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Sturgis presents awards to employees, volunteer

STURGIS – The City of Sturgis presented awards to two employees and a Sturgis resident at its annual holiday gathering recently.

Jenn Bush of the Sturgis Finance Office was named the City of Sturgis 2022 Employee of the Year.  Judd Crowser of the Public Works Department received the Jim Bush Lifetime Achievement Award. And Sturgis resident Debbie Looby was awarded the 2022 Sturgis Volunteer of the Year award.

Jenn Bush has worked in the City Finance Office since the fall of 2019. She came to the city after working as a bank teller at First Interstate Bank in Sturgis. Previously, she worked as an administrative assistant at the Sturgis Area Chamber of Commerce.

Colleague Adam Hasch nominated Bush saying she is positive, hardworking and always has a smile on her face.

“Jenn goes above and beyond with her job duties. She knows and can help with any position within the finance office and will take on any challenge or duty presented to her,” Hasch said. “Jenn is one of the most positive people in the City.”

Hasch said Bush is a great asset to the city of Sturgis and its citizens.

Bush said she was humbled to be chosen Employee of the Year.

“I really like people, and I love my job,” Bush said.

Other nominees for employee of the year were Sturgis Community Center Director Rod Heikes, Sturgis Liquor Director Travis Parker, Sturgis Public Works Director Rick Bush, and Sturgis Director of Administrative Services Lisa Katzenstein.

Crowser, a heavy equipment operator with the City of Sturgis, is always willing to take on any city project, those who nominated him said. And he goes about it with his cheerful nature and a smile.

Crowser started his career with the City of Sturgis in March 1991 on the sanitation crew.  After three years, he transferred to the Streets Department.  Crowser was part of the crew that was called in to help dig fire break lines on the extensive Bear Butte fire that burned in the late summer of 1996. Crowser transferred to the Water Department in September of 2009 and quickly completed his certifications for Water Treatment and Water Distribution to become a Water Operator. He transferred back to the Streets Department in 2014.

Other recipients of the Jim Bush Lifetime Achievement Award have included Jim Bush, Gene Stock, Jeanie Shyne, Julie Moore, and Shawn Barrows.

In addition to Looby, two other individuals were nominated for 2022 Sturgis Volunteer of the Year. They included Trisha Roe and Molly Hoffman, both volunteers at the Sturgis/Meade County Animal Shelter.

Looby, a Sturgis native, is a chip off the old block when it comes to volunteering in the community of Sturgis.

Looby’s parents, Bob and Betty Chihak, were both active in organizations in Sturgis. Bob was an elder at his church, commander of the Sturgis VFW Post 2730, and was presented a certificate by the Fort Meade VA Medical Center Director for 6,067 hours and 15 years of service to veterans. Betty was active in the Sturgis Zonta Club and their many volunteer programs, and she was twice awarded Zontian of the year.

Looby is active in many organizations in Sturgis including the Sturgis Alliance of Churches, Sturgis Golden K Kiwanis, the First Presbyterian Church, Sturgis Community Action, Sturgis ABC, Sturgis Transportation Board, and the Sturgis Kiwanis Food Pantry. She does this while working full time for Meade County Housing and Redevelopment in Sturgis.

Why does she volunteer?

“Because it’s fun. It gives me a good feeling to help. And I get to get out and meet people. It’s just so satisfying,” Looby said.

Looby grew up in Sturgis. Her family moved here when she was in fourth grade. They lived on Paisley Terrace.

Looby’s dad, Bob, grew up in Rapid City and worked for years at the Gamble’s Store there. He was offered the opportunity to come to Sturgis and operate the store here which he eventually purchased. The Main Street store collapsed in the May blizzard of 1983. He and Betty went on to purchase the Gamble’s store in Belle Fourche.

Looby graduated from Sturgis High School in 1971.

She said her volunteering first began when she taught Sunday school where her children were in school. That volunteering continued for more than 20 years.

Currently Looby is secretary, treasurer and vice president for the Sturgis Alliance of Churches. She spearheads the organization’s annual Chili Cookoff.

Looby is secretary of the Golden K Kiwanis and at one time served as the Lieutenant Governor for the District Kiwanis. She helps with office paperwork at the Kiwanis Food Bank in Sturgis.

Through Kiwanis, Looby also helps with the Action Club – a group of special needs adults from Black Hills Special Services. Looby guides them in volunteering opportunities throughout the community of Sturgis.

“We try to get them involved in whatever we can,” Looby said. “Recently we did an ice cream social at the High Rise. They helped with the soup supper, and they’ve told me they want to do some work with the Little Libraries the Kiwanis has around town.”

Looby said there is no retirement in sight for her either at her full-time job or as a volunteer.

“I’d like to do my sewing and my scrapbooking someday,” she said. “But, I love what I do.  The organizations I’m involved in help a lot of people and that’s what it’s all about.”

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2:35 pm, February 26, 2024
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