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Vivian woman honored for contribution to tourism

South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard, left, presents Hazel Juhnke, of Vivian, with the Ben Black Elk Award. (SD Tourism Photo)

PIERRE -- A Vivian woman and a Murdo business were presented with state tourism awards last week.

Hazel Juhnke received the Ben Black Elk Award Thursday from Gov. Dennis Daugaard and the South Dakota Department of Tourism at the 2012 Governor's Conference on Tourism in Pierre.

The award recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to South Dakota's visitor industry.

Juhnke has served the South Dakota visitor industry for more than 30 years as a travel counselor and supervisor at interstate information centers at Vivian and Chamberlain.

She has frequently been mentioned as "memorable" and "helpful" by visitors when information center comment cards are reviewed.

"The tourism industry realizes that there is no stronger personal voice when promoting South Dakota than the travel counselors who are the first point of contact for many of the state's visitors," Daugaard said.

"Hazel has made a tremendous contribution to tourism over the years, and I thank her for that excellent service."

Daugaard presented George S. Mickelson Great Service Awards to Pioneer Auto Show in Murdo and the Country Inn & Suites in Watertown.

"Both of these businesses have proven their dedication to hospitality and customer satisfaction and have provided thousands of visitors with memorable travel experiences," Daugaard said.

"We are grateful for their continued commitment to superior service."