Bloemendaal named 'Outstanding Chamber Member'
Curt Bloemdaal was honored Wednesday, June 24, as Luverne’s Outstanding Chamber Member.
He was the guest of honor at a Chamber social and celebration at Sterling’s Café and Grille in Luverne.
“Curt’s life of service for the Luverne community and his professional success at Tri-State Mutual Insurance and Continental Western Group are legendary,” said Chamber Director Jane Wildung Lanphere
“We are honored and proud to have selected him as a recipient of this well-deserved honor.”
Bloemendaal said he was surprised to hear he’d been chosen for the award.
“I feel honored,” he said.
“I have been blessed with a supportive family that encourages community involvement. I have had the good fortune of working for a company the supports and encourages giving back to the community.”
Bloemendaal’s honor was originally announced a year ago, but Lanphere said scheduling difficulties last summer prompted the celebration to be postponed until now.
She said it’s appropriate that the location was Sterling’s, since Bloemendaal and his wife, Marilyn, were among a group of local investors who worked to transform the historic arcade building into a fine dining establishment.
A special guest at Wednesday’s celebration in Bloemendaal’s honor was W. R. Berkley Corporation CEO and founder William R. Berkley, Greenwich, Connecticut.
Bloemendaal’s civic generosity stems, in part, from Berkley’s influence, according to Nadine Schoep.
“That was something Berkley always said, ‘You have to give back to your community,’” said Schoep, regional human resource manager at Continental Western Group, Luverne.
Wednesday’s party highlighted Bloemendaal’s accomplishments and community contributions.
Curt Bloemendaal’s story …
In her monthly Chamber Chatter, Lanphere wrote a tribute to Bloemendaal as the Outstanding Chamber Member. Following is that writeup.
Curt’s story began in Volga, SD, where he was born. The Bloemendaal family moved to Edgerton where Curt graduated from Southwest Christian High School.
He went on to attend Dordt College before graduating from Nettleton Commercial College in Sioux Falls. While attending Nettleton, Curt met his future wif,e Marilyn. Shortly after graduation Curt accepted a position at Tri-State Mutual Insurance Company of MN in Luverne on July 31, 1963.
Charles Norelius was president of the company at that tim,e and Curt was one of the 20 employees. He worked at Tri-State in various capacities. Within 4-5 years he became an underwriter under his mentor Ed Nekali. He moved into work comp and general liability/casualty. Curt was involved in the development of homeowner and personal auto lines in the early 1970s.
In August 1978 Curt and his family moved to Rapid City when he joined in partnership as an independent insurance agent.
By December 1979 Curt was enticed to return to Luverne to accept a management position in which he served in various capacities for the remainder of his career, including company president.
Although officially retiring in 2008, Curt was called out of retirement to serve as temporary region manager for the Tri-State Region of Continental Western from March 2011 through December 31, 2012.
During his 46-year career in the insurance industry in Luverne, Curt volunteered and served his community in many capacities.
His service includes active membership in the Optimist Club, Luverne Rotary, Rotary International and Luverne Area Chamber; member of the Sanford Luverne Hospice and Sanford Luverne Hospital boards; retired member of the Luverne Volunteer Fire Department; and secretary of the Relief Association.
He also has served as a board member/past president of the Chamber of Commerce and member/first president of the Luverne Hockey Association Board of Directors.
Bloemendaal has also served on the board of directors for many organizations such as LEDA, North Central High School Activity, Rock County Park and Recreation Board, Luverne Community Education Board and South Dakota Underwriters Group, to name a few.
Throughout his life Curt has been involved in his church, serving as Sunday School teacher, congregational president, property ministry, pastor transition team and chair of the call committee.
Curt’s skills and leadership have blessed the Grace Lutheran Church congregation.
In selecting Curt as our 2013 Outstanding Chamber Member, the Chamber Board of Directors recognizes that his service to the community did not end with his retirement.
Curt’s passion, pride and dedication to Luverne continue to bless us through his insightful support and involvement in many community-led and -driven initiatives.
Today Curt continues his active work in the fund drive for the Rock County History Center and the Blandin Community Steering & Selection Committee, among many others.