Greene Countians among “rural heroes” honored at the Iowa Rural Summit

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA – The 5th Annual Iowa Rural Summit last week included a first-ever recognition of “rural heroes” – and Carla and Chuck Offenburger of Cooper, Peg Raney of Jefferson, and Jefferson native Bill Morain of Lamoni were among the 13 individuals honored on Thursday evening at Kirkwood Community College.

The Rural Summit brings together leaders from small towns across Iowa each year, and this year’s event included a “rural recognition” ceremony that paid tribute to a group of individuals who have made a difference in their rural community or region.

“Carla and Chuck were a remarkable team that had a huge impact on Cooper, Greene County and all of rural Iowa,” said Mark Reinig, board chairman of the Iowa Rural Development Council which hosts the annual Rural Summit.  “While cancer may have taken Carla last month, her legacy and Chuck’s ongoing passion for rural communities demonstrate the impact that passion combined with great storytelling abilities can have.”

He said that Raney, who is retired from a career of teaching and has led the local Chamber of Commerce, the local Main Street program as well as the community effort to bring Wild Rose Casino & Resort to Greene County, “has had a huge impact on Jefferson, from the carillon to the casino license to Jefferson Matters.”

And Reinig said Morain, a retired plastic surgeon, “was selected for his remarkable post-medicine volunteerism in Lamoni and Decatur County.  Bill’s impact on the Lamoni interstate exit, business development and recreational trail building, while working with countywide development groups, demonstrates how small towns can thrive through great leadership and innovative projects.”

With a crowd of more than 200 individuals from 60 different small towns, the Iowa Rural Summit addressed issues ranging from arts and culture to childcare to entrepreneurship.  The first one was held in Jefferson five years ago.  The 2022 Summit will be held April 12-13 in Ames.

Other honorees included Duane Asbe, Clarion; Barb Baker, Grinnell; Beth Bilyeu, Forest City; Evan Blakley, Denison; Kevin Cabbage, Stanton; Jim Erb, Charles City; Lora Friest, Decorah; David Heiar, Maquoketa; Lyle Hevern, Estherville, and Beth Waddell, Corning.

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Calendar

September 2021

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1
  • Greene County Historical Museum Open
2
  • Community Conversations
3
  • "Rural Churches of Greene County" by Chuck Offenburger
4
5
  • Mahanay Carillon Bell Tower & Thomas Jefferson Gardens Tours
6
7
8
  • Greene County Historical Museum Open
9
  • Fall Open House
10
  • Fall Open House
11
  • Fall Open House
  • Greene County Historical Museum Open
12
  • Mahanay Carillon Bell Tower & Thomas Jefferson Gardens Tours
13
14
15
  • Greene County Historical Museum Open
16
17
  • Jefferson Public Library Book Sale
18
  • Jefferson Public Library Book Sale
  • Greene County Historical Museum Open
  • Highway 30 Junkathon
  • Red Barn Home & Craft Show
19
  • Jefferson Public Library Book Sale
  • Cemetery Walk
20
  • Jefferson Public Library Book Sale
21
  • Jefferson Public Library Book Sale
22
  • Jefferson Public Library Book Sale
  • Greene County Historical Museum Open
23
  • Jefferson Public Library Book Sale
  • VFW Fundraiser Meal
24
  • Jefferson Public Library Book Sale
25
  • Jefferson Public Library Book Sale
  • Greene County Historical Museum Open
26
27
28
29
  • Greene County Historical Museum Open
30
  • Tree Walk