Hazel Juhnke has spent the last 30 years promoting points of interest within the state of South Dakota to travelers stopping at one of the local Interstate Information Centers (Rest Stops at Vivian or Chamberlain) located along I-90.
As a travel counselor and supervisor she’s also taken care of children accidentally left behind at the rest stop, answered endless questions regarding the ‘wind’ and was instrumental in helping a young man from Minnesota find the best place to propose to his future wife. Hazel laughed as she recalled some of the more memorable incidents that she encountered over the years she’s worked at the Rest Stops.
"You gotta have patience and a love of people. I enjoy the people who stop, they’re on vacation, they’re happy," said Hazel in reference to her longevity working in the South Dakota Tourism Industry.
Hazel’s dedication to her job and desire to help tourists enjoy their stay in South Dakota contributed to the recognition she received at the Governor’s Tourism Conference held in Pierre last week.
Gov. Dennis Daugaard presented Hazel with the prestigious Ben Black Elk Award. The governor stated, that Mrs. Juhnke has frequently been mentioned as "memorable" and "helpful" by visitors when Information Center comment cards are reviewed.
"The tourism industry realizes that there is no stronger personal voice when promoting South Dakota than the travel counselors who are the first point of contact for many of the state’s visitors," stated Gov. Daugaard during the tourism banquet held Thursday, Jan. 19 at the conclusion of the conference.
"Hazel has made a tremendous contribution to tourism over the years, and I thank her for that excellent service," said Gov. Daugaard.
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