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SWIF honors Prairie Waters tourism efforts in 25th year

APPLETON -- The Southwest Initiative Foundation honored Western Minnesota Prairie Waters for their efforts in collaboration.

The Southwest Initiative Foundation recognized the regional tourism effort as it celebrated 25 years of serving southwest Minnesota with a regional banquet on May 20 at Jackpot Junction in Morton.

More than 300 guests -- including current and former board members, volunteers, donors, loan clients, grant recipients and partners from throughout the region and beyond -- joined to honor the "Best of Southwest Minnesota."

John Lauritsen, a WCCO-TV reporter and Montevideo/Milan native, served as emcee.

Prairie Waters staff Kristi Fernholz and Jenifer Fadness accepted the Collaboration Award on behalf of Prairie Waters.

The award includes a two-page spread in the Southwest Initiative Foundation 25th Anniversary "Best of the Southwest" program, a hand-crafted vase by New London potter Bill Gossman, and $1,000.

"We feel honored that SWIF, an organization that excels in collaborative efforts, recognizes the work that Prairie Waters has accomplished. Prairie Waters is a unique effort and has sustained support from cities, counties and tourism entities within our region to offer a consistent and effective marketing message," said Kristi Fernholz, Prairie Waters coordinator.