Governor Kristi Noem presented the 2020 Governor’s Awards on Sept. 15 to South Dakota businesses and individuals who have made significant contributions to improving independent living and increasing employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

According to Dan Hoblick, Department of Human Services, the Governor’s Awards were presented to the following recipients:

Chris Peterson of Fort Pierre has been employed full-time with Beck Motors for 23 years. Chris exemplifies integrity, knowledge, and motivation; a work ethic that any employer desires in his or her workforce. For these achievements, Peterson was awarded the Outstanding Employee with a Disability.

Kendra Gottsleben, Sioux Falls, received the Outstanding Individual with a Disability Award.

The Fox Stop, Yankton, is the Outstanding Private Employer (Small Employer).

Boyds Gunstock Industries, Mitchell, is the Outstanding Private Employer (Large Employer).

Mitchell School District, Food Service Department received the Outstanding Employer Award (Other).

Karen Schmeiser, Aberdeen, received the Outstanding Transition Services Award.

Eugene “Gene” Murphy has made it his life’s mission to help fellow veterans and individuals with disabilities, and received the Distinguished Service Award.

The 2020 Governor’s Awards ceremony was co-sponsored by the Board of Vocational Rehabilitation, the Board of Service to the Blind and Visually Impaired, the Statewide Independent Living Council, and the South Dakota Department of Human Services.

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