Lingers to receive the Harvey Wolke Award

Bichler, Oftedals Jackson, Shaw also to be honored Jan. 16


The nomination letters have been reviewed, and the Miles City Area Chamber of Commerce has chosen the winners for the annual Citizen of the Year awards.

The awards will be presented Thursday at an awards banquet at the Town and Country Club. The awards will be presented in five categories: Business, individual, senior citizen volunteer, volunteer (not retired) and the Harvey Wolke Award.

“All the nomination letters were reviewed by a committee of the chamber and scored accordingly,” said MCACC Executive Director John Laney. “The awards are then given based on that criteria. We always get so many deserving letters, the process for choosing the winners never gets easier.”

Citizen of the Year winners are chosen annually, except for recipients of the Harvey Wolke Award, which is given only when an individual or group is cited for outstanding community betterment, civic vision and the ability to motivate and guide these efforts.

The list of this year’s winners is as follows: Business - Jackson Contractor Group; Individual - Carla Bichler; Senior Citizen Volunteer(s) - Bill and Sharon Oftedal; Volunteer - Deb Shaw; Harvey Wolke Award-Ty and Rosalie Linger.

Jackson Contractor Group was chosen as Business of the Year for choosing to base their operation here in Miles City and the way they have embraced the community, according to Laney.

“Jackson Contractor Group has created jobs for the community and has really shown a commitment to it,” he said. “It’s a business unlike any we’ve really ever had here before. They’ve put down roots here and really have bought into our way of life in Miles City we’re excited to have them, and they’re a great addition to the town.”

Carla Bichler, a social worker at Custer County Community Health Center, was chosen as Individual of the Year for her tireless work both in her field and in the community.

“Carla is amazing, her nomination letter was absolutely off the charts,” Laney said. “The stuff she’s involved in in the community and her profession is phenomenal. She is very deserving of the award.”

Bill and Sharon Oftedal were chosen as Senior Citizen Volunteers for their work over the years with Holy Rosary Healthcare, as well as their efforts in improving the Eastern Montana Fairgrounds.“Bill and Sharon have been involved in multiple boards and foundations at the hospital,” Laney said. “But the one thing that really stands out is their commitment to improving the fairgrounds. They were huge in the renovation of the exhibition hall, and with that project done, they have taken on the restroom facilities by the grandstands. They know the right people to get the work done, and the projects become much more affordable because of their efforts.”

Deb Shaw was recognized for her years of volunteering for various youth activities in the community.

‘Deb is involved in flag football, Little Guy football, youth baseball, you name it, she’s done it,” Laney said. “She’s just done a ton for the youth in the community over the years, it’s amazing. There’s also a lot of stuff that her and Jeff do with the Redneck Grill to help out various non-profit organizations in town.”

After a freak blizzard in October wiped our roughly 14,000 head of cattle in South Dakota, Miles City residents Ty and Rosalie Linger decided to do what they could to help. They created Heifers for South Dakota, a non-profit group that has encouraged ranchers in surrounding states to pledge cows to those who lost at least 25 percent of their herd. for their efforts, they have been chosen for the Harvey Wolke Award.

“The monumental task that they took on for those people in South Dakota just speaks volumes for what kind of people they are,” Laney said. “The goodwill that their efforts have brought our community is just tremendous. So many people are blessed they did what they did, and for us not to recognize and honor that would be a sin. It’s an amazing story, and they are very worthy of our recognition.”

The banquet will be Thursday, January 16 at the Town and Country Club beginning with a no-host cocktail hour at 6 p.m. Tickets are $18, and dinner will be provided by the Redneck Grill. Laney said its his hope that anyone who can will attend to honor this year’s winners.

“These awards are really the only recognition and thanks these people get, because they don’t do it for any other reason than just to do it because it’s the right thing to do,” he said. “We’re very appreciative of what they do, and blessed to have them in our community. We want people to come out, have an enjoyable evening, and give these honorees their due.”