Duane Kahl, known to many as Mr. Mineola, has been named the Glenwood Area Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year.
Kahl will be among the honorees recognized during the chamber’s annual community betterment dinner on Thursday, March 12. The chamber will also recognize Merrill Sargent with its Good Neighbor Award, Gage Hanlon as its Junior Citizen of the Year, Mills County Public Health with the Customer Service of the Year Award, Kenkel Family Chiropractic with its Business Improvement of the Year award and the Glenwood Wrestling Club as the Organization of the Year.
Brick and Mortar Awards will be presented to the ARFS organization (Loess Hills Humane Society), Leick Landscaping and Lake Ohana Market.
Mary Gunderson will receive the chamber’s Past President Award.
Citizen of the Year
Kahl, who has managed the Mineola branch of Glenwood State Bank for more than two decades, received numerous nominations for his active involvement in the Mineola community.
Kahl’s involvement in Mineola ranges from serving on the board of directors of the Mineola Community Center to serving as the “chief organizer” of events for Mineola American Legion Post 705. He’s volunteered countless hours at St. John Lutheran Church and served as an active member of the Mineola Volunteer Fire Department.
Mineola is unincorporated and has no mayor or city council, but Kahl has stepped up to the plate to perform a variety of tasks on behalf of the community, including making sure street lights that go out get replaced and Christmas decorations are displayed. He’s been the “go to person” as Mineola works to get a new sewer system.
“When Mineola celebrated their 125th anniversary, Duane was the person that organized the initial meeting and did whatever was asked and more to make it the success it was,” said Mineola postmaster Christy Hanshaw. “We have banners flying in Mineola because of Duane. If there is a happening in Mineola, Duane either started it or is working hard behind the scenes to make it a success.”
Good Neighbor Award
Merrill Sargent is being honored for his service to U.S. military veterans.
Sargent donates his time to honor fallen veterans at their funerals and memorial services.
“He stands proudly in all kinds of weather to insure that his comrades are given due honor for their service and sacrifice to the United States,” said nominator Jacklyn Yates. “If you have ever attended a service of a United States veteran in Mills County, you would be impressed by Merrill’s dedication to insure that the ceremony is performed with the utmost dignity and honor.”
Junior Citizen of the Year
The chamber is recognizing Gage Hanlon as its Junior Citizen of the Year for the leadership qualities he’s demonstrated as a martial arts instructor.
Hanlon, who holds the rank of second-degree black belt, will be promoted to third degree later this year.
He has opened his own martial arts school in his home and has offered training to both youngsters and adults.
Hanlon has volunteered his free time at Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Catholic Church and has served as a math and chemistry tutor to his fellow high school students.
Customer Service Award
The Mills County Public Health Office staff provides a variety of medical services to the citizens of Mills County.
Because Mills County has no hospital, public health staffers are asked to provide many services not available in other counties in the state.
In addition to offering many in-home health-care services, MCPH also coordinates a variety of educational programs throughout the year.
Dr. Mike Kenkel and his staff are being honored for their recent expansion and relocation.
Dr. Kenkel’s renovation of a building on the south side of Glenwood’s Town Square has enhanced a high-traffic area of the community.
Organization of the Year
The Glenwood Wrestling Club is being recognized for its renovation of a former roller skating rink and the instruction and activity it offers to dozens of Glenwood-area youngsters.