People’s Choice Award polls open March 1-31; winner to be announced April 13

Volunteer Iowa announced today the newest members of the Iowa Volunteer Hall of Fame, who will be honored April 13 in the State Capitol Building as part of National Volunteer Week celebration activities taking place across the country:

  • Rosemary Beach, Cedar Falls
  • Gloria Ford, Anamosa
  • Tom Hendricks, Muscatine
  • Diane Kutzko, Cedar Rapids
  • Des Moines University, Des Moines

The public is invited to vote for the honoree they feel should receive the People’s Choice Award as extra recognition for their contributions as a volunteer. A virtual polling station will be open during the month of March at www.volunteeriowa.org; the winner will be announced during the April 13 ceremony.

Often described as the “Oscars” for Iowa volunteers, fewer than 165 Iowans have been selected for the Iowa Volunteer Hall of Fame since it was launched in 1989. Inductees receive an engraved award and their names are added to plaques on permanent display in the State Historical Museum.

“Our state has long been known as a national leader in volunteerism and service,” stated Gov. Terry E. Branstad.  “It is my great privilege and honor to recognize the Iowans who have clearly gone above and beyond what’s expected in their pursuit to help others by welcoming them into the Iowa Volunteer Hall of Fame.”

“All of the recipients have logged countless hours of hard work in efforts to improve their local communities,” said Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds.  “The Governor and I are pleased to have this opportunity to say thank you and express our appreciation for their dedication and incredible contributions.”

For more information, visit volunteeriowa.org, e-mail [email protected], or call 515.725.3094.

About Volunteer Iowa (or Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service)

Volunteer Iowa and its partner agencies work with organizations and individuals on three main fronts. The first is to help agencies develop quality programs that use service as a strategy to fulfill their missions and address Iowa’s greatest areas of need. The second is to help engage Iowans in their communities by promoting service and expanding the volunteer base. Finally, the third area of work is to connect individuals with appropriate service opportunities by building the volunteer infrastructure. More information is available at volunteeriowa.org.

About the 2016 Volunteer Hall of Fame Inductees

Rosemary Beach (Cedar Falls) Rosemary’s volunteer service is extraordinary in depth, breadth, and scope. She believes strongly in dreaming big and she puts her beliefs into action as a volunteer for many organizations throughout Cedar Falls to ensure continual improvements to her community. During her tenure as a volunteer, Cedar Falls has been recognized as a Certified Cultural District, Great American Main Street and Blue Zone Community. In her decades of service, she’s volunteered with the Oster Regent Theatre, the Tourism and Visitors Bureau, and the Cedar Falls Historical Society.

Rosemary is “all in” on any project she undertakes. Her understanding of community and social issues is unique. She is quick to invite a new neighbor or a new resident to join her in a volunteer activity that will help them feel comfortable in the community, introduce them to new people and experiences and to become an involved member of the community. She is a true champion for active volunteering and our community would not be what it is today without Rosemary’s special touch.

Gloria Ford (Anamosa) Gloria is counted as one of the very first volunteers for Camp Courageous of Iowa. When Gloria began supporting the camp there were no buildings and no campers, just a dream. As a result of her many years of commitment, Iowa now has the largest year-round, recreational and respite care facility for individuals with disabilities of all ages. Over the past 40 years, the camp has grown to host over 7,000 campers annually, and during this time, there is nothing that Gloria has not been willing to step forward and do.

She has also served on the Foster Care Review Board, reviewing all cases with genuine interest for the well-being of the children and families involved. Many of the young people have returned over time to let Gloria know how she had helped them, how they had overcome hardships, and, for some, how they had paid it forward to others. Gloria sees a need and meets that need. She gets the most happiness from a simple thank you that comes after doing something for someone, or personal satisfaction from doing something anonymously.

Tom Hendricks (Muscatine) “Taco” Tom Hendricks embodies the spirit of volunteerism. For over three decades he has generously given his time, talents, and yes – tacos! Tom, along with four other small business owners, created Muscatine Charities, Inc. (MCI), an all-volunteer organization with no overhead; 100% of the funds raised go to charity. To date, MCI has raised and distributed over $2 million directly to local charitable causes. They also established the Pre-School Scholarship Program. In 2001, MCI supported 14 pre-school scholarships. By 2013, that number grew to 207.

The stories of Tom’s generosity of his time are numerous. He a coach, teacher, and supporter. Tom works tirelessly to make his community a better place for everyone by rolling up his sleeves, getting people to join him, and getting the job done.

Diane Kutzko (Cedar Rapids) Diane has been a strong supporter and key voice for providing legal services to low-income Iowans for more than two decades.  As the Board President of Legal Services Corporation (LSCI), Kutzko was vital in facilitating the successful merger of LSCI and Legal Aid Society of Polk County to form Iowa Legal Aid in 2003. The merger led to the creation of a statewide entity able to provide more effective and efficient services in all 99 counties of the state, increasing access to justice for low-income Iowans.

Diane’s leadership has opened many doors for low-income Iowans to receive the legal assistance they desperately needed to stay in their homes, keep their families safe and get the healthcare they require. Diane’s blend of hands-on and behind the scenes service has made a profound and lasting impact in helping to solve community legal needs and social problems affecting Iowans.

Des Moines University (Des Moines) The Des Moines University (DMU) tagline “doing a world of good,” highlights an institutional commitment to volunteerism. This has included a longstanding engagement with the homeless community, providing free health screenings, supporting the Healthiest State Initiative, and building collaborative partnerships with groups like EMBARC and Free Clinics of Iowa.

In addition to service through strategic leadership, grassroots initiatives begun by DMU student clubs have had a direct impact on the lives of people of all ages.  A few examples include: collaborating with Grubb YMCA to host Healthy Kids Day activities, conducting mental health workshops with Central Iowa Shelter and Services and Employee & Family Resources, developing the United Way Giving Garden to supply homeless neighbors with fresh produce, and developing the Easter Seals Health & Wellness Fair. DMU is committed to addressing a broad range of social issues from poverty and food security to social cohesion and civic participation. They are undoubtedly an institutional leader in our community.