Tom and Barb Paepke receive Rural Dakota Pride Award

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Farm Forum

HURON – Tom and Barb Paepke of rural Groton are recipients of this year’s Rural Dakota Pride Award from the South Dakota Farmers Union Foundation. The award is given to South Dakotans who are actively involved in their communities, are tireless volunteers, and display a large amount of pride in bettering their communities. A ceremony honoring this year’s award recipients was held Saturday, August 31, during Farmers Union Day at the South Dakota State Fair in Huron.

“The Paepkes are a great South Dakota family that have given so much to their local community,” said SDFU Foundation President Doug Sombke. “They’re always willing to lend a helping hand to anyone in need and to make their local area stronger.”

Tom and Barb are members of the local Ferney Farmers Union Cooperative and are longtime volunteers for the “Friends of the Fair” committee, a volunteer group that helps the Brown County Fair come to life each year. They are both past Brown County Fair board members.

The Paepkes are both active members of the County Emergency Response Team (CERT), and are often called to help in emergencies in Brown County. They donate and volunteer at the Thanksgiving Dinner in Groton each year, a dinner for those who don’t have family or a place to go for Thanksgiving Dinner.

Tom is active in Groton’s Kiwanis Club, helping children in the area, and will be the group’s president next year. He’s also a past FSA board member. Both Tom and Barb are active members in a local hospice.

“People like Tom and Barb are what make South Dakota such a great place to live,” Sombke said. “They make their community stronger each and every day and serve others selflessly. We’re honored to give them this small token of appreciation for all they’ve done for our state and this community.”

Other recipients of this year’s Rural Dakota Pride Award are Jerry Martin of Meadow, Laurie Smith and Larry Brink both of Huron, and Rep. Dean Schrempp of Lantry.