The members of Milbank Area Retired Teachers and Personnel Association (MARTA) completed 2,860 hours of community service in the last year to lead the retired school personnel organizations in the state of South Dakota. They received the top gold award at the South Dakota Retired School Personnel (SDRSP) state convention in Oacoma on May 10. The monetary value of the South Dakota state volunteer hours is estimated at $261,780.
Watertown came in at 2,663 hours for second place to also earn a gold designation, as did Oahe in third place with 1,790 hours. The silver winners were Sioux Falls, Redfield, Madison and Sisseton. Winner earned a bronze certificate.
Some of the hours recorded by MARTA members involved: working at the community thrift store, selling poppies for veteran programs, sending cards to hospital patients and nursing home residents, working at the Bloodmobile and Orphan Grain Train, spearheading food and school supply drives for local schools and the Grant County Food Pantry, Meals on Wheels, Angel Tree, church committees and pastor assistance, and serving as a military guard at funerals.
The theme of this year’s SDRSP state convention was Let’s Fiesta: Celebrating South Dakota’s Diversity. The Milbank Area Retired Teachers Association (MARTA) was the host unit for the convention and was led by Rhonda Preller and Carm Tobin.
Pre-convention tours were offered at the Atka Lakota Museum, the South Dakota Hall of Fame, and the Dignity sculpture. During the evening banquet, the Lakota Dance Club entertained the group, and awards were presented. On Wednesday, May 11, a Memorial Service was held to recognize the SDRSP members who had passed away during the 2021-2022 year.
The annual business meeting was conducted, and a new slate of officers were installed. Rhonda Preller, who served as state president of SDRSP for 2020-2022 then moved to past president. Jacque Sly, Rapid City, was elected as the new president. Tobin was installed as state secretary.
Kylynn Schwandt, a fifth grader from Milbank, read her local and state-winning Grandparent Essay at the noon luncheon. She placed first amongst over 500 other essays in the state’s Grandparent Essay contest sponsored by SDRSP and South Dakota AARP. Preller introduced Kylynn, her grandparents Julie and Dick Schwandt, and her parents, Jackson and Bri. The Schwandts were guests at the luncheon.
Photos: Top- Rhonda Preller and Carm Tobin Bottom- Donna Fischer(State Grandparent Essay Chair) Kylynn Schwandt, Julie Schwandt, Rhonda Preller