The 2020 Community Spirit Award
Persons of the Year
Kris and Dave Crubaugh (left)
Business of the Year
The Village Hive (above)
Junior Person of the Year
Abigail Helbach (right)
Congratulations to all!
Since 2004, the Jensen Community Center and the Jensen Community Spirit have selected and celebrated members of the community who exhibit exemplary community spirit. Every year, we receive nominations for many worthy contenders, and this year was no exception, especially in light of our community going above and beyond as COVID-19 affected all our lives.
We are happy to announce the 2020 Persons of the Year, Business of the Year, and Junior Person of the Year. Thank you to all of you for making the Tomorrow River area such a wonderful place to live.
This year, in addition to each recipients’ nominating letter, we’re including additional details about them.
Without further ado, we’re pleased to announce:
2020 Persons of the Year
Kris and Dave Crubaugh
When told that they had been chosen as the 2020 Persons of the Year, Kris and Dave Crubaugh, owners of Falcon One-Stop, were overwhelmed. Kris told the Spirit, “We are surprised and honored to receive this award. We have enjoyed all of our 10 short years here. Amherst is such a welcoming and supportive community. Thanks!”
The Crubaughs relocated to Amherst from Stevens Point about a decade ago, and this year marks the 10th anniversary of their ownership of Falcon One- Stop. In addition to the achievements that nominators Bob Rausch and Tom Ashline list below, the couple is active in their church, St. Mark’s Episcopal; they support the library’s summer reading program with free movies; and Dave is also a member of the Tomorrow River Lions.
Nomination for 2020 Persons of the Year
We would like to nominate Kris and Dave Crubaugh for Persons of the Year.
Since they have moved to the village, they have been constantly active in business organizations and more.
Both have held positions on the Board of the Tomorrow River Business Association. Each year, they have been active in the set-ups and other duties for the Celebrate Amherst River Fest in September.
Kris has been very active with the organization and produces maps for the annual Swap-O-Rama each spring.
They both have been very active in the Amherst Opera House Company Guild. Kris has even become a bartender for the group for events that need a bartender for serving beer and wine.
Dave stepped up and became an Amherst Village Board Trustee and is very active in the daily activities involved with the board.
Bob Rausch and Tom Ashline
2020 Business of the Year
The Village Hive
Established in 2013 by owner Amy Powers, The Village Hive has offered area chefs and bakers an outlet for their creativity without the significant investment opening their own commercial establishments would entail. Powers told the Spirit that each member of the food collective rents their equipment and space from her and has their own commercial license. In addition to The Hive, Powers is co-owner, with Eleonore Hebal, of The Swarm, a gathering place next door.
Just like the Crubaughs, Powers said she was honored and humbled to have her business chosen as 2020 Business of the Year.
Nomination for 2020 Business of the Year
The Village Hive Bakery and Local Foods Collective located at 127 N. Main Street in downtown Amherst is a wonderful asset to the Tomorrow River community. Owner Amy Powers has created something very special with her shared-use commercial kitchen and retail store. It serves as a catalyst for budding entrepreneurs in the area to launch new businesses.
From the sidewalk chalkboard menu and funky painted door mural to the amazing selection of bakery that’s made fresh from scratch, the upbeat vibe of this foodie hub is immediately apparent.
The Hive is one of those businesses that enables small-town communities to thrive. It allows residents to connect with each other in a warm and friendly atmosphere with the mouth-watering aroma of fresh bakery and coffee. What better gift to bestow on a community than an opportunity to showcase locally produced items?
Amy and her staff do an exemplary job promoting The Hive using social media. Customers can find items available in the bakery case or coolers via Facebook and Instagram. Many of the participating Hive chefs offer catering services upon request. How lucky they are to incubate their business acumen in the welcoming atmosphere of this food collective. The friendly demeanor of the staff indicates this business is a fun place to work. Kids love the “Kids Jar” in the event they fall short for their after-school treat—but can’t dip in until sharing something they learned at school.
The Hive participates in many local community events. Think Celebrate Amherst, the Flower Barrel Project, Rhythm on the River, etc. to name a few. Not only that, the owner of this awesome business served as a spark plug to plan and execute these events.
I am pleased to nominate The Village Hive & Local Foods Collective for the 2020 Business of the Year Award.
2020 Junior Person of the Year
With Junior Person of the Year recipients leading busy lives, it can be difficult to pin them down for a quick interview and a list of their accomplishments beyond those mentioned in a nominating letter.
Fortunately, this year’s Junior Person of the Year’s mother, Debra Helbach, is a writer for the Spirit and was able to provide more background for us. She wrote:
Abigail is a busy girl this school year. She is serving as the FFA Chapter President and secretary of the Tomorrow River Voyagers 4-H Club as well as the school’s National Honor Society secretary.
During her high school years, she has been active in softball and has also served as the high school wrestling manager.
She has done lots of community service including working at The Harleigh Games (her classmate that passed away), ringing bells for the Salvation Army, participating in litter pick up and caroling for the elderly, working at June Dairy Days, and trick or treating for Operation Bootstrap through 4-H
She has also enjoyed working at Special Olympics at the craft tables for the special olympians.
She has served as a 4-H Ambassador and was chosen as one of 50 youth across the U.S. to earn a trip to McAllen, Texas, where she was to participate in the Rural Youth Assembly with other young adults to “explore unique challenges facing rural youth, identify creative solutions and provide a context for how these issues fit into national rural policy.” Unfortunately, that trip was canceled due to COVID-19, rescheduled, and cancelled again.
Abigail persuaded her dad and me to travel to India on a pilgrimage in 2019 with a small group of fellow parishoners and our priest, who is from India. That trip was very influential and special to her. She enjoyed visiting with the young children at Mother Teresa’s Orphanage, among other schools for girls and the blind and deaf.
Abigail has been accepted to Kansas State University, Oklahoma State University, and Iowa State University. It is likely she will attend Kansas State. She wants to double major in animal sciences and agricultural communications and minor in leadership.
This is really exciting and definitely an honor. I am sure she will be extremely surprised and humbled.
Nomination for 2020 Junior Person of the Year
After receiving an email looking for nominations for a Junior Person of the Year, I immediately thought of Abigail Helbach. I have known her for many years as she will be a senior with my son, Ethan, so we have grown up together with field trips, classroom visits, etc.
I am good friends with her mother, Debra, and we have supported Abby with her 4-H efforts and purchased pigs from her the past few years. She is truly one of the hardest-working kids I know—she excels in school, is always smiling, and then gives 150% to her duties with her own animals and all fair/4-H ventures.
I have visited their home on many occasions, and, being someone who is not familiar with pigs, I ask a lot of questions! Abby would always take the time to answer those questions and explain with passion why things were done, what was being done, and just really cared about teaching me her passion.
I would love to add Abby’s name to the running for Junior Person of the Year for all that she does in our school, in her family, and in our community for both youth and adults.