Showing compassion for those who are struggling is part of the fabric of our community. The Compassion sculpture is a permanent memorial to inspire our community to continuously share and show compassion for each other.

The inspiration for Compassion is a true champion of reaching out to those in need. Fern Chamberlain  irrevocably changed the face of our community for the better. At her core, Fern was compassionate, and time and time again she stepped forward to lessen the suffering in our community. The sculpture does not depict Fern Chamberlain, but instead is inspired by the compassion she showed throughout her lifetime.  The fingerprints of her work can be seen daily in our community.  She played a role in starting multiple core non-profit organizations in our community including the Helpline Center, Active Generations, and the food pantry at Feeding South Dakota. She led the charge in creating a pathway to success for those less fortunate by speaking up and speaking out for those whose voices are not often heard. She touched thousands of lives through her life and her legacy continues to impact countless others.

The Compassion sculpture will inspire people for generations to be compassionate to others and motivate people to alleviate the suffering in our community.  Our community has been known by many descriptors such as thriving, friendly, giving, and progressive. This sculpture will add compassionate to that list.  The Sioux Falls community is not indifferent to suffering – we are full of heart and offer each other a helping hand, a hug, a shoulder to cry on, or a kind word of support. Suffering often happens in isolation, but we know our neighbors go through difficult times in their lives every day – a devastating medical diagnosis, financial burdens, emotional pain through depression or anxiety, painful personal losses, loneliness, lack of housing, or an empty stomach.

This sculpture is a recognition of the power that we each hold to make a difference in the lives of others by showing compassion. Imagine our community decades from now if we show compassion today. We not only relieve the suffering of our neighbors when we show compassion, but we relieve the suffering we are experiencing ourselves. Simply put, compassion is deeply feeling the suffering of others and being motivated to use your wisdom to relieve that suffering.

The sculpture will inspire, motivate, and guide people towards compassion.

Wings of Compassion

Each year, the Compassion committee will announce a “Wings of Compassion” award winner. The award will be given to someone who exemplifies compassion through their professional and/or personal contributions in the community.

2022 Recipient: Betty Oldenkamp