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MTI puts donors in spotlight, says 'thank you'

Attendees of Mitchell Technical Institute's annual Donor Recognition event eat prior to the presentation of awards on Thursday night at MTI. (Caitlynn Peetz/Republic) 1 / 3
Bob Banks, left, and Doug Kazmerzak, middle, receive the Volunteerism and Service Award from Heather Lentz, executive director of the MTI Foundation, during Mitchell Technical Institute's annual Donor Recognition event on Thursday night at MTI. (Caitlynn Peetz/Republic) 2 / 3
Mitchell Technical Institute culinary students serve food to attendees of MTI's yearly Donor Recognition event Thursday at the college. (Caitlynn Peetz/Republic) 3 / 3

Mitchell Technical Institute said a formal "thank You" to the college's distinguished contributors Thursday evening during the school's yearly Donor Recognition event.

The event featured food prepared by the school's culinary arts students and recognized faculty, friends and corporate givers who supported the MTI Foundation during the past year.

And in the spotlight were many individuals and groups who sponsor scholarships to help students further their education.

Bob Banks and Doug Kazmerzak were honored with the 2017 Volunteerism and Service Award for their efforts to start and maintain the Ag Class of 1974 scholarship. The scholarship is in its fourth year providing scholarships for second-year ag students at MTI.

Each year Banks and Kazmerzak reach out to their former classmates to gather donations to fund the scholarship, and this year they will be able to offer two, $500 scholarships.

The Individual Donors of the Year award was presented to Carrie Grimes and Connie Tiensvold.

Grimes and Tiensvold established the Kenneth B Carlson Agricultural Scholarship, given annually to an agriculture student at MTI. The scholarship was founded by the pair in memory of Kenneth Carlson, and is intended for students whose family farms are fewer than 1,000 acres.

The Corporate Donor of the Year award was given to Windwalker Transportation and NTA, Ltd., of Sioux Falls, the companies that provided equipment for MTI's new professional truck driving program.

The two companies provided no-cost leases to use their semi tractors for training and education purposes.

The Donor Legacy Award, given to a donor who consistently supports the MTI Foundation, was awarded to SDREA Line Superintendents. The group has sponsored 113 scholarships totalling $82,750 for MTI students pursuing a degree in line work.

Last, but not least, organizations involved in the ag industry were honored as Industry of the Year.

The multiple businesses and organizations assisted in the purchase of a planter for students' hands-on learning.