Halloween has always served as a reminder here that it’s time to begin our annual search for Yankton’s Citizen of the Year. And so it is this year.

However, the past year has given us new, albeit unplanned, signals that the process is upon us, and it also offers a fresh reminder of what this award, presented now for more than a half-century, is all about.

Last Friday, the 2020 Citizens of the Year, Jake and Sandy Hoffner, were belatedly honored at the Yankton airport amid a small gathering of friends. Like last year, the “official” presentation of the award was delayed amid the unpredictable tides of the COVID-19 pandemic.

During a brief, informal ceremony, the Hoffners said the things that so many past Citizens of the Year have said. They noted their belief that others were more deserving, and they give their time to the community because they love their (in their case, adopted) hometown. And they called on others to volunteer, to give of themselves and to work in some way toward the betterment of our community.

With that, we officially open our search for nominations for the 2021 Citizen of the Year award. It aims to honor people like the Hoffners and all the other past honorees, who have served this community in so many ways. As we’ve noted before, these honorees reflect what we want of this community and the spirit to make it happen.

Please send your nominations to us, either by mail or email. Look for the ballots that will be published in the Press & Dakotan periodically or go to www.yankton.net for an online link. Send your nominations to us by mail at Yankton Press & Dakotan, c/o Citizen of the Year, 319 Walnut, Yankton, SD 57078; or email us at news@yankton.net. The deadline to submit your entry is 5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 30.

Sponsors of the Citizen of the Year award include the following entities and civic organizations: Yankton Elks; Yankton Rotary; Yankton Kiwanis Club; Federated Women’s Club; Yankton VFW Post 791; Association of Retired School Personnel; Lewis & Clark Shrine Club; Yankton College; Yankton Catholic Foundation; L&C Behavioral Health Services; Yankton Area Mental Wellness; Knights Of Columbus; Interchange, Inc.; The Center; American Legion Auxiliary; Yankton Morning Optimists and Yankton VFW Auxiliary. The award is also sponsored by these local law firms/attorneys — Den Herder Law Firm; Blackburn and Stevens Prof LLC; Matt Michels, attorney; Marlow Woodward & Huff, Prof. LLC; and Craig Kennedy, attorney — and by the Yankton Press & Dakotan.

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PAST WINNERS

1970 — Carl Youngworth; 1971 — Joe Vinatieri; 1972 — Jeff Scott; 1973 — Freeman Otto; 1974 — George Bauer; 1975 — Harold Levinger; 1976 — C.B. McVay; 1977 — Chan Gurney; 1978 — Dorothy Jencks; 1979 — Lucy and J. Laiten Weed; 1980 — Irene Scott; 1981 — Sister Jerome Schmitt; 1982 — Laddie Cimpl; 1983 — T.H. Sattler; 1984 — Elizabeth Rempp; 1985 — Mary Alice Halverson; 1986 — Don Dendinger; 1987 — Bessi Burgi; 1988 — Don Peterson; 1989 — Frank Yaggie; 1990 — Willis Stanage; 1991 — Wynn Speece; 1992 — Don Bierle; 1993 — Hod Nielsen; 1994 — Millie Wootton; 1995 — Tom Merrill; 1996 — Ted Blakey; 1997 — Bob Karolevitz’ 1998 — Gladys Woolm; 1999 — Dr. Ken Halverson; 2000 — Sister Jacquelyn Ernster; 2001 — Don and Dores Allan; 2002 — Beulah Larson; 2003 — Ken Jones; 2004 — Arletta Tisher; 2005 — Larry and Kathy Hintgen; 2006 — Don and Peg Schiedel; 2007 — Jim Black; 2008 — Pauline Rhoades; 2009 — Jack and Margaret Lyons; 2010 — Myrtle Andersen; 2011 — Thomas and Jo Stanage; 2012 — Brooks and Vi Ranney; 2013 — Don and Pam Kettering; 2014 — Ben Hanten; 2015 — Joan Neubauer; 2016 — Larry and Diane Ness; 2017 — Mike and Gerrie Healy; 2018 — Ron and Jan Bertsch; 2019 — Tom and Jane Gilmore; 2020 — Jake and Sandy Hoffner

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