Local residents and businesses receive Governor's Volunteer Awards for 2014

Zarwells honored for environmental volunteerism ... Left to right - Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, Betty and Ric Zarwell, Iowa Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, University of Northern Iowa President Bill Ruud. Submitted photo.

KBSB honored for Adopt-a-Highway volunteerism ... Left to right - Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, Lansing Area Market President Clem Schulte of Kerndt Brothers Savings Bank, Iowa Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, University of Northern Iowa President Bill Ruud. Submitted photo.

Palmborg honored for downtown advocacy ... Left to right - Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, Bruce Palmborg, Iowa Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, University of Northern Iowa President Bill Ruud. Submitted photo.

Delphey honored for volunteerism with CASA program ... Left to right - Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, Pam Delphey, Iowa Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, University of Northern Iowa President Bill Ruud. Submitted photo.

Several Allamakee County citizens were on hand to receive 2014 Governor’s Volunteer Awards from Iowa Governor Terry E. Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds during a special recognition ceremony held in late June in Cedar Falls. Lansing residents Bruce Palmborg and Ric and Betty Zarwell, Waukon resident Pam Delphey, and local businesses Kerndt Brothers Savings Bank of Lansing and Harpers Ferry, and Upper Iowa Resort and Rental of Dorchester were each honored for the volunteer efforts they have put forth this past year, most of those local recipients being represented in the photographs below accompanying this article.
“It’s always a great pleasure for me to honor and recognize the volunteers who accomplish extraordinary things through service to help their communities, fellow citizens, and the great state of Iowa,” said Governor Branstad. “These dedicated volunteers lead by example - not only encouraging the people they help, but motivating others to serve as well.  I sincerely thank them all for their dedication and efforts.”
The Governor’s Volunteer Awards (GVA) program was created in 1982, with inaugural awards presented in 1983. What began as a small program for state government agencies has expanded over the years and now provides all Iowa non-profit, charitable and government organizations with an easy way to honor their volunteers with a prestigious state-level award.  Hundreds of volunteers are recognized each year with awards in one of four categories: Individual, Group, Length of Service or Disaster Volunteer.
Recipients of the Governor’s Volunteer Award do not necessarily need to live in Iowa, but their service must have benefited Iowans or an Iowa organization. Award criteria include an individual or group who has:
• demonstrated exceptional commitment to volunteerism by helping with a special project or ongoing activities
• demonstrated exemplary leadership, creativity, cooperation and hard work in their service to others
• made an outstanding contribution to their state or community through volunteer service.

Both Kerndt Brothers Savings Bank and Upper Iowa Resort and Rental were honored for their years of service to the State of Iowa's Adopt-A-Highway program, and both were nominated by Paul Trombino of the Iowa Department of Transportation. Represented by Lansing Area Market President Clem Schulte, Kerndt Brothers Savings Bank was awarded for 20 years of service to the Adopt-A-Highway program. There was not a representative in attendance at the ceremony from Upper Iowa Resort and Rental, which was honored for 10 years of service to the Adopt-A-Highway program.

Pam Delphey was nominated by Kerry Brennan of the Iowa Child Advocacy Board for her commitment as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer. "Pam has been a very dedicated, committed volunteer with the CASA program for the past three years," Brennan explained in her nomination of Delphey. "She has stuck with her case and those kids almost the entire time she's been a CASA volunteer because she was determined to work for those children's best interest. This month, Pam was able to see those children successfully returned to their mother's care and the DHS (Department of Human Services) case successfully closed. Pam deserves this award for her patience and dedication!"

Bruce Palmborg was nominated by Michael Wagler of the Iowa Economic Development Authority for his work as Board President of the Main Street Lansing program promoting the Lansing area business community. "As one of Lansing's strongest downtown advocates, Bruce's leadership and support serve as an example for all citizens of the state," Wagler said in his nomination information for Palmborg.

Ric and Betty Zarwell were nominated by Pat Schlarbaum of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources for their many years of volunteer work focused on Iowa’s wildlife, natural resources, and environmental issues. Schlarbaum noted the Zarwells' contributions to a Sandhill Crane survey for the past 16 years as one strong area of volunteerism.
Most recently, Ric has been president of the 501 (c) 3 non-profit, Allamakee County Protectors–Education Campaign. Along with numerous other individuals, he and Betty worked closely with county officials to develop a new ordinance to manage industrial mining that blasts into the silica sand aquifers, which provide drinking water to many thousands of Iowans. The new ordinance protects taxpayers, homes and businesses, county roads and bridges, trout streams, recreational trails, and other natural and cultural features.
The Zarwells also created the Rivers & Bluffs Fall Birding Festival and coordinated its activities for eight years. In the early 2000s Ric facilitated numerous meetings of a 44-member Allamakee Bluffland Protection Study Committee, established by the Allamakee County Board of Supervisors. The committee developed a set of protective measures that were approved in their entirety by the Board to protect the character of Allamakee County’s scenic blufflands for the enjoyment and benefit of present and future generations; and will help the county maintain its status as having the highest per capita income from tourism of any Iowa county.
For many years Ric and Betty have both been active volunteers with the Friends of Pool 9–Upper Mississippi River Refuge, of which Ric was a founding board member. For more than a decade, the Zarwells have documented Allamakee County’s steadily increasing population of Sandhill Cranes. Other ongoing volunteer activities include monitoring Bald Eagle and Trumpeter Swan nests, and documenting increasing nesting successes. Ric was part of a small team that founded the Friends of the Migratory Bird/Duck Stamp, a national organization that promotes increasing sales of “Duck Stamps” to expand the amount of habitat protected within the National Wildlife Refuge System. Also, for many years, the Zarwells spearheaded investigations of wintering Golden Eagles in northeast Iowa.
Several years ago, Ric was appointed by Iowa Governor Chet Culver to represent “conservation interests” as a member of Iowa’s Mississippi River Council, made up of representatives of Iowa counties, river communities, and major interests of the public. Recently, Branstad reappointed Ric to that position.
“The Governor and I are strong believers that our community volunteers, charitable non-profits, and faith-based institutions are often best equipped to provide long-term solutions to the challenges we face,” said Lt. Governor Reynolds.  “Some of our most promising and cost-effective solutions to literacy, disaster response, drop-out prevention, and community development are fueled by tapping into our best assets - our people and our volunteer spirit."
The Governor’s Volunteer Award program is coordinated by the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service and the Governor’s Office.  For more information, visit www.volunteeriowa.org/awards or call 515-725-3094.