Lonnie Heier, the owner of Dairy Queen restaurants in Pierre, Eagle Butte, Martin, Winner and Vermillion received the Community Service award this week at the South Dakota Retailers Association annual banquet in Pierre.
The award recognizes a business that goes above and beyond to give back to the citizens of the communities it serves.
Heier is known for generosity both with his employees and the communities he serves.
He finds unique ways to reward individual members of his staff for meeting personal and employment goals, providing them with everything from shoes to laptops to concert tickets.
Recently when an employee fulfilled a commitment to turn his life around, Heier rewarded the employee with a mobile home.
When nursing home and assisted living residents weren’t able to have direct contact with their families due to COVID-19, Heier organized a fund-raiser to provide them with iPads. He is currently
sponsoring a scholarship program for nurses.
“We feel like we need to be more than just a business that comes in and takes your money; we need to help and that’s what we do,” Heier said. “If you give, you get back more in return through more business and better relationships. It’s something employees can be proud of, and of course we should be proud of.”
While 2020 was a struggle for businesses, Heier made it his mission to continue generous support for individuals and projects, saying, “If we’re going to go down, we’re going to go down giving back.”