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INSIDE THIS EDITION Michelle Powers Mike Ladd Randy Flaherty Lois Frederick Mycale Downey Callista Wilkey Jane Briley Francine Ide Pat Henry Jim/Rhonda Giles Millie Clayton Nancy Queck Becky Riley Roger Lanning

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Creston News Advertiser Tuesday, March 25, 2014

President Powers helps narrow focus for YACC By SHAWNA CREVELING

Special to the CNA

Anything you really love doing, you don’t care if you have to commit time to it. This is how Michelle Powers, 17, a senior at Creston High School described her involvement with Youth Answering the Call of the Community (YACC) — a philanthropic, youth-led organization. Their members include eighth- through 12th-grade students from Creston, St. Malachy, Mayflower and East Union schools. YACC is funded through the Dekko Foundation. Within the community, YACC has helped with Gibson Memorial Library fundraisers, Open Table events, St. Jude Dance Marathon, Community Meals for the Heartland and Joyful Sparks Playground. YACC has also awarded four Make a Wish grants. Powers has been involved with YACC for five years, and has taken on the roll of president for her final year of high school. She has also held the title of secretary and vice president of marketing. While she was vice presi-

dent of marketing, Powers was responsible for maintaining media relations and coordinating with other leadership team officers to promote YACC events. As secretary, her responsibilities were to type, copy and distribute the minutes from meetings and notify other members of upcoming events and meetings. “I’ve gotten to hold a lot of leadership roles,” she said. “That has been a great opportunity. As president, I’ve learned to create an agenda, conduct a meeting, oversee all activities and do strategic planning.” Toni Landers, adult leader of YACC, said the organization has been lucky to have Powers. “She has been very detailed and organized,” said Landers. “She is very dependable.” Refocusing In previous years, the Dekko Foundation has given YACC $15,000 annually for its members to use as they see fit in their community. Powers said that is changing this year, and Dekko has asked YACC organizations to narrow down their focus. “We just changed our mission statement, and we narrowed down our focus to

education, hunger and empowering youth,” said Powers. “So far this year it has been a lot of strategic planning. It’s a good thing for me, because we get to do things we are passionate about, but this is my senior year, so I can’t really pursue much. I just get to be the person that lays down the foundation for years to come. Which is OK, because I know YACC will do great things.” The new mission statement of YACC reads: “To lend assistance to individuals and groups within our community in order to increase the quality of life for all.” Thinking of the new mission statement and focus took a lot of time and planning from all members of YACC. Powers said ideas were written down on paper and stuck to a “sticky wall.” The ideas were organized and narrowed down to the things the members felt were important and valued in their own lives. Out of those ideas, their new mission statement and focus were formed. “It’s a lot easier to pursue something that you care about and are passionate about,” said Powers. Powers added that empowering youth was a big

CNA file photo

Michelle Powers was named 2013 Creston High School Homecoming queen in September 2013 at the Creston High School auditorium. Michelle is pictured above with her parents Karla and Joe Powers.

thing for all of the members of YACC and that is why they added it to the list of items they want to focus on. “We are all youth,” she said. “Therefore, empowering youth was big for us. And you can do that in so many ways. With kids, you are always going to have those moments of failure, but the leaders of YACC take it as a learning experience, and use it as a lesson to know what to change for next time. That’s one of the great things about YACC.” Activities Powers is on the Board of Directors of Believe Guatemala. She has traveled to Guatemala twice in the five years she has been involved with YACC. Two years ago, a house was built in Guatemala with the money that was granted. “A house in Guatemala is a concrete floor and tin

walls,” said Powers. “But, it is still a house. Last year we built a concrete floor and bought bunk beds with the money.” Open Tables are held at the United Church of Christ Congregational, 501 W. Montgomery St. Members of YACC prepare and serve a meal for the community. “If there are children at the open tables, we will babysit them while they are there,” said Powers. “This is for people who may not have the ability to do it on their own. The open tables also fall under our focus on hunger.” YACC also gives out many grants, and they have a grant called the I Have a Dream grant. Powers said this is for people who weren’t in YACC, but maybe wanted to be, or have an idea for a community service project. “If they have something they really care about, or

something they really want to do, they can apply for a grant,” she said. “We may grant them a certain amount of money, and commit some hours of community service to help get their project started. This is a way of trying to encourage others to be involved in the community.” Into the future Powers said YACC has given her confidence, helped her make relationships throughout the community and given her knowledge that will help her as she goes to college and starts a career. “YACC is a great opportunity to come out of your comfort zone,” she said. “It helps you build self confidence and become more confident in your abilities as a leader. I now have the confidence to go out and talk to people, and the relationships I have built are amazing.”

Contributed photo

Michelle Powers, president of Youth Answering the Call of the Community (YACC), and other local students participated in the “You’ve Been Elfed” program whereby students filled decorated Christmas boxes with “goodies” and delivered them to doorsteps across Union County. The program was implemented to bring “holiday cheer” to the Creston and Afton areas. Powers is pictured here, second row, fourth from left.

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Creston News Advertiser Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Fire chief serves for his community


Greenfield Fire Chief Mike Ladd helped the department make the transition to a larger building in 2012. The firefighters put in more than 2,000 volunteer hours to get the building ready to function as a fire station. Ladd has served the Greenfield community in a variety of ways through his role as fire chief. He has volunteered hours at the Adair County Fair, served as the safety chairman when RAGBRAI stayed in Greenfield in 2012 and was an office holder on the Main Street Iowa board.

other employers of volunteer firefighters are very community oriented and encourage giving back to the community. “Your spring and fall are the hardest with guys around because what business are they employed with? Agriculture,” Ladd said. “That might be — as far as staffing — pose somewhat of a challenge because just like me, they can’t leave their customers at their busy time.” New fire station One of the biggest changes in Ladd’s service as fire chief has been the transition of the Greenfield Fire Department to the former Farmers Electric Cooperative building on East Iowa and East Fifth in Greenfield. The original station was

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located just off of the public square in Greenfield and was a tight fit with only 3,456 square-feet available. “It was getting to be that time because we were jammed in there as tight as we could be, and with no room to replace trucks and everything else,” Ladd said during the move in 2012. Firefighters put in more than 2,000 hours of volunteer labor to get the 8,450 square-feet ready to be functional as a fire station. Ladd said the building’s space has been great for storage and has allowed the department to create classrooms for meetings and training. Community involvement “We give back to the community in different

ways than just being on call and fighting fires,” Ladd said. Ladd has committed 12 years of service to the emergency management board for Adair County. He also served a short stint as an interim emergency management director. During community events, the volunteer firefighters are on call as first responders. Ladd and the crew are always at the Adair County Fair, swap meets and dinners put on by groups in the area. Through his role as fire chief, Ladd has been apart

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GREENFIELD — Mike Ladd has filled a variety of volunteer roles through his two decades of service with the Greenfield Fire Department. He has been an officer for 18 of those 20 years, climbing the ranks from secretary to assistant chief, and now he is the fire chief of the 22 volunteer firefighter fleet. “We cover 158 square miles, the most square miles of any department in Adair County,” Ladd said. “We work closely with the Bridgewater, Fontanelle and Orient departments as well.” Ladd said the department is also called to respond to outside areas near the county lines if a situation becomes large and dangerous. “It’s hard when a family loses a lot of stuff and it’s even harder when you have to go talk to them about it,” Ladd said. One of the larger calls the Greenfield Volunteer Fire Department responded to was the fire at All Saints Church in Stuart. Ladd said they are also called to larger grass fires to help maintain and control the spread of the blaze. As chief, Ladd said the biggest challenge is being available to oversee everything. “We are small town Iowa, but we still have to follow everything that the Des Moines, Omaha and other full-time departments have to do,” Ladd said. And with all volunteer staffs, the firefighters have other jobs that require their attention during the day. Ladd is the assistant vice president and loan officer at First National Bank in Greenfield. Ladd said the bank and

Center, a variety of street construction projects and community beautification. Family time When Ladd and his family are not watching his son Casey at a Nodaway Valley baseball game, they try to head out to the lake and spend time together on their boat. Along with his wife Kara and other son Cody, the quartet try to take a mini vacation to Lake Okoboji each year. “When baseball isn’t going on, we are either taking care of stuff at home or on the water,” Ladd said. Ladd used to volunteer his time as a coach for youth football and baseball while Cody and Casey were going through the programs. He also hunts and contributed his time to Pheasants Forever.

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of the Southwestern Iowa Fire Fighters Association and served as president of the Adair County Fire and EMS Board. In 2009, Ladd was the safety chairman when RAGBRAI rolled into Greenfield to spend the night. He said the two main overnight stays were at the Adair County Fairground and Nodaway Valley High School. “That is a lot of work for a town of our size,” Ladd said. “There were bikes all over town.” Ladd also led the campaign to get the town ready for the Channel 13 RVTV tour that came to Greenfield in 2012 before the Iowa State and Iowa rivalry football game. Main Street Iowa As Greenfield made a push to become part of Main Street Iowa, Ladd served a spot on the board as the vice president and treasurer. “Being a mainstreet town, the biggest thing is being able to benefit from the different grants for projects,” Ladd said. He had a helping hand in a variety of projects including the Greenfield Hotel, Warren Cultural



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Creston News Advertiser Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Flaherty reflects on helping those in need By AMY HANSEN

OST news editor

MURRAY — For 35 years Murray Fire Chief Randy Flaherty has been serving on the fire department. For a man who was born and raised three miles east of Murray, why has he continued volunteering his time for so many decades? “I just wanted to be a part of the community,” Flaherty said. “Always was raised that way, you know? It’s just something that I do in hopes that when I’m in need, maybe somebody will do it for me.” Flaherty was elected as the acting fire chief in December. He first started

out as a first responder, which is now classified an emergency medical responder (EMR). “I’ve done that for probably close to 25, 28 years,” Flaherty said. “Somewhere around in there, also. So, I’ve put in a long time up here.” Murray Fire Department votes on new officers every year, Flaherty said. However, he has been chief before, as have many other members of the department. Flaherty added, he’s been the fire chief off and on for 10 years. “It’s something we as a department, for lack of better words, kind of spread it around a little bit because we want everybody to un-


Murray Fire Chief Randy Flaherty holds an “Old Indian Backpack” at the fire station in Murray. Flaherty said the old backpack was able to carry five gallons of water. According to Flaherty, the antique firefighting tool receives the most comments from people when they visit the fire station.

derstand the responsibilities of being chief and what it all takes in,” Flaherty said. Being a fire chief also means taking various important phone calls and having a lot of training. Flaherty said his wife and family also deal with a lot of late night phone calls, as well as his absence with being called to an accident or fire. “It’s a commitment, as far as the whole family,” he said. Murray Fire Department currently has 23 members. Flaherty said the department is well-staffed, but like other departments, it does struggle during day time to have members available. Flaherty said there’s a lot of local businesses that support the volunteer firefighters when they are on call during the day. His department also does mutual aid calls to the cities of Afton, Lorimor and Osceola. With 35 years of service, Flaherty said he’s seen a lot of good and bad times in the department. “Some of the most tragic things you see, I guess, are car wrecks. You know, things like that,” Flaherty said. “It’s always a sad deal when somebody loses their home, even though they might have insurance to cover everything. You always lose all of the sentimental-value things.” Through the fire department, Flaherty participates in the Murray Jamboree. They set up water fights with the hoses. The department also has its annual hog-roast fundraiser. The fire department isn’t the only thing Flaherty has


Murray Fire Chief Randy Flaherty is pictured next to one of his department’s fire trucks.

given his time to. While being the fire chief is time consuming, Flaherty spent six to eight years on Murray City Council. For six to eight months during that time, he served as an interim mayor. “You got to be a jack of all trades and master of none sometimes. That’s kind of how I look at it,” Flaherty said with a laugh. With decades of serving the community, what it all comes down to for Flaherty is helping those in need. “I hope the day that I might have an accident somewhere, or something like that, that there’s somebody there for me,” he said. “So, I guess I feel I need to provide that. It’s just something that gets in your blood.” Flaherty paused in his speech and started to laugh, “I’ll probably be here until they get me kick me out of the door.”

Pictured is the firefighting gear Murray Fire Chief Randy Flaherty uses when responding to an emergency call. CNA photo by AMY HANSEN

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Volunteering to help others grow

Contributed photo

From left, Lois Frederick, Marge Scott, Sharon Downing, Shirley Ross, Barb Zellweger and Polly Ruth receive presents from students at Orient-Macksburg Community Schools for their volunteer work. The ladies spend several hours a week helping students with reading lessons.

Retired Orient teacher Lois Frederick returns to the classroom ■


CNA associate editor

ORIENT — Lois Frederick was blessed with what fellow master gardeners call a green thumb. But Frederick’s gift of helping things grow isn’t restricted to the garden. After almost half a century as a Frederick teacher, she is back in the classroom helping students develop strong reading skills. “I go in twice a week for an hour and a-half Tuesdays and Thursdays,” Frederick said. “The first hour I have

students from second grade read to me, then I go into the fifth- and sixth-grade room to co-teach.” Frederick graduated from Richland High School and began teaching in Orient in 1950. She spent 17 years with the Bulldogs before taking a position at Creston High School. She retired in 1996 and lives on a farm a mile north of Orient. “I told them I’m here and I have the time if you have something else for me to do,” Frederick said. “I enjoy being with people, I enjoy helping people.” Another project Frederick tackled in Orient was the development of Orient Public Library attached to Orient-Macksburg Elementary along with the Friends of the Library. “I call it my baby, because I really worked with it,” Frederick said. “I still help with all the fundraising activities that we have. “When I had my profession and before I retired, I really didn’t have time to read. If I read, it was pro-

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fessional things. Now I’ve probably reached three or four books a week.” One of the biggest fundraisers for the library is the Friends of the Library annual candy sale during the holiday boutique at Wallace Centers of Iowa Country Life Center. Frederick is in charge of making the caramel every year. The library also holds an adopt-a-book fundraiser each year and a spring plant sale with a barbecue lunch. Gardening Frederick’s interest in

the plant sale stems back to her private flower beds on her farm. She specializes in growing hostas and has more than 250 varieties on display. “It’s set up kind of differently,” Frederick said. “I have paths through the garden so people can walk and look. They are all marked with tags so they know the names of them as they go through.” Frederick has categorized her different varieties into themes based on the names of each plant. In her patri-

otic category, Frederick has Blue Cadet and Abraham Lincoln. When the Wallace Centers of Iowa Program Director and CEO Diane Weiland needs to fill time during group tours, Frederick volunteers her time to exhibit her hostas. “It helps to have someone interested,” Weiland said. “Then she not only volunteers on site, but she talks about the programs that are going on here within her community, so she helps attract an audience and serves

that audience when they come.” Along with fellow master gardeners in the Orient community, Frederick helped revitalize and maintain peony lane along Main Street in Orient. The group planted more than 150 peony plants with a variety of different colors. “I’ve always been a gardener, but before it was mostly for foods than flowers,” Frederick said. Please see FREDERICK, Page 6A

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FREDERICK: Continued from Page 5A

Community service When Frederick is able to find a free moment during her retirement, she enjoys staying active — with more volunteer work. Frederick works the gift shop counter at Wallace Centers of Iowa Country Life Center during special events. “After they started having meals, I decided to help them a time or two with dishes, and I thought they needed a dishwasher,” Frederick said. Along with a friend, Frederick was able to solicit enough money from friends and businesses to help the country life center buy its first dishwasher. As a member of the Delta Kappa Gamma teaching society, Frederick helped organize a tricounty effort to make pillowcase dresses for children in need in Africa, South America and povertystricken families in rural America. The group made a total of 60 dresses — Frederick contributed eight. “There are times when I get so busy and I think, ‘Lois, you don’t have to do this, why are you doing this,’ but I enjoy it,” Frederick said. “I have to keep busy, and if I can keep busy helping someone else, that’s good and that’s what I want to do.” Another key factor in Freder-

Contributed photos

Above, Lois Frederick, right, helps prepare boxes of food to be distributed to the Orient, Creston and Greenfield communities through the Christmas Food Program. More than 62 individuals were served through the program. Right, Frederick works the register in gift shop at the Wallace Centers of Iowa Country Life Center five miles northeast of Orient.

ick’s life is her faith. Every year during Bible camps, Frederick hosts a young team of Christian camp leaders. “That has been fun for me to have the younger kids around,” Frederick said. “They have a team that comes in for five days, and I usually offer my house for them to stay and then I prepare breakfast for them every morning.” By staying active in all her

community activities through the school, library, her garden and church, Frederick hopes to encourage others to participate or have a more positive day. “I’ve been in the community long enough, I know a lot of people, and I know their backgrounds,” Frederick said. “I’ve been blessed, so if I can help people have a happy day, that’s what I want to do.”

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CNA staff reporter bpoolman@crestonnews. com

Fifteen years ago, Mycale Downey sat with others in a meeting with a focus on care for local animals. Since then, she has helped Creston Animal Rescue Effort (CARE) evolve into the organization it is today. “It was 1998,” Downey said. “There was a gal that her brother-in-law was doing animal control. And so, she would go down there (to Creston City Pound) and transfer the animals that were going to be put to sleep. … She was getting kind of burned out, she was doing it all by herself, so she just put an ad in the newspaper and said, ‘Anyone in Creston who’s willing to help out, here’s a meeting.’” That was the start of the fuzzy organization known as CARE. Beginning Downey, 43, was born and raised in Creston. She graduated from Creston High School, and attended college for one year before finding a job. “I didn’t know what I wanted to be, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I was 19 and I

CNA file photo

Mycale Downey, right, gives a bag of dog food to one of the winners of the pet show contest held in September 2013 during Balloon Days in Creston.

didn’t know what I wanted, so I did a year of college and got a job,” Downey said. “I didn’t even really know there was a career in the animal field. I knew there was veterinarian. … But, I was maybe too young.” Downey worked at a restaurant, garden center and Creston News Advertiser before joining Precision Optical as supervisor of the

shipping department four years ago. Ever since she was young, Downey has been attracted to the furry, fourlegged type. “The first dog I ever rescued, I was in sixth grade,” Downey said. “That week, this dirty dog with matted—up hair and gunky eyes, this little dog was at school every day. And, we’d go out at recess and

we’d play with it, and we’d feel bad for it. And, I’d get on the bus to go home, and I’d wonder if it would be there the next day.” All week, Downey snuck treats to the dog. Then, Friday, she said she was upset because she knew the animal would be outside over the weekend with no one to look after it. She talked her aunt into riding their bikes to Cromwell, where her school was, and getting the dog. “At one point, I felt like we were so lost,” Downey said. “So, here we were on our bikes with this dog in our arms, and it was getting dark, and we were sitting on the curb really upset. … And, this lady pulls over and asks if we need help.” The lady gave Downey and her aunt a ride home. When Downey showed her mother the dog, she said Downey should clean it up and find a home for it. “My mom was really instrumental in helping me understand the rescue part of it,” Downey said. “I guess I’ve been doing it ever since.” Downey described another memory that made her realize she loved helping animals.

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Creston News Advertiser Tuesday, March 25, 2014

DOWNEY: Continued from Page 7A

“I can remember swimming at the pool, and get our drinks and our candies and we’d walk down to the pound and hang on the fence, and we’d look at all the dogs, and I can remember walking away and thinking, ‘Man, that’s sad. Those dogs need homes,’” Downey said. “I hadn’t been down to the pound for years, and then I saw that ad in the paper.” CARE There was an ad in Creston News Advertiser, asking for people interested in volunteering at Creston City Pound, located south of McKinley Park, to attend an informational meeting. At the meeting, the weekend volunteer, Debbie Loudon, of the pound explained what she wanted volunteers to do. “Michelle (Jones) and I, and probably six or eight other people, went to the meeting,” Downey said. “And, she told us what she does. And, basically at that time, she was just looking for someone to drive dogs to Des Moines for her. And so, we were like, okay. And then, she was like, ‘Well, we need to clean on the weekends.’” After several months, however, the manager left the group, and the volunteers got together and created the animal organization Creston Animal Rescue Effort. The organization started with cleaning on weekends, since a city employee cared for the animals during the week, but then it evolved into having monthly meetings, fundraising

to get new equipment and educating local people to prevent animals coming to the shelter. “It’s just kind of evolved,” Downey said. “I transferred animals a couple times a year, when we were too full. We decided we didn’t like the way the cat cages looked, so we were going to have a fundraiser to buy new cat cages.” That first year, CARE held a fundraiser and bought six stainless steel cat cages. The organization also purchased dog dishes after a second fundraiser. “It was a shame we couldn’t adopt these animals out. We always had to drive them to Des Moines,” Downey said. “The next thing we kind of phased into, we asked the city, ‘Do you care if we try to adopt out some of these animals?’ And, they were like, ‘Yeah, if you want to do it.’” The volunteers, nine full-time and several part-time, put together a set of guidelines that were approved by the city. Downey was then able to approve adoptions. The organization’s next project was to prevent animals reaching the shelter by educating the local community. They started a spay and neuter outreach, which included an annual “spay-ghetti” supper hosted by CARE at Eagles Lodge. Now, there are four annual fundraisers CARE hosts. For more information on the organization, visit Creston Animal Rescue Effort on Facebook, email mdowney@iowatelecom. net or call 641-782-2330.

Unsuccessful stories While there are success stories of animals finding their “forever home,” there are still animals who never find that. “We’ve had a few really heartbreaking ones,” said Mycale Downey, co-founder of Creston Area Rescue Effort. “We had a dog (Belle) that just apparently got dumped down there (at the pound). And, it was abused or something.” Downey described Belle as having eyes that were sealed shut, a distorted face and ear and leathery fur possibly from frostbite. “I do not understand why someone could be so mean to a dog. She was so friendly,” Downey said. “When I think about why we do what we do, I think it’s because we got to help dogs like Belle.” Downey also told the story of another dog named Bo, a breed of pit bull, and his downfall. “We think he was pit bull-boxer mix because people at that time were really, really afraid of pit bulls, and they shied away from him,” Downey said. Downey described people visiting the city pound and being attracted to Bo, but when they discovered he was a type of pit bull, they would walk away. “I’d think, ‘But you’re missing the fact that this dog is trained, he listens, he’s gentle, he doesn’t jump on you, he’s funny.’ All these wonderful things about this dog,

and they couldn’t get past the fact that he might have pit bull in him,” said Downey. CARE kept Bo at the shelter for nine months, the longest any animal had been kept before being adopted, claimed, transferred or euthanized. After nine months, Bo was put to sleep because the shelter ran out of room. “Bo is what makes me keep trying harder, especially to educate people about a specific breed,” said Downey. “And then, with Belle, that just reinforces the animals that are out there that need help.”

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Mycale Downey, director of CARE, attaches a dog bed to the cage to prevent it from moving. There are five pens for dogs in the city pound, with two more to be added when expansion to the building is finished. CNA photo by BAILEY POOLMAN

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Creston News Advertiser Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Wilkey ready to help in a heart beat By STEPHANI FINLEY

CNA managing editor (retired)

AFTON — Between taking lunch orders, ringing up purchases on the cash register, tending to children, arranging flowers and framing pictures, Callista Wilkey finds time to help make the community a place of interest. Wilkey, 29, owns Kansas Street Deli/Purple Cow Antiques on the corner of Kansas and Douglas streets in Afton. As a member of Afton Betterment Committee (ABC), she helps plan community activities including

the annual Extravaganza, summer Lawn Chair Nights and movies in the park, to name some. “Callista is a great help,” said Afton Police Chief John Coulter. “She really has her finger on the pulse of the community.” Extravaganza The Extravaganza is held at East Union High School and includes vendors, breakfast and lunch and entertainment throughout the day. “It’s a day of shopping” said Wilkey. “It promotes local businesses. There’s a little bit of everything.” Lawn Chair Night

One of the ABC projects she is most active with is Lawn Chair Nights. “It promotes the community,” she said. “We try to have something for everyone to draw some younger, some older generation. We get a stairstep of ages.” Lawn Chair Nights are held Tuesday nights in Afton City Park throughout the summer. There is entertainment, a meal served by local groups and local people are invited to set up during the farmers’ market. “We have a nice variety of vendors,” said Wilkey. “We get a lot of produce, vegetables, jams, jellies, baked

goods.” Movie Night ABC hosts Movie Night once a month on Friday or Saturday night during June, July and August. Afton Police Chief John Coulter said Lawn Chair Night will see 50 to 60 people each night and Movie Night will have 100 to 150 people show up. Wilkey said she likes to help with the community’s activities, because Afton is an easy community to like. “It’s a small community. That’s part of why I like to help out,” she said. “It helps develop that sense of community. You get to know

Contributed photo

Above, a crowd gathers in Afton City Park for a lawn chair night held every Tuesday during warm-weather months. Left, Nash Wilkey dons his chef’s hat during a chili cookoff held each fall in Afton. Nash’s mother Callista helps organize the event.

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everyone. It’s a place where you know your neighbors.” Projects ABC supports community projects including a new splash pad project and members are currently doing fundraisers for that. “We have the Fall Festival in mid-October that is a group effort,” said Wilkey. “That makes it nice, too.” Afton City Clerk Toni Landers aid Wilkey also volunteers to design the flowders for the flower pot around the business district. Family Wilkey lives between Afton and Arispe with her husband Nicholas and 2-year-

old son Nash. “She’s got one of the best behaved little boys I’ve ever met,” said Coulter. Nash spends most of his days at the store with his mother and is poplar with the patrons. “He’s got more mommys and pops and brothers and grandmas and grandpas,” said Coulter. “He’s going to be the most spoiled child in Afton by the time he gets out of high school.” He’s missed when not around. “That’s what everybody comes to see when they come here,” said Wilkey. “Where’s Nash? They ask.”

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Creston News Advertiser Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Creston News Advertiser Tuesday, March 25, 2014


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Creston News Advertiser Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Learning from and living the past By SARAH BROWN

CNA staff reporter

We have a lot to learn from those who have come before us. For Jane Briley, 55, of Creston, her inspiration to serve the community is deeply seeded in her faith and motivated by her passion for learning about the past. To say Briley loves history is an understatement. Briley, a special education and math teacher at East Union Community Schools, volunteers with the Union County Historical Society, Union County Genealogical Society, Daughters of the American Revolution, Creston Model Railroad Club, Iowa Mormon Trails Association, Iowa Museum Association and First UnitedMethodist Church in Creston. Family history In her mid-20s, Briley started volunteering with the Union County Historical Society. Briley said her grandparents George and Gladys Western of Creston — also former board members — turned her on to the society. “That’s what got me started,” she said. By 28, Briley became president of the Union County Historical Society. “I love history,” said Briley. “I think we should preserve our history ... and teach how it was important to the settlement of Iowa.” Leadership Briley’s interest in history

paired with her passion for education led her to take on active roles within the various service groups and nonprofits she is a part of. Briley — whose combined volunteer service totals more years than she has been alive — is the current secretary of Iowa Mormon Trails Association and Daughters of the American Revolution; current president of the Union County Genealogical Society; and Education Chairperson at First United Methodist Church in Creston. According to Briley, who has been teaching for more than 30 years, said being a teacher has helped. “I have the training as a leader,” she said. Growing up Before Briley found her niche as a special education, math and technology teacher, she grew up volunteering as a child. In 4-H, Briley said she volunteered in service projects picking up trash, visiting nursing homes and any other projects where she could be involved. As an adult, Briley said her volunteer experience started by “just attending,” but, as time went on felt the urge to take on more. “As time went on, the people (volunteers) were getting older,” she said. “It was logical to take on a leadership role.” Fulfillment To Briley, the most fulfilling part of her volunteer

CNA file photo Union County Historical Complex volunteer Jane Briley passes out freshly baked bread and handchurned butter during Pioneer Days in McKinley Park.

experience is listening and learning about the past and sharing that knowledge with others. She also said serving others provides immense gratification for her. “I just want to help people ... make people feel happy,” said Briley. “And, that’s what God wanted us to do ... to love others and help others.”

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Creston News Advertiser Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Ide focuses on creating leadership among all ages By KYLE WILSON

CNA managing editor

She is one of the youngest volunteers featured in this year’s Progress edition. Francine Ide, 31, of Creston volunteers her time for several different organizations, most of which center on building stronger leaders for the betterment of Union County. Those organizations include Union County Development Association (UCDA), High Lakes Leadership Initiative, Union County Fair and Mayflower Heritage Christian School in Creston. UCDA Ide has volunteered on the UCDA board since 2007. That board continues to facilitate the construction of affordable housing on Elm Street in Creston. The board is also assisting with promoting the condominium development that’s been proposed for the Cottonwood Subdivision. “To be honest,” Ide said, “the reason I wanted on UCDA was, I was a young professional in the area and UCDA has a lot of excellent resources. Joining allowed me to learn from people who are forward thinkers. I wanted to align myself with those people, but also find a way to contribute my skills to the community.” Ide found a way to contribute in 2009 when she helped form the High Lakes Leadership Initiative program. Ide said this initiative is unlike any other leadership program for those who live, work and/ or conduct business in Union County. “From a Union County Development perspective, Francine provides input from the younger generation for our development efforts,” Pantini said. “She’s also played a big

part in getting the leadership program off the ground. She’s just an outstanding individual.” Leadership sessions during the initiative are held for the participants on a bi-weekly basis starting in January and ending with graduation in May. The sessions are held in various locations throughout Union County and focus on community capitals and instilling leadership skills. The program is an opportunity to provide professional development in your workplace on an annual basis. “We’ve done this program for five years,” Ide said. “It’s absolutely been successful. This program develops leadership skills and, in doing so, strengthens Union County. It’s great to see people like Brian Zachary, Nancy Loudon and many other graduates go on and do exciting things in our community.” An estimated 75 people have graduated from the High Lakes Leadership program since 2009.

County fair Ide is a former Union County Fair queen. That said, she agreed in 2005 to coordinate the Union County Queen contest. She has been coordinating the event for the past eight years. In 2007, she started the Union County Fair Princess contest. “Other fairs in southwest Iowa were holding princess contests,” Ide said. “So, I started one here. It’s generated additional interest from those not involved in the queen contest. Now I get anywhere from 10 to 17 princesses in the contest, which is almost double what I get for queens.” Ide has also developed a $250 annual scholarship for the winner of the Union County Queen contest every year. Ide was fair queen in 2001. She said this summer will mark the 50th year for the Union County Queen contest, and she plans to invite all the queens back to be honored during the fair, which is

slated for July 19-24. Ide volunteers to help with various activities throughout the week at the fair and is also on the Friends of the 4-H board, which has two primary fundraisers each year that raise money to provide scholarships, fair trophies, day camps and programming for

Union County 4-H programs. “The fair has always been a big part of my life,” Ide said. “When I was a kid, I enjoyed the county fair more than Christmas. I know that sounds crazy. But, that’s the impact it had on me and that’s why I am still a big supporter of the fair today.”

Mayflower Heritage Ide and her husband have two children — Nolan, 5, and Charlotte who is 2 years old. Ide volunteers once each week to help serve a meal for her children and other students at Mayflower Heritage Christian School in Creston.

CNA file photo

Above Francine (Jackson) Ide, middle, is pictured with her parents Hartford and Jeanne Jackson of Creston after being named 2001 fair queen in Union County. Ide now coordinates the queen and princess contests at the Union County Fair held in Afton. Left, Francine Ide is pictured here with her husband Chad, son Nolan and daughter Charlotte.

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Creston News Advertiser Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Henry: ‘I’ve always had an interest in trains’ By SHAWNA CREVELING

Special to the CNA

The first model train was built in the 1830s by German crafters. Molten brass or tin was poured into a mold, and hand-carved wooden fittings were attached to the base. They contained no moving parts, and had to be pushed along the track. Today, model trains have working motors and can be run on a track digitally. Patrick Henry, 55, of Creston, said his love for model trains started when he was a child. “I remember going to my grandparent’s house, and in the basement on a big sheet of plywood was an o-gauge train,” said Henry. “It was a Lionel train, and he had a track set up down there. That is what I used to play with all of the time, and that’s where I got my love for trains.” While in college, Henry worked for the railroad

during the summer. He became a police officer in 1979 in Red Oak. In 1985, he started with the Union County Sheriff’s office, and started on the Creston Police Department in 1990. “I always wanted to be a cop,” he said. “But, I’ve always had an interest in trains.” Railroad club In 2002, the Creston Model Railroad Club was established. “A group of us met one night, there were probably seven or eight of us guys, and we decided we wanted a permanent place to set up our trains,” Henry said. “One reason we wanted to do this is because a lot of the guys didn’t have room to set up their sets at home.” With no funds to work with, renting a building was out of the question for the Creston Model Railroad club. They approached the Creston City Council about using the empty space in the northwest corner of the restored Creston Depot.

“They said as long as we kept the display looking nice and neat, we could use that space,” Henry said. Display Burlington Northern Santa Fe provided some of the funds to get the display at the restored Creston Depot started, but the members of the Creston Model Railroad Club raised the rest. “We went around to some of the businesses in town,” Henry said. “We sold them the idea that if they would make a donation to us, we would build a building similar to their business, and have it on our display. If you look at the display, you will notice quite a few Creston busiCNA photo by KYLE WILSON nesses on it.” Pat Henry stands in front of his favorite part of the model train exhibit in the restored Henry estimated it was Creston Depot. two years after starting on the display before the pubto glue it all together and isn’t operating,” Henry The members of the lic was allowed to see it opthen you have to detail it said. “Therefore, they are Creston Model Railroad erate. Work on the display and paint it. But, building drawn to the scenery.” Club operate the model is ongoing, and new things them is part of the fun.” Operation trains almost every time are added to the display The members of the club Today, the trains are run there is a parade in town. occasionally. will add to the display to on the track digitally. On They will also run the The members of the club make it look more like the older models, when the trains by appointment. built the tables the display seasons outside, or repre- displays were turned on, “I’ve had car clubs call sits on, and built the scensent things going on in the all of the trains ran at the me and say they were going ery and buildings on the community. For example, same time. to be in town and wanted display. during Balloon Days, a “Now each train has a to know if someone could The display is modeled backdrop with hot air bal- number on it,” Henry said. run the trains for them,” in HO scale, where approxloons is placed in the dis- “You just type in that num- Henry said. “Sometimes imately 3.5 millimeters play and balloons are hung ber into the controller and we get preschools or dayrepresents one real foot. in the display. only that train runs rather cares that want to bring the “Most of the stuff we Henry said the scenery than all the trains running kids up and see the trains, have on the display we built on the display is very im- at the same time.” too.” out of kits,” Henry said. “It portant, and also his favorcan take many hours to ite part of model trains. put a kit together, depend“Most of the time when ing on what it is. You have people see the display, it

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Hats, gloves, coats and other garments hang on a clothes line at First Christian Church in Creston. The items were donated by church members to the “Keep Them Warm” campaign led by Rhonda and Jim Giles. This year’s campaign totaled 24 pairs of gloves, 19 stocking caps, two scarves, 33 underwear, 76 pairs of socks, three tops and six bottoms.

Creston couple demonstrate ‘love in action’ By KYLE WILSON

“I try to preach love in my sermons, and I would say Rhonda and Jim both demonsrate love in action.”

CNA managing editor

This retired couple is often visible at Creston High School activities — dressed in red and black — supporting the Panthers. They can also be seen with their faces buried in a book at Creston Elementary helping first-graders learn to read, or volunteering at the information center at Greater Regional Medical Center. Saying Jim and Rhonda Giles of Creston are active volunteers in the Creston community is an understatement. And, one of their main volunteer areas is the Greater Regional Medical Center (GRMC) volunteer program. Annette Rice, volunteer services director at GRMC, said the Giles complete at least two volunteer shifts together at the medical center each month. They work as information guides at one of the two informational desks at

— Dianna Clark

Pastor at First Christian Church in Creston

GRMC. “They are a social couple,” Rice said, “so they know many of the patients coming to our hospital. They have such a positive attitude, and sometimes that’s the best medicine for the people walking in our doors — some of which have a bad diagnosis. Jim and Rhonda have a way of lifting their spirits and taking their mind off that bad diagnosis — even if it’s for a couple minutes.” Rhonda said many patients — who don’t know their way around the hospital — often apologize. “I tell them don’t be sorry. I used to get lost, too. That’s why I became an informational guide (so I could fig-

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Creston News Advertiser Tuesday, March 25, 2014

GILES: Continued from Page 15A

just enjoy helping people.” Rice said they are committed volunteers and “never miss their shift.” Rice said they even come in a month in advance to notify her of days they will be unavailable to volunteer at GRMC. “They do everything we ask them to, and they do it with a smile on their face,” Rice said. First Christian Church Rhonda has been a member of First Christian Church in Creston for more than 50 years. The couple married there in 1970. They were the second couple married at the church’s current location on Townline Street. They have been active together in the church for more than 40 years. They lead worships on Wednesday evenings, have donated tables for the fellowship hall and donated new playground equipment at the church. They also organize a school supply drive each year at the church. This winter, the couple led a “Keep Them Covered” campaign whereby they collected hats, mittens, socks and underwear for Creston Elementary School students. A clothes line was strung in the east and west hallways of the church. Then, the 300-plus members of the church were encouraged to bring items and clothes pin those items to the line. Then in late February, Rhonda and Jim took all the items collected to the nurse at Creston Elementary. This is the third year the couple has organized the program.


Above, Rhonda Giles and first-grader Baylee Lovell read the book “Pete Little” by Beverley Randell together in January at Creston Elementary. Giles participates in the READS program whereby an adult volunteer is coupled with a first-grade student currently learning to read. Right, Jim Giles and first-grader Alex Baatz read together in January.

“When you work with children as much as I did and still do, you realize the need for a campaign like this,” Rhonda said. “I’ve had children ask me if I could bring them new shoes. And, come to find out from the teacher, they really did need new shoes.” The couple also volunteers twice a year to make food, serve and clean up open table events held at United Church of Christ (Congregational) in Creston for those less fortunate. Dianna Clark, pastor at First Christian Church, had nothing but praise for the Giles and the work they do for the church. “I try to preach love in my sermons,” Clark said, “and I would say Rhonda and Jim both demonsrate love in action. I would also say they have spiritual depth, really understand the message of Christ, but are always open

to see where God is leading them, too.” READS program The Giles have been volunteering for the READS program for a total of eight years. The program, which begins each year in November, couples an adult volunteer with a first-grade student currently learning to read. Volunteers meet with their reading buddy once per week for 30 minutes and help encourage and motivate their student to continue their reading progress.

orny PokBP

said students show improvement throughout the year, with some improving more than others. Together, Jim and Rhonda were named Volunteers of the Year by the Creston Chamber of Commerce in 2012. They received $100 from the Creston News Advertiser for that honor, and they donated all $100 to the READS program. “It impressed me that they would give our program the money,” Mansour said. “We

“Jim and Rhonda are very dedicated volunteers,” said Chris Mansour, READS program coordinator. “They are there every week. They have formed relationships with the kids and — like everyone in the program — are that extra adult in the child’s life that can provide them with the extra attention they may need.” Jim and Rhonda agreed the program is rewarding for both them and the student learning to read. They

used the money to purchase Christmas books for the students.” Other volunteerism Other volunteer areas the Giles are involved in include going on field trips with kindergartners to the zoo, helping pre-kindergartners through sixth-graders wrap presents for their family each Christmas, helping with Creston’s prom and they do all the community walks including the CROP and Alzheimer’s walks.

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Creston News Advertiser Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Clipping together the past Orient volunteer contributes to Adair County genealogy records ■


CNA associate editor

ORIENT — All around Millie Clayton’s apartment in Orient are organized piles and lists she has been compiling for months, documenting all her research. She keeps track of names and birthdates on scratch pieces of paper, clips out old newspaper articles and follows up any leads by researching online. “I am compiling all the time, lists and lists of names,” Clayton said. “It’s fun for me to do. I love history and I love genealogy.” For almost two decades, Clayton has volunteered her time and passion for genealogy to the Greenfield Public Library, updating and fixing the books that document the history of Adair County residents. Her most recent project records the history of all the Civil War veterans who lived in Adair County. “There will be about 300 of them,” Clayton said. “I look up the information on the Internet, and if there is a picture, I put it there along with a headstone picture.” Clayton features some of the Civil War veterans in the Adair County Free Press. “She is very loyal to do her historic projects,” said Adair County Free Press Editor and Publisher Linda Sidey. “She works with a group called the ‘Anquestors’ who meet at the

Greenfield library to update obituaries and gather historic information used by others who want to know about their past.” Clayton also helps the library’s webmaster update the group’s genealogy website. “Ever since they came out with the Apple 2E I’ve been used to computers,” Clayton said. “Every time we add some new obituaries to a book, I have to send him the index, and I have to indicate which ones are new.” Teaching background Clayton’s experience with computers stems back to her career as an educator. She spent 40 years — including 17 years in Earlham and 17 years in Corning — working with special education and elementary students. Through the AEA in Creston, Clayton created projects and planned in-services on the computer for area teachers. She also served as the computer coordinator for Corning. “I did that because I learned so much over the years that really worked with kids and I wanted to share it,” Clayton said. “I continued to do some of it after I stopped teaching.” Clayton retired from teaching in 1995, but stayed active in Delta Kappa Gamma — a society of female educators working together to provide excellence in education. She served as the local chapter president multiple times. Family matters In addition to Clayton’s career as an educator and her passion for genealogy, Clayton volunteers her time to care for and spend time with her niece, Kristie Miller. About 10 years ago, Miller and her husband Ed were in a motorcycle accident. Miller



Millie Clayton has been documenting more than 300 of the Civil War veterans who lived in Adair County. She donates her research to the library in Greenfield and the Adair County Free Press.


One of Millie Clayton’s volunteer projects is serving as the office assistant for Orient Plymouth Congressional Church. She makes the bulletins for Sunday services and types newsletters to send out to members.

suffered a head injury, but doctors expected her to make a full recovery. “They said she would be fine, but she wasn’t,” Clayton said. “She had a stroke. She was paralyzed on her right side and she couldn’t speak.” At least once a week, Clayton made the trip to Ankeny to On With Life to help with verbal and physical therapy. Eventually, Miller’s condition improved enough she was able to move back to Creston. “The physical part of it I wasn’t really able to do, but I did it anyway,” Clayton said. “They had to have help, otherwise she couldn’t come home.” Miller is able to live independently and enjoys helping with the household duties. Her husband takes care of the cooking. In addition to rehab, Clayton and Miller spend time

together shopping. Clayton also helps paint Miller’s fingernails every Friday. Clayton also gives back to her church family, volunteering her time to manage the office of Orient Plymouth Congregational Church. She puts together the weekly bulletins and monthly newsletters for the church. Clayton has served on the church council multiple times. “Millie helps me out a bunch by making sure the bulletins are done and reminding me of dates,” said Orient Plymouth Congregational Church Pastor Phil Price. “She is always being a good neighbor in the community visiting people. She is just a good, sweet gal.”

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Creston News Advertiser Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Restoring a complete destination

Nancy Queck volunteers time to bring new life to Warren Cultural Center ■


CNA associate editor

GREENFIELD — As a child, Nancy Queck would travel with her family from their farm north of Fontanelle to Greenfield almost every Saturday. One of their main reasons for the trip was to visit The Golden Rule, a department store on the city’s square attached to the opera house. “I honestly don’t know if I ever looked up,” Queck said, reflecting on her memories of the square. “I don’t remember this being such a fantastic building.” Since Queck’s weekly visits to the square as a child, The Golden Rule and opera house have undergone a massive remodeling project, restoring some of the building’s original craftsmanship from 1896 and bringing new life to Greenfield’s business district. The building is once again a destination point for tourists visiting Adair County and has increased social activity for locals. Getting involved Queck, a graduate of Bridgewater-Fontanelle High School, moved to Greenfield in 1976 and started work for Schildberg Construction. She is the company’s accounting coordinator. “She is a wiz with the spreadsheets,” said Queck’s sister Terri Queck-Matzi. “She was able to utilize those skills there in the early years juggling grants.” Work to restore the opera house started in 1998 with the establishment of a historic preservation commission in conjunction with Greenfield being a Mainstreet Iowa community. Queck served as the commission’s chairperson and helped document and

The Warren Cultural Center renovation was a $6.2 million, volunteer-driven project. Nancy Queck used her experience with spreadsheets to keep track of all the grant money and contractors working to restore and update the building.

research the buildings on the square. “It was sort of like running a marathon, except it was a 15-year marathon,” Queck said. “It was such a big project that not many people really believed in it.” But just down the street another restoration project — Hotel Greenfield — was gaining momentum. Codirectors Gale Stewart and Jay Howe started the project after a survey showed a need for a hotel in Adair County. Howe’s wife Catherine — the primary grant writer for the Warren Cultural Center restoration — said the timing of the two projects made all the difference. “The group of volunteers that were involved (with the hotel and opera house) all had the same passion,” Howe said. “We all shared in wanting to be sure that this building was saved and would become an important cultural center, not only for Greenfield, but for the county and region.” As money started to flow in from a variety of grants, Queck partnered with other professionals to keep more than 25 different contractors working together smoothly. She also made sure each grant was used for the proper purpose such as restoring the auditorium or replacing the curved glass windows in the building’s turret.


The shows at the Warren Cultural Center vary from musical talents and comedians to locally produced movies and marionettes. The building also features a display of a new artist each month.

“We were never afraid to ask,” Queck said about funding the project with grants. In total, the project amounted to $6.2 million. “She is very detail-minded,” said Queck-Matzi. “There is not an inch of that building that escaped her (positive) scrutiny.” Show time The Warren Cultural Center brings in a variety of different shows. Queck said anything from the music genre is popular, but she enjoys the unique shows involving improv, drummers or marionettes. Each show is run mostly by volunteers. Concession stand workers, ushers and sound technicians donate their time to help create a special atmosphere for the show. “For the month of December there was more than 200 volunteer hours that were recorded,” said Executive Director Ken Sidey. “If it weren’t for volunteers, it wouldn’t be happening.” In between shows, the cultural center showcases a new artist each month. Different rooms are also available for rent for weddings, meetings and even high school proms. “A lot of people have used the building, which I

don’t think they realized that they could,” Queck said. The utility of the Warren Cultural Center and the partnership with other businesses in the area such as Hotel Greenfield did not come as a surprise to Queck and the core group of volunteers involved in the restoration. “This has been their vision, even though they may have to pinch themselves to confirm it is now a reality,” said Queck-Matzi. The group’s work is not only gaining local attention. Queck and Howe took a road trip to Indianapolis to accept a national trust award. The Warren Cultural Center was one of 10 restoration projects recognized. Queck said the entire project has evolved in ways she never dreamed of, but has enjoyed the once-in-alifetime experience. “It is a great example of so many different partners working together,” Queck said. “All of these elements had to work together in order to make it work. “I just think that people have a lot more hope (for Greenfield) because of this. Now it is great to just let it grow.”



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Creston News Advertiser Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Riley named Volunteer Leadership Award winner By JAKE WADDINGHAM

CNA associate editor

When Creston Presbyterian Church started participating in Appalachian Service Project (ASP) in 1982, three volunteers made the trip to help the poverty-stricken area. The following year, it grew to five and has continued to grow to more than 50 volunteers in 2013 because of Riley the effort of Creston Chamber of Commerce Volunteer Leadership Award winner Becky Riley. Riley, who has dedicated 33 years of service as a teacher and literacy coach for Creston Preschool and Elementary School, started volunteer work through ASP as a youth in her hometown of Washing-

ton, Iowa. “As a youth, I learned that I could actually make a difference,” Riley said. “When you’re a kid, you don’t realize you have the power to help somebody else.” ASP’s focus is to make living conditions warmer, safer and drier. As a leader in the program, Riley has worked on floor replacements, siding and roofing. “My priorities changed a lot from wanting to go and do it all to get the youth going,” Riley said. “The reason I go is to take kids from Creston so they can have that experience.” Volunteers do not have to have experience with the construction projects ASP completes. Riley, along with other leaders, helps teach youth volunteers how to use the tools. The goal is to help the youths feel apart of making a difference in the Appalachian area and learn life skills to help themselves and others. In the Creston area, Riley and ASP volunteers partner

with the Creston Historical Society to complete projects and fundraise. When the historical society is hired to do a project, ASP members agree to do the labor. During the past summer, Riley and other church members helped make lunches for Creston kids during the fiveweek gap between the summer lunch program and start of the new school year. “Every volunteer is driven by a passion,” Riley said. “I just want to honor Jesus and thank Him for all the blessings I have been given by loving others the best way I know how.” Riley has worked with Special Olympic events in the past and helps fundraise for mission trips for the program “One for Christ.” She said her family has provided support for her passion to volunteer. Her daughters — Brittany and Kelsey — joined Riley on ASP trips. Her husband Ron and son Adam are also active with her church projects.

Contributed photo

The Creston ASP group stops briefly for a group shot. Last summer 52 leaders and youth went to Kentucky to provide home repair for families in need.

600 Sheldon • Creston, IA Ph: 782-7023 Contributed photos

ASP volunteers Emma Johnson, left, and Becky Riley remove and replace a bathroom floor in cramped quarters on a recent mission trip to Kentucky. The second photo is the same bathroom with the subfloor replaced.

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Creston News Advertiser Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Lanning takes volunteerism to new heights By SARAH BROWN

CNA staff reporter

Balloon Days Chairman Roger Lanning’s interest in hot air balloons began as a child, when his family would attend the annual National Balloon Classic in Indianola. “I’ve always wanted a balloon and wanted to fly,” said Lanning. L a n ning, 50, of Creston assumed the volunteer position of Balloon Days Lanning Committee chairman eight years ago after former Chairman Bill Fastanow retired. “I had a passion for it and wanted to make sure it continued in Creston,” Lanning said of why he took over. Lanning’s responsibilities as Balloon Days chairman are to schedule events throughout the weekend, communicate the details of the weekend with each volunteer and balloonist and work closely with the Creston Chamber of Commerce to arrange for awards and sponsorships. While Lanning does not pilot his own balloon, he has flown with other balloon pilots three times. Lanning described his first flight with Balloonist

Mike Hadley, of Richland, as “slow and short.” The lack of wind allowed them to travel a short distance — from Creston High School practice field to the other side of Crestmoor Golf Course. However, Lanning and Hadley were able to “splash and dash” in Summit Lake during their flight, which Lanning said was an exciting highlight of the flight. Community Through his work with the Balloon Days Committee, Lanning got involved with the Creston Airport Commission “by happenstance.” Lanning’s knowledge of the airport from his ballooning experience made him a prime candidate to fill a volunteer role with the commission in spring 2013. “They wanted someone who knows how the airport works and how important the airport is to the town,” said Lanning. Lanning also served previously on the Creston Booster Club, as deacon and elder at First Presbyterian Church, past president of Creston Chamber of Commerce and volunteer Kiwanian for more than 20 years. Got Cache? Through other hot-air balloon enthusiasts, Lanning discovered geocaching — “an interesting and

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strange hobby.” Geocaching is an outdoor recreational activity where participants hunt for small waterpoof containers or ammunition boxes that contain a logbook — called caches — using a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver. “It’s a popular activity because many of them (balloonists) have the equipment needed to participate,” said Lanning. Lanning described the activity as “using multi-million dollar satellites to look for plastic containers.” “Because that’s really what you do,” he said with a chuckle. “You use a handheld GPS unit or smart phones now, download the coordinates from a website and go look for them.” Lanning knows of three caches located in Creston. Some caches contain “travel bugs,” which are trackable tags that are logged on websites such once they are found. Lanning said he once found a cache in Iowa that was moved here from Australia. “It (geocaching) takes you a lot of places you wouldn’t go otherwise,” said Lanning. “I can never do enough of it.” When asked if the con-

Above, Roger Lanning and his wife Julie Lanning, are avid sports fans and have been previously named “fans of the year” by Creston’s Booster Club. Left, Lanning assumed the role of Balloon Days chairman eight years ago. Hot air balloon events are an activity he has enjoyed since childhood. Contributed by WHO-HD Television

tainers include a prize, Lanning said “the prize is in the find.” Home Lanning grew up in Green Mountain near Marshalltown and moved to Creston after living in South Dakota, where he worked for Spurgeons De-


partment Stores. “I thought, ‘If I ever get a chance at a store in Iowa, I’d be interested,” said Lanning. Lanning got his shot at managing a Spurgeons Department Store in Creston in 1989 and returned to his home state. In Creston,

Lanning and his wife Julie Lanning raised their two sons Matthew and Eric. Currently, Lanning is a loan officer are PCSB Bank in Creston and continues to volunteer his time for the betterment of the Creston community.

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