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Persona and its employees enjoy giving back to the community

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Persona employees take a dip into icy Lake Kampeska while raising money for Special Olympics during the Polar Plunge. -

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Community involvement and charitable deeds are as much a part of Persona’s culture as making great signs!

Both the company and its employees are always looking for ways to have a positive impact on the community. Part of Persona’s corporate philosophy is “Share the Wealth,” and a long list of charitable deeds over the years backs up that philosophy.

“Our people don’t have to be asked twice to participate in charitable causes,” said Persona HR Director Amber Dahl. “They are always willing to help others, and they are always enthusiastic about doing it.”

 Christmas is a holiday built on sharing, and each December Persona proudly participates in the Salvation Army’s “Adopt-A-Family” project in Watertown. Employees donate groceries, household products, gasoline gift cards, wrapped gifts of toys, clothing and outerwear to a family in need each year to make their holiday season a bit brighter.

Pie Bosses

Persona President Mike Peterson (left) and Anza President Greg Kulesa clean up after taking pies in the face during a fundraiser for Relay for Life.

That spirit of giving isn’t limited just to Christmas. Persona employees participate in such projects year-round. We have received a Community Service Award from Prairie Lakes Healthcare System and the Community Blood Bank for eagerly participating in blood drives. At one drive, Persona employees gave 276 pints!

The Relay of Life is another favorite charity of Persona employees. Over the years, many thousands of dollars have been raised for the American Cancer Society and many other Cancer related institutions, societies and associations. And the employees manage to have fun while raising funds. One year, Persona employees sported purple hair and beads while raising over $3,000 for this great cause. Most recently, a pie-in-the-face contest involving Persona President Mike Peterson, Anza President Greg Kulesa, and others raised over $1,700. Luminaries, bake sales, and other events add to the total.

The Watertown Boys and Girls Club got a big boost during their remodeling drive in 2018 when Peterson handed over a $2,500 donation to Liz Christianson, executive director of the club. The donation was funded by Choice Hotels International, choosing the Boys and Girls Club of Watertown to receive the money with input from Peterson and Persona.

Persona employees also help with the Watertown Area People Against Child Hunger (PACH) Program, which works with school staff to provide complimentary snacks and meals to students who may need an additional food resource during the weekends.

Persona is also proud to have partnered with the Ronald McDonald House Charities through individual donations and fundraising efforts.

In 2008, Persona’s holding company built ANZA Soccer Complex, an 18-acre facility with two full-size lighted fields that host league play for the Watertown Soccer Association. This complex offers shelter, restrooms and concession stands.

Persona also goes to great lengths to support or armed forces. The company received the 2014 U.S. Department of Defense Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve “Above and Beyond Award” for the way it supports employees who are called to active military duty. 

 Each year, Persona employees participate in the City of Watertown’s annual Spring Litter Cleanup. And even the COVID-19 pandemic couldn’t stop it this year. When the city called off its cleanup, Persona employees picked a spot (the McLaughlin Nature Area) and did their own cleanup.

Speaking of COVID, when the pandemic first hit, several employees used their own time to make face masks for local healthcare facilities.

Another event where Persona has a long history is the Polar Plunge, benefitting Special Olympics. Persona employees can be seen leaping into an icy Lake Kampeska during the event each year.

Food drives are also a regular occurrence at Persona with different agencies benefitting, including the Salvation Army and the Beacon Center.

Persona was featured at the “Made in Watertown” exhibit in the Codington County Heritage Museum, where products manufactured in  Watertown were on display. The exhibit was a big hit for the nonprofit museum.

Whether working to serve our customers, or trying to help others, Persona employees always go the extra mile.