The Steele County Historical Society Honors Volunteers

November 14, 2018

The Steele County Historical Society (SCHS) announces four recipients for its highest awards in volunteering. The recipients were recognized during the SCHS Annual Meeting on November 8, 2018.


Volunteers are the cornerstone of the Society, are vital in accomplishing the mission, and raise awareness throughout the Steele County community.  The Society is grateful to ALL of our volunteers, the recipients of the awards have demonstrated dedication above and beyond the norm. 


The Volunteer of the Year Award is an honor presented by the SCHS to recognize a member or members who, through example and accomplishment, provided outstanding volunteer service to the Historical Society during the past year.  This year’s recipient has given countless hours at the SCHS reception desk, greeting guests, answering phones, and providing administrative assistance.  The Society is grateful for the expertise and time of Sandra Blaha. 


The Tour Guide of the Year Award recognizes an individual who consistently provides quality tours to individuals, school groups and tour groups.  Between May and the end of September, SCHS offers tours of the History Center and the Village of Yesteryear for our visitors.   Our tour guides give their time and energy as they walk groups through the campus, sharing information about each building and significance related to Steele County history.  The 2017 Tour Guide of the Year goes to Rod Nakagaki. 


The Community Partner of the Year puts the spotlight on an agency that has worked closely with the Society in a variety of areas.  Scott Kozelka and staff of the Steele County Free Fair have contributed in a variety of fundraising and community events throughout the year—in addition to working with us on the SCFF by promoting our performers and the SCHS campus, they also assisted with the MS Bike Tour and Americana Showcase in the Village.  Scott and his team have committed to partnering more with the Society again in 2019.  With much gratitude we present the Community Partner of the Year to the SCFF.   The award was accepted by Scott Kozelka, Manager SCFF.


The Lifetime Achievement Award honors an individual who has made a significant impact at the Steele County Historical Society. Alice Nadeau has connected countless staff, guests, and fellow volunteers with their family history and Steele County history. Alice founded a monthly genealogy class at the History Center. While she just retired from teaching, the class, it continues to be well attended and grow. She also anchored a project digitizing over 50,000 obituaries. Since starting as a volunteer researcher and genealogist in 2012, Alice has volunteered over 6,850 hours.  The Lifetime of Service Award goes to Alice Nadeau.


“Nonprofits depend upon volunteers of all levels in order to be successful in meeting the mission.  The Steele County Historical Society is fortunate to have so many dedicated people lending a hand.  Congratulations to Sandra, Alice, Rod and the Steel County Free Fair.” James Lundgren, Executive Director.


The Steele County Historical Society is a non-profit educational and cultural institution established in 1949. Its mission is to preserve and share Steele County history today for tomorrow.  The Society collects, preserves and tells the story of Steele County’s past through museum exhibits, research, collections, tours, educational programs and book publishing. 


The Steele County Historical Society, located at 1700 Austin Road, Owatonna, is open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10 am until 4 pm, Thursdays from 10 am until 8 pm, and Saturdays from 10 am until 3 pm. For more information, please call our office at 507-451-1420.

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