Eight individuals and a Des Moines coalition who have promoted COVID vaccinations have been inducted into the Iowa Volunteer Hall of Fame. It is the highest state-level recognition for volunteer service in Iowa communities.
A crowd in the Capitol rotunda cheered as Decorah’s Edna Schrandt was recognized for more than five decades of volunteerism. “At 89, Edna continues to volunteer in her community,” said Cherian Koshy, president of Volunteer Iowa, host of Thursday’s ceremony.
Tabinda Cheema of Davenport was honored for volunteering at local pantries and for leading efforts to help Afghans and Iraqis resettling in the Quad Cities. “Her work to accommodate these families ranges from grocery shopping to finding cultural and religious items such as prayer rugs, Qurans and halal meat,” Koshy said. “Tabinda has even collected donated items in her garage so families can buy what they need, from clothes to children’s toys and sports equipment.”
Clinton’s Greg Proud, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, has been credited, in part, for starting a nonprofit that helps people with multiple sclerosis live independently. “Support ranges from in-home technology to transportation to helping people stay in their homes,” Koshy said.
Herbert Hazewinkle, Jr., of Peosta was inducted into the Volunteer Hall of Fame for his work at the Dubuque County Conservation Board, where he spent countless hours after retiring from his job as an engineer at John Deere Dubuque Works.
“He’s rebuilt over 15 bridges across Dubuque County Parks,” Koshy said. “…In addition to safety and accessibility, Herb has improved user amenities at the parks, such as camping platforms and selfie stations, attracting supportive tourism to the area.”
Dr. Steven Meyer, an orthopedic surgeon from Sioux City, founded the Siouxland Ministries of Medical Education in Tanzania 25 years ago and now spans a 100 campus in the East African country. “It includes an operational and educational farm, food distribution programs and a school,” Koshy said. “Thanks to the work of Dr. Meyer and STEMM, the region has seen an increase in the number of locally trained physicians and culturally sensitive medical care.”
Pam Schoffner of Polk City was recognized for her work at Camp Sunnyside, her service with the United Way and two decades of volunteer work with a group that supports hospice patients and their families.
“During the pandemic, she has hosted online grief support groups to meet the needs of many people who struggle to find spaces to process grief and loss,” Koshy said.
Fairfax’s Kathy Waychoff was honored for leading volunteer activities for high school students. “When the 2008 floods passed through Cedar Rapids, Kathy coordinated and managed the clothing and supply drive at (Cedar Rapids) Prairie High School which served the entire eastern Iowa community,” Koshy said.
And Tom Townsend was honored to have been the longtime leader of Dubuque Area Labor Harvest, which provided free boxes of groceries to around 23,000 people last year.
A group called the VaxDSM Project has been honored for its efforts in metro Des Moines to host COVID vaccine clinics and address myths and misinformation surrounding COVID vaccines. “VaxDSM’s community and faith-based efforts have helped Polk County exceed its goal of at least 70 percent of residents with at least one dose of vaccination,” Koshy said.
Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg presented awards to this year’s Hall of Fame volunteer class. “People who receive this honor have freely given their time and talents in countless ways to benefit others,” Gregg said.
The first Iowa Volunteer Hall of Fame ceremony was held in 1989. This year’s honorees join 197 other Iowans whose names have been engraved on plaques on permanent display at the State Historical Building.