Minnehaha County’s Wanda Artz Receives 2019 Minnie Lovinger Award
Minnehaha County resident and life-long Farmers Union member Wanda Artz was recognized with the Minnie Lovinger Award for her years of dedication and service to rural youth during the 2019 South Dakota Farmers Union Convention held in Aberdeen Dec. 10-11.
At 86, Artz recalls with fond memories attending Farmers Union camp as a youth and other activities with her parents, Walter A. and Cecil Meyer. When she was young, her mom served as an education director. When they needed someone to fill her mom’s shoes, she volunteered.
“I just grew up with Farmers Union and I believe in it,” explains Artz, who lives with her husband, Edward, on their Minnehaha County farm. In addition to serving as Education Director, Artz also serves as the County Secretary, a role she has filled on and off since high school. And even though she had a busy career as a postal worker, Artz continued to make time as Education Director.
“It is interesting to see young people today develop their curiosities and learn,” she says.
More about Minnie Lovinger Award
Established in 2004, the South Dakota Farmers Union Foundation instituted the Minnie Lovinger Award in recognition of the founder of all Farmers Union education programs.
Minnie Lovinger passed away more than 70 years ago, but not before she laid the foundation for all subsequent Farmers Union education efforts. As historian Lyn Oyos wrote in his history of South Dakota Farmers Union, Minnie Lovinger “snatched the thorny chance and broke the trail that others followed. Her soul has never left them in their sowing and reaping.”
This award is given to individuals who have made great contributions to the success and the longevity of the South Dakota Farmers Union youth program.
South Dakotans give back to rural youth
In addition to the Minnie Lovinger award, SDFU recognized several members who give back to rural youth through active participation in SDFU youth programming including: 25-year award presented to Cheryl Dethlefsen, Aurora County; 15-year award: Tracy Chase, McCook County; and Frank Kloucek, Bon Homme County; Five-year award: Mike Traxinger, Brown County; First-year awards: Abby Dethlefsen, Aurora County; Gladys Geidel, Davison County; Justin Goetz, Walworth County; Lorrie Hanson, Marshall County; Heather Kruger, Kingsbury County; Caleb Nugteren, McCook County; and Christi Ryen, Perkins County. Largest Increase in Campers: Bon Homme County, Frank Kloucek, Education Director; Largest Camp: Canborn County, Pat Carsrud, Education Director; Largest Percent of Members at Camp: Gregory County, Melissa Wonnenberg, Education Director and Largest Percent Day Camp Pre-Registered Online: Brule County, Kayla Konechne, Education Director.