Workers honored for role in chaining case

Published 10:09 am Wednesday, August 3, 2011

County board Chairman Tim Gabrielson hands Detective Steven Sandvik (left) and social worker Gayle Loverink (right) certificates for being named county employees of the month. -- Photo provided

Two county employees at the center of the recent child-chaining case were honored for their hard work Tuesday.

The Mower County board of Commissioners named social worker Gayle Loverink and Mower County Sheriff’s Detective Steven Sandvik employees of the month for August.

Loverink and Sandvik were the two officials present when Charity and Brian Miller were arrested for chaining their 5-year-old son. Both assisted in taking the Millers’ two sons into protective custody, and both were witnesses in the following trials.

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The county attorney’s office commended the two for going above and beyond what was required of them during the Millers’ trial, while also being fair to the family.

“To see people who care so much and follow through, it makes me happy to be a Mower County resident,” County Attorney Kristen Nelsen said.

Nelsen joked both Loverink and Sandvik didn’t cherish the limelight of the honor; in fact, the two likely didn’t want to be there, according to Nelsen.

“That’s what makes it so great,” Social Services Director Brent Gunderson said.

While Amazi noted it was tough to get Sandvik to accept the award, she noted it was earned.

“They certainly deserve this — above and beyond,” Amazi said. “This is one case of hundreds and hundreds they handle on a yearly basis. Their dedication is definitely noted, and they definitely deserve to be employees of the month.”

Gunderson said the duo shows that law enforcement and Human Services works together in Mower County, something that doesn’t always happen in all counties.

“It just makes a world of difference, and you can get things done so much easier,” he said.

Sandvik commonly sits in on staff meetings at Human Services to discuss cases.

“Both these folks just do a wonderful job,” Gunderson said.

“We’re lucky really to have them,” he added.