The awarding of both the Frank Yaggie Award and the Cornerstone Award by the Yankton Chamber of Commerce have become highlights of the annual Chamber banquet.
However, this year, it earned even more significance as the two awards were combined and presented to Dr. Wayne Kindle, superintendent of the Yankton School District, formerly of Winner.
Kindle is a graduate of Winner High School and his wife, Marge (Olson) is also from the Tripp County area.
“The first thing that came to mind when I was standing up there and hearing some of the things they announced that I had done, is that this is really a shared award in my mind,” Kindle said. “There are lots of great people in this school district and in this community that do so many great things, and I have just been lucky to be a part of those things — not by myself, but working side by side with people. While I am honored, I am humbled and I recognize that when an individual gets an award like this, it isn’t about me. It is really about all the other people who have involved in making a really great thing happen not only in Yankton but in the school district.”
According to the Chamber, the award winner must make significant contributions to the community by selfless acts of time and contributions throughout his or her life in Yankton. That vision and dedication to the betterment of the community must be evident through their daily lives, civic involvement and professional service. The individual must also contribute to the growth and success of Yankton.
“I was more than surprised getting the award,” Kindle said. “That I was chosen for something as meaningful as the Frank Yaggie/Cornerstone Award, particularly given that they had combined the two for the first time, I am honored. I finally had an opportunity to sit down and see what the two awards represent and the names that are on those lists, and I am really honored to be on both of those lists.”
Kindle has received several awards including: 2015 Ivan Dixon Administrator Award for the State of South Dakota Student Council, 2006 Mental Wellness Diversity Award, 2004 Human and Civil Rights Award from SDEA, and Minority Leaders Fellowship Award.
His professional and community involvement has included Avera Sacred Heart Hospital Board Member and Chair, Yankton Area Progressive Growth, Heartland Psychological Board of Directors, School Administrators of South Dakota, Association for School Curriculum and Development and Yankton Elks Lodge.
Kindle has also served on several boards and organizations including the Citizens Task Force for Yankton County Courts and Public Safety, Yankton Area Foundation Committee, Mount Marty College Executive Committee, Mount Marty Student Affairs Committee, Mount Marty Trusteeship Committee, United Way Advisory Board, War Memorial Committee, SHOW Cap Committee, Yankton Morning Optimist, Yankton Child Protection Team and Native America Day Wacipi organizer.
“Just that large opportunity to get out there and be part of many things that are not only going to help the community, but also our kids, is very important to me,” Kindle said. “(It’s about) what kind of legacy we are going to not only leave for our kids, but also build for their future — and I have some ideas.”
He said walking in the path of past and current Yankton leaders is also a challenge to do more.
“If you go back to Marian Gunderson, who is on that list of winners, when I first moved to town, it didn’t take me long to figure out that a person like her does things and gets things done. They are all very good things for the community and our kids. So, when I think of her and all of the (past winners) of those two awards, the one common thing that I believe they all share is they all really believe in Yankton. They are advocates for kids and they want to see us do some remarkable things moving forward. They are thinkers and planners — forward thinking people.”
He said they also had another quality in common, they need to share any recognition received with others.
“For them, it wasn’t about themselves, rather it was about what they could do for others,” Kindle said.
That is a lesson he said he learned at a young age.
“Growing up in my personal life, I didn’t have a lot,” Kindle said. “I am not embarrassed to say that. In fact, I learned a lot about making the most of what you do have. I will probably not have the resources that I would like to have to give to others and to give to causes. But, I know two things for sure: That my wife, Marge, and I give what we can and from our heart. I also know I am going to continue to give my time, which I encourage everyone to do. We are all blessed with time and the ability to help others with our time.”