Kalispell Chamber Honors Ken Siderius as its 38th ‘Great Chief’

By Beacon Staff

The Kalispell Chamber of Commerce made Ken Siderius its 38th “Great Chief” at the business group’s annual banquet this week, honoring the Flathead native and long-time educator for his community service, philanthropy and local leadership.

The Great Chief award honors “civic and volunteer spirit,” over the course of a lifetime, according to Chamber President Joe Unterreiner, and is the most prestigious accolade in the organization.

Siderius joins the ranks of other community leaders who have received the award since 1972, including Jack King in 2008, B.J. Carlson in 2007 and Frank Garner in 2006. In nominating Siderius for the award, his friends and associates praised his work for Kalispell’s schools as a sports director, administrator and former principal of Edgerton School. He was also one of the driving forces in the establishment of the Laser Alternative school in 1975 and helped School District No. 5 acquire land for it’s vocational agriculture program.

The president of the Flathead Land Trust and board member of the Museum at Central School, Siderius is involved many community groups as well. His award is a painting titled, “Spring Thaw” by Nick Oberling.

Brian Clark, the general manager of Fun Beverage was awarded Businessman of the Year, while Tana Rae, a lender with First Interstate Bank received Businesswoman of the Year. Mishelle Johnson of Insty Prints was honored as Member of the Year.

And with the imminent ground-breaking of the long-awaited Kalispell Bypass, the Chamber honored the current and former chairmen of the Transportation Committee for their work on the issue, a list including: Ted Luehr, Marc Rold, Jim Lynch, Mark Twichell, Tim Larson and Bill Janes.

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