Seven local leaders and businesses were awarded the Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce 2021 Splash Awards on Thursday, Oct. 28 for their impact and community involvement in the lakes area.

Carrie Johnston, president of the chamber, said the purpose of the awards is to showcase people who make the community better.

"Whether it's a volunteer in the community, or a business that gives back to the community, that's who we really want to honor," said Johnston. "(The awardees) are all nominated from their peers. We asked for nominations from the community, from other chamber members, they can nominate their own business, we take all nominations and then we really want to honor people who are giving back to the community, that's the whole point."

The third annual event was held at the Holiday Inn-Lakefront in Detroit Lakes and featured an "after-hours" social event for the nominees, awardees and their co-workers.

Andy and Sandy Lia, two longtime Detroit Lakes public figures, hosted the event and previewed each award before it was presented during the ceremony.

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The Accelerator Award - Given to an individual who motivates their friends, family, colleagues and community to get involved.

  • WINNERS: Hans and Mary Beth Gilsdorf

Mary Beth Gilsdorf, left, and Hans Gilsdorf, right, speak to the crowd after receiving a 2021 Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce Splash Award during a ceremony at the Holiday Inn - Lakefront on Oct. 28, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)
Mary Beth Gilsdorf, left, and Hans Gilsdorf, right, speak to the crowd after receiving a 2021 Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce Splash Award during a ceremony at the Holiday Inn - Lakefront on Oct. 28, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)


The Gilsdorfs are responsible for numerous art and sculpture projects around Detroit Lakes, including: The "Sunny in DL"sunfish, Detroit Lakes sailboat sculpture at the City Park, the 150 Sails Up public art project commemorating the 150th birthday of Detroit Lakes and the Polar Fest ice palaces.

"When Carrie called and told us we were nominated, she read the Accelerator Award, and I kind of laughed because at the end I could've added, 'whether you wanted us to do that, or not,'" said Mary Beth Gilsdorf.

Hans Gilsdorf added, "With the ice palace, our motto is kind of, 'for the community, by the community,' and it really does take a community to make these things happen and … we always come together to do the greatest things."

Mary Beth Gilsdorf, left, and Hans Gilsdorf, center, are photographed after receiving a 2021 Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce Splash Award during a ceremony at the Holiday Inn - Lakefront on Oct. 28, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)
Mary Beth Gilsdorf, left, and Hans Gilsdorf, center, are photographed after receiving a 2021 Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce Splash Award during a ceremony at the Holiday Inn - Lakefront on Oct. 28, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)

The Ripple Award - Given to a club, group, or non-profit that motivates people around them to be engaged and contributing members through events, volunteer projects, or service.

  • WINNER: Essentia Health

Members of Essentia Health are photographed after receiving a 2021 Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce Splash Award during a ceremony at the Holiday Inn - Lakefront on Oct. 28, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)
Members of Essentia Health are photographed after receiving a 2021 Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce Splash Award during a ceremony at the Holiday Inn - Lakefront on Oct. 28, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)


"In 2017, Essentia Health started a program to encourage its employees to volunteer in the community," said Andy Lia. "Since then, employees have recorded 8,000 volunteer hours, and even during the pandemic, employees found ways to volunteer, from helping a neighbor to donating blood."

The Launch Award - Recognizes an individual in the community whose leadership, volunteerism, energy and willingness to serve propels projects, and the community, forward.

  • WINNERS: Terry and Sandi Kemmer

Terry Kemmer, left, and Sandi Kemmer, right, speak to the crowd after receiving a 2021 Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce Splash Award during a ceremony at the Holiday Inn - Lakefront on Oct. 28, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)
Terry Kemmer, left, and Sandi Kemmer, right, speak to the crowd after receiving a 2021 Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce Splash Award during a ceremony at the Holiday Inn - Lakefront on Oct. 28, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)


The Kemmers are volunteers at First Lutheran Church, the Detroit Lakes chamber leadership program, the downtown Street Faire at the Lakes, and at the Historic Holmes Theatre.

"We've been here since 2021 … and we have found that the best way to get acclimated to a city is to volunteer," said Terry Kemmer. "And it just teaches you about the community, you learn so much about the community in the volunteer efforts, and you get to know people and you recognize faces, and it's just a wonderful way become a part of a community."

Terry Kemmer, center, and Sandi Kemmer, right, are photographed after receiving a 2021 Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce Splash Award during a ceremony at the Holiday Inn - Lakefront on Oct. 28, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)
Terry Kemmer, center, and Sandi Kemmer, right, are photographed after receiving a 2021 Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce Splash Award during a ceremony at the Holiday Inn - Lakefront on Oct. 28, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)

The Wave Award - Recognizes a current chamber member that sets an example for promoting and investing in regional tourism and hospitality industry.

  • WINNER: The Friends of Tamarac

Members of the Friends of Tamarac volunteer organization speak to the crowd after receiving a 2021 Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce Splash Award during a ceremony at the Holiday Inn - Lakefront on Oct. 28, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)
Members of the Friends of Tamarac volunteer organization speak to the crowd after receiving a 2021 Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce Splash Award during a ceremony at the Holiday Inn - Lakefront on Oct. 28, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)


"This volunteer group has a long history of supporting (Tamarac National Wildlife) Refuge activities and for creating innovative programming and partnerships," said Andy Lia. "Their work to build the Discovery Center … and school (environmental) curriculum will leave lasting impressions and a love of nature for all ages."

The Beacon Award - Given to an individual who is a long-standing volunteer and repeat performer for their willingness to always step up, participate and lead.

  • WINNER: Beth Pridday

Beth Pridday is photographed after receiving a 2021 Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce Splash Award during a ceremony at the Holiday Inn - Lakefront on Oct. 28, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)
Beth Pridday is photographed after receiving a 2021 Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce Splash Award during a ceremony at the Holiday Inn - Lakefront on Oct. 28, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)


"T, G, I, P, thank god it's Pridday, that's what they say when Beth shows up, I'm just saying," said Sandy Lia.

Pridday has encouraged local entrepreneurship and has advocated, and volunteered, for the Humane Society of the Lakes, Essentia Health, the Detroit Lakes Chamber, the Detroit Lakes Kiwanis, the City of Detroit Lakes, Becker County Museum, Propel DL and more, Andy Lia added.

"Honestly, I never thought long-standing and me would be in the same sentence," said Pridday. "We have embraced all things Detroit Lakes and I'm a firm believer in, if you want to make a change, you should start by making it yourself, and I'm super proud to volunteer with a lot of other people in this community to make it an amazing place to live, work and play."

The Lighthouse Award - Recognizes a business, or organization, that consistently shows their enduring commitment and long-standing service to the region.

  • WINNER: BTD Manufacturing

Brittany Nordick speaks to the crowd after BTD Manufacturing received a 2021 Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce Splash Award during a ceremony at the Holiday Inn - Lakefront on Oct. 28, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)
Brittany Nordick speaks to the crowd after BTD Manufacturing received a 2021 Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce Splash Award during a ceremony at the Holiday Inn - Lakefront on Oct. 28, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)


Over the last 40 years, BTD has supported local schools, non-profits and local events through financial donations and allowing their employees to volunteer. In 2021, BTD was responsible for building the 150 small and moderate-sized sailboats for the city's 150th birthday celebration (i.e, 150 Sails Up), said Andy Lia.

"They donated all the labor and the materials too," he added.

The Skipper Award - Given to an individual who demonstrates great leadership within a company, or organization, and has gone above-and-beyond to help the community in the past year.

  • WINNER: Kelcey Klemm

Carrie Johnston, left, president of the Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce, presents a 2021 Splash Award to Kelcey Klemm, city administrator for Detroit Lakes, during a ceremony at the Holiday Inn - Lakefront on Oct. 28, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)
Carrie Johnston, left, president of the Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce, presents a 2021 Splash Award to Kelcey Klemm, city administrator for Detroit Lakes, during a ceremony at the Holiday Inn - Lakefront on Oct. 28, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)


Klemm, the city administrator for Detroit Lakes, led a team of city staff in projects, including: the new police department, the Detroit Lakes-Becker County Airport runway expansion and improvement project, a new South Shore park, and spearheaded the city's 150th birthday celebration.

"All of this was a lot of committee efforts, talk about the 150th and Hans and Mary Beth were a part of that, and South Shore Park … it really was a group effort, and I got to thank my wife and family for putting up with me," said Klemm. "Thank you so much, I'm really, really surprised."

Kelcey Klemm, city administrator for Detroit Lakes, speaks to the crowd after receiving a 2021 Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce Splash Award during a ceremony at the Holiday Inn - Lakefront on Oct. 28, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)
Kelcey Klemm, city administrator for Detroit Lakes, speaks to the crowd after receiving a 2021 Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce Splash Award during a ceremony at the Holiday Inn - Lakefront on Oct. 28, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)

A request for nominations for the 2022 Splash Awards will be sent out by the chamber in the spring.

"Just keep an eye out for people who are doing good," said Johnston. "And if that's yourself, great, look for our nomination to come out in the spring and we welcome anybody to either nominate someone else, or if you want to nominate you, or your business."