Iowan of the Day Flashback! Who were our winners 10 years ago and how can you nominate someone for this year?

May 13, 2022
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Since its inception in 1997, the Iowan of the Day Program has honored more than 240 individuals across the state at the Iowa State Fair. These individuals have shown their love and passion for volunteering within their communities. All of these Iowans have incredible stories and I want to share some of those with you! Let’s take it back 10 years…

Esther Bielema of Wall Lake was recognized as an individual who was always helpful and community-minded. She was a co-founder of the Wall Lake Historical Society, was a member of Women’s Cub, was involved with her Church, and was a retired teacher that still taught Sunday school and Vacation Bible School.  She made a lasting impact on youth in her community.

Garland Fickess of Bedford was recognized as an individual who has the word ‘volunteer’ embedded in her soul. She served on the Bedford Ambulance board, volunteered at her church, participated in Meals on Wheels, volunteered at the Taylor County Historical Museum, and so much more! She had no boundaries when it came to helping others before herself.

Janet Reynolds of Sioux City was recognized as an individual who never asked for anything in return. She worked closely with youth in 4-H afterschool programs, Midtown Community Center, and 4-H summer camps. She volunteered at the Jones Street Community Garden and coordinated a memorial event at the Community Splash Pad. She showed great compassion and dedication for those in her community.

Jeralyn Westercamp of Cedar Rapids was recognized as an outstanding person and student. She founded the non-profit CR HOMEWORKS, Kids 2 Kids: Tools 4 School, and served as the first Iowan on the State Farm Youth Advisory Board. She also volunteered at the Iowa City’s Veteran’s Hospital, Habitat for Humanity, and at the Cedar Rapids public library. She was community-oriented, patriotic, and selfless.

Jim Gronbach of Dakota City was recognized for his positive attitude, optimism, and hard work ethic. He was a member of the Humboldt Community School District Facilities Committee, supported the athletic boosters, and was a volunteer firefighter for over 25 years. He has helped at many events in his community and was not afraid of a challenge.

Ken Petersen of Council Bluffs was recognized for his optimism, leadership, and involvement. He represented Council Bluffs as an ambassador for the Relay for Life nationwide event, was a board member of IHA, Wings of Hope Cancer Center, AEA13, the American Cancer Society, and more. He brightened the lives of those around him and was respected in his community.

Lila Bubke of Des Moines was recognized for her commitment to making her community successful. She helped at local pre-schools, K-8 public schools, was a member of the ABC Book Group, was a library volunteer, served on the Community School Advisory Committee, was a Director of Schleswig’s Town Parade Calf Show, and so much more. She demonstrated leadership, generosity, and had great character.

Mary Maybee of Boone was recognized for her enthusiasm, dedication and her contribution to her community.  She helped start the Boone Community Theatre and originated the Boone Summer Theatre Workshop. She was involved in her church, Relay for Life, Community Betterment, Boone Jaycees, Boone County YMCA Board, and was on the State of Iowa Advisory Council. She brightened the lives of those around her.

Suzie Glazer Burt of Des Moines was recognized for her generosity, talent, and leadership. She served on the Hospice of Central Iowa Foundation, volunteered at the Boys and Girls Club of Des Moines, was a leader on the Des Moines Art Center’s Board of Directors, and contributed to LIVE United 2009 United Way challenge. She contributed so much to her community and lead with her heart.

Troyce Vich of Waterloo was recognized for her enthusiastic, kind-hearted, and positive encouragement in her community. She volunteered at her church, Waterloo Days, Sartori Hospital’s Festival of Trees, Sturgis Falls Days, helped teach Sunday school, and did so much more! She has had a big impact on those in her community through her involvement and volunteerism.


All of these Iowans have incredible stories and were all recognized at the 2012 Iowa State Fair for their enthusiasm, volunteerism, and passion for bettering their communities. 10 years later, we are still seeing the same excitement and passion from Iowans that want to make their communities a better place.

 These individuals care about others and have a lasting impact on those around them. Often times, these individuals do these things because they enjoy it and genuinely want to help their communities. However, the Blue Ribbon Foundation and Cookies Food Products thinks these individuals should be recognized for what they do. There are individuals all around us who deserve to be recognized, so help us find our next Iowan of the Day.

If you know someone who has a similar story to those above or someone who has made an impact on you or those in your community, nominate them as Iowan of the Day. Help us recognize the shining stars in our communities.


All 10 Iowan of the Day winners receive:

  • Four Iowa State Fair admission tickets
  • An introduction on the Anne & Bill Riley Stage
  • Four Grandstand show tickets for their day
  • Privilege to use the Iowan of the Day golf cart for the day
  • VIP parking
  • Accommodations at the Des Moines Marriott Downtown
  • $200 cash


All nominations are due July 1, 2022 and all nominees must currently reside in Iowa. For more information about Iowan of the Day and nomination forms, check out our website! The nomination form is also below.


We are so excited to see all of the Iowan of the Day nominations come in and we can’t wait to see who our 2022 winners are!


- Brooklin Border, Public Relations Intern