A dozen individual Iowans, schools, businesses and groups are being recognized with this year’s Iowa Character Awards, being announced by officials with the Robert D. and Billie Ray Center at Drake University. Amy Smit, spokeswoman for Character Counts in Iowa, says the list of 2015 winners includes Okoboji schools superintendent Gary Janssen as the Iowa Educator of Character.
“We’re really pleased to be able to recognize folks like Gary who are working so hard in their schools and school districts, teaching the values of character to kids.” This year’s Iowa Champion of Character is an Ames man who’d been one of the world’s top wrestlers in the 1980s.
“Ed Banach is an Olympic gold medalist and now working at Iowa State and just really passionate about promoting character in Iowa,” she says. Two Des Moines businessmen will receive the Robert D. Ray Pillar of Character award: car dealer Rich Willis and Bankers Trust CEO and president Suku Radia. “We give out the Ray Award to individuals who are really helping to promote our mission out in the community,” Smit says. “Rich and Suku have done so much for us and they’re just a great team.”
The Community of Character recipient is Cedar Valley. Tim Vorland Photography of West Des Moines is the Partner of Character award winner. Tyler Leech of Des Moines is the Citizen of Character in the Adult division. Ethan Lowder is the Youth Citizen of Character. Cardinal Community School District of Eldon is the School of Character. The Harbaugh-Williams Education Promise of Waterloo is the Business-Organization of Character winner.
The Springville Girls Basketball team is the winner of the Pursuing Victory with Honor award. Abigail Hammer is the recipient of the Aaron Eilerts award. The winners will be honored at a banquet set for July 31 at the Prairie Meadows Event Center in Altoona. Learn more at: www.charactercountsiniowa.org.
(Reporting by Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)