Connie Grittner became a volunteer at the Cultural Heritage Center because she wanted to contribute to the community and to learn more about South Dakota.
Connie has contributed more than 100 hours of her time to the CHC each year since 2005. She has helped countless people learn more about South Dakota when she visits with them at the CHC.
Connie was born in Brainerd, Minn., and received her undergraduate degree in business management from St. Cloud State University. She received her master’s degree in public administration from the University of Northern Colorado.
Before retiring in 1996, Connie worked for the Department of Defense at a naval research lab south of Washington, D.C., negotiating multi-million dollar contracts throughout the United States. She took a two-year sabbatical from her job to accompany her husband, Gary, to Hawaii. While living there, she worked with environmentalists in the Pacific Rim, trying to educate both the military and host country about handling, storage and disposing of hazardous waste and hazardous materials.
The Grittners moved to South Dakota in a motor home in 2003.
“We lived at Farm Island until we found a house to move into in Marion’s Garden,” Connie said.
About a year after moving to Fort Pierre, the Grittners visited the Cultural Heritage Center.
Connie called Elizabeth Heath, the director of volunteers at that time, and has been a volunteer ever since.
“I have met so many wonderful people up here. It’s not the amount of business, but the people you get to meet that is important,” Connie said.
Connie is in her fourth year of building a home in Fort Pierre, and will move into her new home this year. She is the treasurer for the Verendrye Museum and helped organize trail rides from Fort Pierre to Deadwood and from Fort Bennett to Fort Pierre.