Each year, the Daily News and News Monitor recognize and celebrate distinguished young professionals in North Dakota and Minnesota’s Southern Red River Valley community. The annual 20 Under 40 event was held Wednesday, Sept. 29 at Prante’s in Wahpeton.

Wednesday’s celebration honored the 2021 award winners, nominated by their peers and neighbors. It also included recognition of the 2020 winners, whose ceremony that year was held in a drive-thru format in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2021 event was considered a successful return to tradition.

“We did receive more than 60 nominations, making it very tough to get down to the chosen 20 for 2021,” Daily News and News Monitor Publisher Tara Klostreich said. “The nomination list was very impressive and it is clear that the Southern Red River Valley has a bright future ahead of us. This event also serves to motivate other young professionals and leaders throughout.”

Honorees gave brief acceptance speeches. Included are some of their comments:

• Erin Bohenstingl — “I want to thank my family for all of their support.”

• Patricia Kuchera — “I just want to say thank you to my family and for all the wonderful opportunities that Lincoln State Bank has given me over the years.”

• Christina Monilaws — “Thank you for this award and this support.”

• Dillon Ostby — “It’s an honor.”

• Rev. Brock Schmeling — “Thank you so much.”

Daily News and News Monitor’s 2021 20 Under 40 event was sponsored by Prante’s, Vintage Rose Floral and Gifts of Hankinson, Econofoods and Grippers Sports. Entertainment was provided by keyboardist Addie Christensen, Breckenridge, Minnesota.

Prior to the winners being awarded, KFGO talk radio host and former North Dakota state Sen. Joel Heitkamp, Dem-NPL-District 26, spoke.

“(A community) only works if you believe in it and invest in it as well,” Heitkamp said. “For (Daily News and News Monitor) to get you together tonight, to get to know each other a little bit better, to talk about what you’re doing and maybe learn from each other about what you can do, is a good thing.”

Exclusive photos from 20 Under 40 can be seen at NABUR.

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