As we celebrate Labor Day and head into the week of Patriot’s Day as well, WIDA would like to take time to celebrate those in our communities that choose to serve our country.
First up, we have Ryan Mace. Ryan is a resident of Macedonia and served in the United States Navy from 1992 to 1998 where he was trained to do Fire Control as a Tomahawk cruise missile weapon system operator/technician and harpoon cruise missile weapon system technician. His tour took him to the Naval Training Center Great Lakes (Basic training and Fire Control A school), San Diego, CA (Tomahawk and Harpoon school), Damneck, VA (Tomahawk school), Pearl Harbor, HI USS Ingersoll DD990, USS Port Royal CG73, and the Persian Gulf for deployment.
He said his time in the Navy was “a great opportunity to get an education in electronics and see places he never would have otherwise.” His list of experiences included Kwajalein (island in the Bikini Atoll), Guam, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Philippines, Australia, Thailand, Singapore, Dubai, South Africa, and Mauritius.
Ryan says that having his military background on his resume has always been a benefit, but perhaps the greatest lesson from his time spent serving our country was learning how to function and stay calm under pressure.
If you know Ryan, you know he’s probably used those lessons over and over again as he raises his two daughters (ages 8 & 14), works in sales for a cabinet hardware supply company, and spends his free time deer hunting, fishing, target shooting, and enjoying the outdoors (mostly with his girls). Ryan is a natural jokester and outdoorsman, but always willing to help a friend.
Mace can tell you stories of jokes played on the International Dateline and underwater earthquakes he felt, but ultimately, he will tell you that “after seeing many different places and countries, the freedoms we have as Americans are truly unique and should not be taken for granted. We are lucky to live in the country we do with the freedoms we have.”
Mace is also part of the American Legion that serves the Riverside area which he said he joined shortly after his step-grandfather’s funeral service which included military honors performed by the Carson Legion at Wheeler Grove. He knew he wanted to be a part of it as “participating in honoring our fellow service members who have passed is truly humbling and an honor.”
Ryan, we thank you for your service not only to our country but to our community and our county. You exemplify commitment and love for our home!
Pottawattamie County salutes you, my friend!
You’ve got a new fall maze to try out at the Wheeler Grove Conservation Area - for free, I might add! It still astounds me that I’m still finding new places in Pott. Co! It’s crazy that I hadn’t been there when it’s so close by, but it again shows how we forget to check out the stuff in our backyard! So here’s your new place to check out when you’re missing your Saturday College Game Day schedule!
Right outside of Carson, you’ll find this amazing 247 acre public area that was donated by the Parrotts (lots of other people helped make it happen, too – the list is on the dedication rock). It’s acres of nature left to its own devices for the most part other than the excellent efforts put forth to keep it up by the Pottawattamie County Conservation. And they are nice enough to cut a path which feels a whole lot like a big maze! It’s perfect for an afternoon scavenger hunt with the kids or a nice little non-strenuous hike.
I checked it out. It was just the dragonflies, the butterflies, the birds, one scared-to-death pheasant and an equally-frightened me as we met a little unexpectedly! The frogs croaked, the crickets hummed, and the sun shown. I roamed among the sunflowers. One of the things I loved best was that there were spots of sunshine and still plenty of shady stops, too. It’s absolutely beautiful, and I hear it’s open for hunting during the regular season, as well.
When you get there, there are iron bars that make it look like it’s closed, but it isn’t. It’s just to keep out vehicles. It is a walking area only, but it’s well worth the walk!
As we continue to fight the doldrums of COVID, there’s no worry of socially-distancing out there. It’s a little piece of uncharted territory ready for you to discover with your camera, your picnic lunch, or your over-active toddler!
Happy Exploring, Pott. Co!
PS - (PSA – be sure to wear proper clothing to avoid nettles or poison ivy. Staying on the path pretty much prevents that, but one can never be too careful! Also, be sure to clean up after yourselves! And no, there are no restrooms!)