnson describes Leadership Vermillion.

"I think it speaks well of the community, that we have this kind of commitment from citizens who are willing to take their own time to hone and sharpen their leadership skills," he said.

The senator was keynote speaker at Leadership Vermillion 2004's graduation exercises.

A fresh crop of graduates received their diplomas at a Friday banquet held at the Al Neuharth Media Center.

Mary Anderson, Jolene Engelhart, Gary Dejong, Vikki Fix, Tammy Hauger, Nancy Nelson, Farron Pratt, Tom Reasoner, Robbie Shields, Lisa Swanson, Melvin Ustad and Paula Verzani completed the program this year.

Leadership Vermillion was started in 2000 as a joint project between the USD Farber Center and the Vermillion Chamber of Commerce. Since then it has been planned and organized by a board consisting of past graduates.

"Leadership Vermillion is unique because it brings together the skills of USD, the community, and is particularly focused on public service," Johnson said.

The purpose of Leadership Vermillion is to provide training and motivation to area citizens to become involved in community service and leadership of all kinds.

Each year approximately a dozen area people are selected from nominations to participate in a nine month training program.

"Leadership Vermillion is the future," Mayor Roger Kozak told the banquet audience. "I will tell you it is phenomenal, all of the energy, the skill, the talent that is bundled up in each one of you."

He said all he has to do is ask any of the Leadership 2004 grads for assistance, and then simply be polite and get out of the way.

"Because if you are given the opportunity, you will serve and serve very well," he said. "I'm proud to have been, each year, a part of this. Good luck, class of 2004. You can be sure you will be called upon to serve your community."

The classes run from October to May and include topics such as motivating and training volunteers, dispute resolution, cultural and economic assets and opportunities for Vermillion.

Political and volunteer opportunities for service are also explored, and the course includes a trip to visit the state Legislature in Pierre.

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