Joy Thiel - Reinbeck
After retiring from teaching in 1997, Joy began volunteering full-time and has yet to retire from this endeavor. Joy spends her time volunteering at Allen Hospital in the gift shop, sewing kid’s caps for surgeries and has served two years on the volunteer advocate committee. Along with her extensive involvement in the Allen Hospital, she has also helped at the Reinbeck Park View Manor Nursing Home, coordinating monthly activities, and uses her sewing abilities to help mend clothes for the residents. Joy coordinated, organized, and computerized the elementary library at Immanuel Lutheran School in Waterloo. When the school closed, Joy moved the library to Valley Lutheran School in Cedar Falls where she continues to help with story time and book check out. Joy involves herself in Mosaic Haven LLC, helping special needs children and adults by putting together manipulatives to facilitate learning for motor skills related to self-care.
Kris and Steve Gunderson - Odebolt
The Gunderson duo demonstrates the epitome of service. After Kris retired from teaching in 2012, she became a founding member and chairperson of the Community Basket, a traveling food pantry in Sac and Ida counties working to fight food insecurity in rural communities. Steve served as the President of the Odebolt Cemetery Board for 15 years, ensuring Cemetery trees are trimmed and the lawn is maintained. Kris and Steve led seven mission trips through the Appalachia Service Project. As members of the Odebolt United Methodist Church, both have served on almost every committee. Kris is a steering committee member of 100 People Who Care in Sac County with a mission of gifting to charities and non-profits serving Sac County
Gregg Obren - Clinton
Gregg Obren has served the Clinton community for the last few decades through many different roles. While carrying the responsibilities as the Director of Parks and Recreation, Greg always found time to pursue his hobby of volunteering. From helping out with youth sports to serving on the church and school board, he spends his free time looking for ways to impact his hometown of Clinton, Iowa. After retiring, Gregg was able to dedicate even more of his time to volunteering. He has served on many different community committees and boards including Clinton Trees Forever, Clinton 4th of July Committee, Meadowview Pool and the RAGBRAI Welcome Committee just to name a few.
Jody Rudolph – Anita
A strong work ethic, dependability, and integrity were just a couple of the words used to describe Jody in her nomination for Iowan of the Day. Jody’s love for music has led her to use her talents for serving the community and getting others involved while she’s at it. Jody regularly brings students to perform music at many different places around the community including Caring Acres Nursing and Rehab Center, American Legion, and various women’s meetings. Along with her involvement with the youth, Jody secures local musicians and speakers for the Memorial Day programs held at Evergreen Cemetery and Caring Acres. For many years, she has taken charge and organized the annual live nativity scene called “Walk through a Winter Wonderland” at Anita businesses and Anita Sale Barn. This includes lining up volunteers, livestock, costumes, and music to ensure the event is a success. Jody dedicated much of her time to playing the organ at several area churches on the weekends, and has for weddings and funerals.
Julie Hitchins - Marshalltown
Julie is a well-respected leader in the Marshalltown Community, continuously going out of her way for the betterment of the community. Along with her leadership as the executive director of the Community Foundation of Marshall County, she dedicates her talent and energy to many different nonprofit organizations including Child Abuse Prevention Services, P.E.O. Chapter of Marshalltown, Vision Marshalltown and Rotary-International. Her leadership in the Marshalltown community does not stop there as she is quick to respond when disaster strikes. When the derecho hit, Julie took the time to clean up the Riverview Cemetery, and found ways the Community Foundation could assist in the impact it had on the community. She contacted family members, friends, and co-workers to get donations flowing to help mitigate the damage the derecho had done.
Georgia Campbell – Berwick
Georgia has decades under her belt of sharing her gifts with others. After recovering from polio when she was young, she discovered a deep passion for horses. Throughout her life, she has transformed that passion into service by working with handicapped and underprivileged children as a riding instructor. From a very early age, Georgia was serving her community and has not stopped well into her 80’s. As a lifetime volunteer, Georgia served as a 4-H Leader for over twenty years and served on both the Polk Fair Board and Iowa Horse Show Association Board. From her time spent with the youth she has received a plethora of awards over her lifetime including Hometown Hero, Volunteer of the year from Flying Arrow Saddle Club, Adult Sportsmanship trophy, and special merit award.
Janet Wissler – Oelwein
Janet’s dedication to community service has been described as “tireless”. She not only shows initiatives on countless projects, but also supports others’ ideas. From holding every major office in Lions Club, to leading the Community Garden in Oelwein, she is an unstoppable force when it comes to the pursuit of community betterment. Her extensive community outreach includes collecting books to give children at Old Tyme Christmas, leading a group that provides recipes, cookbooks, and food samples to Food Bank recipients, and delivering food to shut-ins for Meals on Wheels. From serving as treasurer to heading up recruitment and kitchen duty for all funeral lunches, Janet has served her church in many capacities. When COVID hit, Janet worked to ensure church was a safe atmosphere for attendees.
Bill and Connie Ridgley - Panora
Bill and Connie were instrumental in the establishment of Tori’s Angels, a lifesaving effort created for a child with a heart defect. Now Tori’s Angles benefits children not only in Guthrie County, but also throughout Iowa. Tori’s Angels sponsors children with life threatening medical conditions through various fundraising efforts. Along with the Ridgley’s tremendous work with Tori’s Angels, they are also actively involved in their community including serving as Lions Club President, youth activities through their church, supporting county libraries and volunteering for Make a Wish. At the events they help with, Bill and Connie are known to be the first ones to come and the last ones to leave, always helping to prepare the food and clean up after.
Carol Messer – Yarmouth
From volunteering at the State Fair to advocating for agriculture, Carol Messer could easily be described as someone with deep Iowa roots. Carol spent many years advocating for women’s agriculture issues on a county, state and nation level with the Farm Bureau. Carol has advocated for agriculture on a local level by presenting Ag in the Classroom for students in Mediapolis and Farm Safety Camp at the Des Moines County Fairgrounds. At the State Fair, Carol and her late husband Emmet volunteered in the Open Class Food Department for over 50 years. In her local community, Carol has served as a 4-H leader, been on the extension council, and has judged numerous 4-H shows. In her church, she has been involved as a Sunday school teacher, youth camp counselor, and youth leader.
Barbara Kniff McCulla - Pella
Barbara was described in her nomination as someone who has the ability to connect with new people that she meets and immediately establish a common bond. Barbara has used these abilities to be successful in her business as the owner of KLK Construction and ViewPointe Development in Pella, and as an active member of her community. Outside of her successful career, Barbara is involved in numerous organizations with various local, state, and national associations. Barb is active in the Pella community as she helps out with the Christian Opportunity Center providing housing, employment, and support for handicapped individuals. She also is the Chairman of the Pella Community Foundation Board, and assisted in establishing a Teen Challenge for women home. Barb’s faith is evident in her involvement from helping to launch a women’s ministry group to involvement in her local church.