South Dakota Hall of Fame honoree shares his story of success

Published: Jul. 18, 2018 at 3:44 PM CDT
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This September 10 more names will be added to the list of honorees at the South Dakota Hall of Fame in Chamberlain.

A luncheon was held today in Sioux Falls to honor this new class and we were able to speak with one of them....who has a true South Dakota story of hard work paying off.

To be recognized by the South Dakota Hall of Fame you need to have a story that exemplifies the spirit of the state.

Rod Bowar has such a story. His began 42 years 1976. "I started by cleaning swimming pools and all the KOA functions."

He was hired as part of a labor auction in Kennebec by the owners of the local KOA campground.

What Bowar earned initially was put towards a campaign to fund the development of a youth center.

But when Bowar's labor auction time was up......he continued to work for those KOA owners, Lloyd and Dolores Johnstone, who also owned the local Kennebec Telephone Company.

And four years later, when Bowar graduated high school, the Johnstones made him an incredibly gracious offer. "They were going to pay for me to go to MTI to take up telecommunications."

But fate intervened in that plan for bowar to go to Mitchell Tech.

Floyd Johnstone died in a car crash.

Bowar continued working for Doloros Johnstone at Kennebec Telephone. What he needed to know to do the job......he would teach himself.

But not being able to get that higher education has stayed with him all these years. "I've always felt I've had to get up earlier, work longer and harder and study on my own to keep up with everybody else."

In 1998, Bowar purchased the Kennebec Telephone Company. He now runs other businesses as well.

But in an effort to make sure future generations don't have to work as hard as he did....he does for others what Lloyd Johnstone was going to do for him. "We'll help them with their education. We'll help through scholarships and create opportunities for them to come back and work for us."