Faith man dedicated to snow removal receives community honor

Black Hills Backstory: Art DeKnikker
Published: Mar. 24, 2021 at 9:58 AM MDT
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FAITH, S.D. (KEVN) -From Darth Blader to Mt. Plowmore, South Dakota plows now have names. While most of the winners are puns, there’s one name that sticks out among the rest: Art.

“So Art was a long-time DOT employee who started in 19-55 plowing snow,’ John Matheson from the SDDOT said. “He worked 43 years for the Department of Transportation and very dedicated. He loved his job, and his family is here to dedicate the day with us.”

Art DeKnikker of Faith, S.D., was committed to keeping the roads clear. A job his family says he never missed.

“When this competition came up with naming a snowplow, it only seemed fitting that we submit grandpa Art’s name because, in these parts, grandpa’s name is synonymous with snowplowing,” Carrie Roth, Art’s granddaughter, said. “I think can speak for grandpa in saying it’s a very worthwhile job. It makes you feel good to know your helping keep people safe and keep everything moving.”

“He took a lot of pride in what he did. He understood how important it was to keep the roads open,” Granddaughter Colette Johnson said. “He said that on a number of occasions, ‘We need to keep these roads open for emergencies so people can get where they’re going.’ He took a lot of pride in that. It’s an important job, and he understood that.”

Roads are a lifeline to small communities like Faith. Something Jarvis Palmer knows first hand.

It’s a truth Art knew, too.

“He loved to plow all the time. I don’t even know if he took a vacation. If you called him, he would be here right away. He had Road 212 to keep open. He was dedicated to his work,” Palmer said. “You can ask his wife he probably never took a vacation, you know? He just loved to do it.”

Art passed away in the Spring of 2014. The snowplow emblazoned with his name was dedicated in early March and, as a fitting tribute, will be driven by his grandson-in-law, Jesse King.

“It means a lot to me. I married his granddaughter, so it means a lot to the family,” King said.

A family who wants to remember their grandfather. A hardworking, dedicated man who knew the importance of his job.

“I think we just need to keep in mind and appreciate the people that sacrifice the holidays and time with their family and school events because first and foremost they’re looking out for the rest of us,” Roth said. “And Grandpa Art was just a shining example in so many ways.”

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