Vote now for the 2017 Volunteer Hall of Fame People's Choice Award!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 29, 2017
Contact: Jody Benz
515.725.3094 / 800.308.5987
Announcing 2017 Volunteer Hall of Fame Members
People’s Choice Award polls open through April 19
DES MOINES, Iowa – Volunteer Iowa will host a recognition ceremony on April 26 at 10:30 AM in the State Capitol to honor the newest members of the Iowa Volunteer Hall of Fame:
- Dr. Ed Hertko, West Des Moines
- William Laubengayer, Coralville
- Fred Kelly, Burlington
The public is invited to vote for the People’s Choice Award, which gives extra recognition for an individual’s contributions as a volunteer. Volunteer Iowa’s website, volunteeriowa.org, will feature an online polling station through April 19; the winner will be announced during the April 26 ceremony.
“We are honored to host this event to celebrate some of Iowa’s most amazing volunteers,” stated Adam Lounsbury, Executive Director of Volunteer Iowa. “They are treasured, unsung heroes, and their dedication and incredible contributions are benefitting people in remarkable ways.”
Often described as the “Oscars” for Iowa volunteers, the names of the 169 individuals and organizations selected for the Iowa Volunteer Hall of Fame since it began in 1989 are engraved on plaques permanently displayed in the State Historical Museum. For more information, visit volunteeriowa.org.
About Volunteer Iowa (Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service)
Volunteer Iowa and its partner agencies work with organizations and individuals on three main fronts. The first is to help agencies develop quality programs that use service as a strategy to fulfill their missions and address Iowa’s greatest areas of need. The second is to help engage Iowans in their communities by promoting service and expanding the volunteer base. Finally, the third area of work is to connect individuals with appropriate service opportunities by building the volunteer infrastructure. More information is available at volunteeriowa.org.
About the 2017 Volunteer Hall of Fame Inductees
Dr. Ed Hertko (West Des Moines) Dr. Ed Hertko has dedicated his life, and much of his professional and personal time in a volunteer capacity, to help as many Iowans as possible with diabetes live a healthier, longer life.
From 1970 to 1980, Dr. Hertko conducted thousands of screening tests to help find people with unknown diabetes and get them referred for treatment. His primary goal was, and still is, to educate individuals on how to better manage and control their diabetes.
He has traveled hundreds of thousands of miles and was instrumental in originating a variety of supports, such as:
- Forming the Iowa Diabetes Association, an incorporated organization that was the first in the state and eventually became the Iowa Affiliate of the American Diabetes Association.
- Developing the first Central Iowa Diabetes Outpatient Education Center (CIDEC), which has directly impacted close to 4,000 individuals.
- Founding Camp Hertko Hollow to provide education for young people living with diabetes. During the 50 years since the camp was established, over 5,000 volunteers, including doctors, nurses, dieticians, pharmacists, counselors and students, have contributed their time and talent to ensure a safe experience—and memories that last a lifetime—for more than 14,000 campers.
- Advocating for two important pieces of legislation to aid and support persons with diabetes. The first, in support of coverage by insurance companies for outpatient diabetes education classes, became law 15 years prior to similar laws enacted by the federal government and Medicare. The second was to assist Iowans in receiving insurance coverage for their diabetes supplies.
Dr. Hertko's impact and selfless dedication to the health and well-being of individuals with diabetes, is immeasurable. It is fair to say that every diabetic living in Iowa today has in some way, shape or form, been affected by Dr. Hertko's efforts.
Fred Kelly (Burlington) Fred Kelly's contributions to Hospital Volunteer Services and Iowa Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) programs in Des Moines County reflect his true community leadership. He serves with passion and a high standard of customer service. He has developed the local SHIIP program into one that the hospital administration values and supports. He was also instrumental in conducting outreach to expand the program to help others in surrounding counties and other states.
His unwavering passion and involvement with SHIIP has grown his team into a full-time service of nine counselors and seven office assistants, to help serve the community.
The state SHIIP office utilizes Fred’s expertise to train all new counselors in Southeast Iowa’s counties. Although his main community is Des Moines County, he has served many customers in 15 other Iowa counties and parts of Illinois. Information requests are often received from people moving to the area or those who have loved ones in other states. Fred will investigate the state’s Medicare policies and help them. These states have included Arkansas, Missouri, Texas, Arizona, Virginia and North Carolina. This outreach to help clients from other states is well above and beyond the call of duty.
Fred has presented almost 50 seminars and educational sessions over the years. In the past ten years, Fred has volunteered almost 8,500 hours; in 2016 alone, he served over 1,000 hours!
Since 2007, Fred has served 3,098 clients saving them a total of almost $700,000. As a leader, Fred holds his team to high customer service standards; the team is one of the most successful teams in the State of Iowa with high accolades from the State SHIIP office. Together, his team has helped 5,754 clients save a total of $1.4 million.
Fred offers his daily volunteer role with compassion, dedication, wisdom and humor.
William Laubengayer (Coralville) Consistently serving over 1000 hours each year for more than 20 years, William “the Grouch” Laubengayer has contributed more hours and worked to teach more home-owners and volunteer builders how to build a Habitat for Humanity home than any other volunteer. Despite his self-proclaimed nickname, everyone loves to work alongside him.
William believes in building high-quality, affordable homes—above codes and permitting—and investing in sustainable and energy-efficient materials. Because of his input, direction, and leadership, Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity builds the most energy-efficient homes in their four-county territory. On average, home-owners save 30% or more on utility costs when they move into the home they helped build (when compared to the property they were renting.)
Even though he has been retired for years, he is dedicated to building with local business groups. He has taught home-building skills to individuals from more than 20 businesses and civic groups each year, including groups from the University of Iowa, Procter and Gamble, Integrated DNA Technologies, Hills Bank, MidWest One Bank, UI Community Credit Union, local law enforcement, and many high schools.
William has worked locally with Habitat for Humanity teaching refugees from Sudan, DRC Congo, Malawi, Mexico, Egypt, Togo, Rwanda, Germany, Arabia, Bosnia, and Ethiopia to build homes. These families are now homeowners living in Johnson, Cedar, Iowa, and Washington counties. Their children now have safety and stability. Habitat homeowner children are 116% more likely to graduate from college or university than other kids in the same 30-50% of median income who do not have parents that are homeowners.
He knows that renting families move on average every two years. It means a lot to him to know that children will have increased stability once the parents become homeowners. He says that teaching someone to be self-reliant makes a successful homeowner.