Contact: Billy Gibson, Director of Communications, SDREA

PIERRE – Ervin Fink of Armour received the 2021 Legacy of Leadership award presented at the South Dakota Rural Electric Association’s 79th annual membership meeting held here on Jan. 13-15.

Fink has been a member of the Douglas Electric Board of Directors since 1986 and currently serves as president. He has also represented his cooperative on the East River Electric Board of Directors for the past 20 years and currently serves as board secretary.

“It’s been a great pleasure to work with so many of you over the years,” Fink said during the presentation ceremony. “I’m very humbled to receive this award…I don’t feel I deserve it, but I’m very grateful and would like to acknowledge the many cooperative members and cooperative leaders I’ve had the privilege to serve with.”

In nominating Fink for this distinguished award, East River Electric General Manager/CEO Tom Boyko said the cooperative leader has been instrumental in guiding the organization through various shifts and changes in the industry over the past two decades.

“Ervin approaches his position on our board of directors with thoughtful professionalism and a very positive attitude. He can always be counted on to contribute engaging insight during board discussions. He has showcased his leadership in keeping East River’s costs low while also moving forward with projects that will allow us to continue successfully living out our mission of enhancing value for our members,” Boyko said.

Also nominating Fink was Douglas Electric General Manager Jay Spaans, who noted Fink’s advocacy work in supporting the Rural Electric Economic Development (REED) Fund. The program has distributed hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans for organizations throughout Douglas Electric’s service territory and has also launched a $4 million initiative to address the growing housing shortage throughout the region.

“Ervin lives out the seventh cooperative principle of concern for community in both his personal and professional life,” Spaans said, adding that Fink served in the National Guard for six years and is also heavily involved in his local church, St. Peter Lutheran in Armour. “He supports cooperative youth outreach programs and understands that today’s youth will become our future cooperative and community leaders.”

Kevin Czymbor, pastor at St. Peter Lutheran, commented on Fink’s personal integrity and character: “Ervin represents the best that there could be in a neighbor. Whether a stranger or a lifelong friend, he gives everyone the same love and respect they deserve, not because they did something to earn it but merely because they exist. If he becomes aware of a need that he has the ability to meet he does not hesitate to share his time or resources to do so.”

About South Dakota’s Electric Cooperatives – South Dakota’s electric cooperatives provide electricity to more than 126,000 homes, farms and businesses in the state, averaging only 2.5 consumers per mile of line. SDREA is a member-owned, member-controlled association of 31 electric cooperatives in South Dakota. SDREA is devoted to unifying, promoting and protecting the interests of member electric cooperatives in South Dakota by providing leadership, training, communication, legislative representation and other member services.

Click here to view a video about Ervin: Ervin Fink Video

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