Two state legislators were honored today with the first-ever "Uncommon Iowa Public Service" awards.
Former Iowa Governor Robert Ray handed out the awards named in honor of Iowa native Herbert Hoover, the 31st President of the United States. "Herbert Hoover was born in West Branch…in August of 1874," Ray said. "He lived and worked in 57 different countries and he saved the lives of well over a billion people."
Hoover’s presidency and the beginning of the Great Depression often overshadow Hoover’s humanitarian good-works, according to Ray, who quoted Hoover’s words. "It is a curious fact that when you get sick, you want an uncommon doctor. If your car breaks down, you want an uncommonly good mechanic. When we get into war, we want — dreadfully — an uncommon admiral and an uncommon general. I have never met a father and mother who did not want their children to become uncommon men and women," Herbert Hoover once said. "May it always be so for the future of America rests not in mediocrity, but in the constant renewal of leadership in every phase of our national life."
Jack Kibbie, a Democrat from Emmetsburg who currently serves as President of the Iowa Senate, was one of the "Uncommon" honorees. "This was truly a surprise today," Kibbie says. "…It’s certainly a privilege to me and hopefully I can (be) that uncommon legislator."
Kibbie was awarded the Bronze Star for his service in the Korean War. He was a legislator from 1961 to 1969, and then after a two-decade hiatus, Kibbie was again elected to the Iowa Senate in 1988 where he was served ever since.
The other winner was State Representative Scott Raecker, a Republican from Urbandale, who directed the festivities for Iowa’s Sesquicentennial. For the past 10 years, he’s headed the Institute for Character Development at Drake University."It’s a tremendous surprise and honor," Raecker said after Ray handed him the award this afternoon.
Governor Ray and three other living Iowa governors — Terry Branstad, Tom Vilsack and Chet Culver — will gather this evening in Des Moines at the bipartisan "Hoover-Wallace Dinner" organized to honor Simpson College and Iowa State University for admitting George Washington Carver when many colleges refused admit black students. Carver, as you may recall, conducted research that pioneered new uses for peanuts, including peanut butter.
You can hear this afternoon’s "Uncommon" award ceremony by clicking on the audio link below.