While Muscatine residents may not always agree on a political candidate or on which side of the political aisle to cast their vote, there is one vote that the community has rallied behind wholeheartedly.
Tom Hendricks, better known as Taco Tom, has been named to the Volunteer Iowa Hall of Fame for 2016. According to Volunteer Iowa, “Taco Tom 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.”
Volunteer Iowa continued with this, “The stories of Tom’s generosity of his time are numerous. He is 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.”
Since the announcement, there has been an outpouring of online voting from Muscatine residents and Hendricks supporters. The website reportedly received over 40,000 votes in the first week. The online vote initially began as being open to multiple votes per day. However, the election process has since been changed to allow for voting once per day per device.
The digital ballots will be accepted through March 31 at https://www.volunteeriowa.org/peoples-choice-award-2016. Along with the digital ballot, voters can check to see the standings which are updated once daily.
In an on-air interview with Tony Ton of Vintage Sound, Hendricks said, “This is not a Tom Hendricks award, this is a Muscatine, Iowa, award. This is something that exemplifies our whole community. I could be anyone in this community that gives as much.”
Hendricks says that receiving an award or being named to a Hall of Fame was never the goal. According to Hendricks, being able to put a smile on someone’s face, be it a friend or a stranger, is the reward in itself. Hendricks says the key to happiness and serving others is in the everyday occurrences, “Little acts of kindness here or there on a daily basis to touch someone’s life.”
The People’s Choice winner will be announced at the Volunteer Iowa awards banquet held on April 13.