The winners of this year’s Iowa Character Awards were announced this week by Character Counts in Iowa. Spokesperson Amy Smit says a jury made up of Iowans selected the recipients earlier this month in Des Moines. Smit says they look for Iowans who consistently demonstrate the six pillars of character: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship. She says the winners come from across the state. There are individual and group awards.

She says the citizen of character award is going to Paula Bell of Des Moines and the youth winner is Michaela Arenholtz of Denison, which she says is a great example of two different people winning the same award. Several organizations were also honored.

Dallas Center Grimes’ character leadership team and the Sioux City growth organization won the “Organization of Character Award”, Brian Town of Johnston won the “Educator of Character Award,” Sioux City West is the “School of Character Award” winner, the Pleasant Valley cheerleaders won the “Pursuing Victory with Honor Award.” The community of character is Johnston, Iowa.

A top individual award went to an eastern Iowa woman. The “Character Champion” which goes to an individual who is making a commitment to their community through use and promotion of good character, was won by Michelle Temeyer of Waterloo. Another major award is the Aaron Eilerts Community Service Award that is presented to an Iowan who makes their community better through volunteerism. Smit said the winner will be announced in the next few weeks.

The award is named after Eilerts, a Boy Scout from Eagle Grove who spent countless hours of volunteer work and died as a result of the tornado at the Little Sioux Boy Scout Camp in June,2008. The winners will be honored at a banquet on October 23rd in West Des Moines.

There is more information about the Character Counts program at: www.charactercountsiniowa.org.

By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City