Giving Tuesday is upon us! What a big day! If you are unaware, the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, is Giving Tuesday. It’s your chance to be thankful for all that you have and give back, making a positive difference in the lives of others.
December 1, 2020 is a huge day because it’s been quite a year, but if you’re reading this, you’re still standing! So I just want to help give you a few ways you can help this Giving Tuesday whether it’s money, supplies, or time!
First off, as you may know, WIDA partners with SHAREOmaha and SHAREOmaha offers #GivingTuesday712. They have teamed up with the Pottawattamie County Community Foundation to get 20% matching donations and there are some great Pott. Co. organizations on the list! One of them is actually PCCF – they do a great job of giving out grants each spring to our local towns and advocating for the rural areas.
Another great option is the Pottawattamie County Trails Association. They work to get trails set up county-wide. It’s not an easy process, but they are committed.
The TS Community Foundation is a set up by TS Bank and as you know WIDA has worked with TS Bank on some projects this year. They are looking to beef up their giving to local communities. I’m sure they’d appreciate your support!
The Pottawattamie Conservation Foundation provides education and finds funding to preserve natural habitat. They work with our county parks to expand their reach. We are blessed to have a rich natural environment here in Pott. Co.
Golden Hills RC&D works to protect that environment along with its land and water features. I might be a little partial because I work in the same building but I have to give them a big shout-out. A majority of the work they do is grant-based and they work very hard to get funding to improve our county. They are a best-kept secret here in Pott. Co. and deserve our attention!
Another nonprofit close to my heart is Impact Hill in Oakland. They are just in their beginning years of changing the old Riverside High School into a nonprofit offering recreational and educational facilities. Not only can you donate money to them on #GivingTuesday but they are having a painting party, too! So if you don’t have the money but do have the time, head to Impact Hill between 10am and 6pm! They will be happy to have you help them spruce up the place!
Another organization that definitely would also take your time is the Teammates Mentoring Program. As someone who worked in a school, I can tell you this program makes a huge difference for the kids who need that extra time with an adult. If you have it in you, please make this one of your donations.
Family, Inc. does great things, too! They have an office in Walnut and they help families in the area with whatever needs they might have, as well as hosting family events throughout the year!
Another place I can’t help but mention on this day is the Pottawattamie County Recycling Center! If you’re looking to donate used stuff like books, toys, furniture, etc. from your house or business you no longer use, the Recycling Center has the Swap Shop which is quite similar to the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store and they’d be happy to take your stuff for free and let those in need get it this Christmas. The Center sits between Oakland and Hancock and is a great resource!
I also want to tell you that Keast Motors in Oakland with help from The Buck Snort will be hosting their annual Riverside Toy Drive. They collect toys till December 16 that go to local families in need and all remaining toys are given to Family, Inc. so let’s help them fill their truck! Suggestions they gave: Nerf guns, board games, puzzles, Legos, ear buds, lotion, nail polish, crew socks for guys, reusable water bottles, tractors, trucks, craft kits, etc.
Finally, I have to give a big shout-out to Destination Coffee and Cuisine in Oakland as they are donating all tips on #GivingTuesday to Shoebox Angels by Mischa Martens, who just also happens to not only be my sister but a Pott. Co. business owner of 35 years who does gift boxes for many of the local shelters each Christmas. She’d also take donations of items such as unused underwear, hats, mittens, and snacks.
So whether you want to donate money, supplies, or time, Pott. Co. has ways you can help, and I always say the best way to appreciate your own life is by doing something for others.
Get out there and show the world how Pott. Co. does #GivingTuesday!
PS – If you know of other rural Pott. Co. organizations who we need to know about, please put them in the comments! Thank you!
Babies, munchkins, or teenagers all can be hard to shop for but no worries, we have the perfect suggestions for what to buy and where to get it in Pottawattamie County! Some places even have extra discounts for Small Business Saturday this week, too, so it pays to shop early!
If you’re looking for the perfect baby gifts, your first stop should be Kids Outfitters in Avoca. They have a wide variety of clothes, shoes, and toys – many of which have never been used! You can’t go wrong with long-sleeve onsies in Iowa in winter! Also, I’m a big fan of any squishy toy that makes noise, lights up, or can be chewed on. And while you’re at it, grab some cereal puffs at the grocery store!
Want to get a one-size-fits all gift for an under 8, how about a book from a local author? Cami Larison, a Riverside teacher, just put out a children’s book called Beaver’s Dam Friends that she will even autograph for you. You can buy on Amazon and set up to have her sign it. Read here to find out more.
Want to give them a gift of your childhood? Head to Second Impressions or Analog in Walnut. Second Impressions carries vintage toys and comic books that are new and old! Analog carries vintage games as well as new and old gaming. They have a great mix for every gamer in your life.
Shopping for a kid who might be interested in agriculture? You can’t go wrong with a miniature tractor, combine, or even a 4-wheeler from AgriVision in Macedonia! And while you’re in Macedonia, swing by The Painted Camel. They have the cutest character rings for little girls or one-of-kind keepsake-type Christmas ornaments! Figurines make a good gift, too. Grab Precious Moments at Lehan’s in Minden. They have quite a collection.
For older kids, I’m a big fan of giving them experiences, and we have some great ones that are outside and COVID-friendly! Why not buy a Pottawattamie County Park pass for them for 2021? They can see the elk and buffalo in Hancock or take to the trails at Hitchcock.
Another thing that could be fun for the whole family is taking them skiing or tubing at Mount Crescent! I’d stick to tubing but what a great staycation option!
I also happen to know that horse-riding lessons are also a score! Mine loves Ashley Mason Equestrian here in Oakland, but Josie’s Riding Experience in Walnut has a great reputation, too!
Plus, it’s never too soon to be thinking about next summer! Did you know that you can buy student golf memberships? Treynor and Oakland-Riverside both have great courses!
If you want to make sure it’s personal, you can’t go wrong with supporting the Booster Clubs in all the local school districts. They sell hats, mittens, masks, and hoodies in their school colors! Every kid likes to support the home team! Riverside gear can also be purchased at Oakland Pharmacy and AHSTW gear can be ordered from What’s Your Sign Graphics in Avoca.
And when all else fails, I think of 2 things. 1. Dollar General in Avoca, Crescent, and Oakland has toys and gift cards! 2. You can never go wrong with food! Kids love McDonald’s in Shelby, or for those teenagers that love their coffee, Destination Coffee in Oakland or Treynor Java Supply in Treynor offer gift cards, too!
So hopefully that helps make your shopping list a little easier this holiday season! Shop Local! Shop Pott. Co!
Get a signed copy of Beaver’s Dam Friends for the child who has everything! How can you do that? Well, Mrs. Cami Larison, a Riverside Elementary teacher recently wrote and published it! Her fellow co-worker, Kim Piro, did the illustrations, and it is ready and waiting for you to purchase on Amazon! So not only can you support local but you can use your Prime to have it shipped to your door. Then, message Cami on her Beaver's Dam Friends Facebook page to get it signed and ready to go for the little munchkins in your life!
Want to know more? Well, Ms. Cami as she’s known at school, has wanted to write a book since her first early childhood literacy class in college. The one blessing of COVID was that it gave her just enough free time to see her dream to fruition. After spending years and years reading stories to children, she finally got to read her own to them. She said watching them get excited about what would happen next “was a surreal moment.” Perhaps what made her proudest was showing her own children that you can do anything you set your mind to.
The process didn’t happen overnight. The story had been brewing in the back of Cami’s mind for quite some time and it wasn’t until COVID and reaching out to Kim that things started to happen. She said, “It took months of research, critiquing my story, hiring an editor, working on illustrations, and formatting it.” What came out of all that is a children’s story that not only has many lessons and morals in it but is flashy and attractive to kids. From learning lessons about nature, counting, the Midwest, work ethic, and emotional development to simply reading a fun story, this book will reach lots of different learners. Mrs. Larison said it was imperative that she encourage kids to see how everything in nature is connected.
So as Christmas approaches, here’s your opportunity to pick up a great book for any little girl or boy on your list and encourage a local Pott. Co-er on her writing journey! You can purchase the book here. Then head to her Facebook page to get it signed!
Cami said she’s got a chapter book running through her brain already and can’t wait to do it again. Go get ‘em, Cami! Pott. Co. will be ready to buy it!
*Blog sponsored by the Oakland Industrial Foundation.
You are all invited to the Family Dental Center/Kite Family Chiropractic Open House Tuesday (11/16) from 3pm to 6pm. The new handicap-accessible facility is open and ready for you to check out! Swing by to see the new set-up at 170 S Elm on Avoca’s Main Street, known to many as the Opera House building.
Many of you may already know Chet Meneely as he has been working in Avoca since last spring. Dr. Meneely attended the University of Iowa and was hired by Dr. Kreifels right out of college to work in the Atlantic office. As Dr. Kreifels began to ponder retirement, he looked to Chet as his replacement. In fact, Chet says Dr. Kreifels was an advocate for Avoca and the reason why he decided to set up practice there. Kreifels had mentioned on numerous occasions how appreciative the citizens of Avoca and the surrounding area were. Meneely quickly saw what Kreifels meant about the gratitude and timely patients. So in April, Dr. Meneely bought out both the Atlantic and Avoca practices. According to Meneely, he “plans to be in Avoca for the long haul and wants to serve the community and surrounding area.” He told me a successful practice is one that offers great experiences and relies on that word-of-mouth.
Dr. Meneely will see patients at both locations but will be in Avoca on Tuesdays from 7:30 to 4:30. He also welcomes the chance to add more hours himself or bring on a partner if the schedule fills up. In addition, he decided to share the building with Paul Kite and his associate, Brian Hansen. Kite Family Chiropractic has a facility in Council Bluffs and Atlantic and is now reaching out to the Avoca community, as well.
To see the new space, be sure to stop by Tuesday or call Family Dental Center, 712-243-3275 or Kite Family Chiropractic, 712-243-7737 to set up appointments!
Welcome to Pott. Co, Chet, Paul, and Brian! We’re happy to have you here!
There’s that old saying about, “You know Joe…” and yes, you do! Joe Riddle is a legend in these parts! He has served in a variety of volunteer positions like secretary of the Masonic Lodge, Vice Commander of the Carson American Legion, member of the Carson Methodist Church, member of the Iowa Western Community Band, past Carson City Council member, a member on the WIDA Board, a Shriner, and many more I’m sure!
On this Veteran’s Day, we honor Joe because he not only served in the military, but he now serves Pottawattamie County in so many ways. Joe enlisted during the beginning of the Vietnam Era when he was a freshman in college. He did his basic training and OJT at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, then got a call to be a tuba player. He served in the 566th Air Force Band Illinois Air National Guard from April of 1965 to December of 1992 playing tuba and bass trombone. As a self-quoted “weekend warrior,” he saw 11 other countries and 39 states. He also is retired after a 33-year stint working for the Rock Island, Chicago & North Western, and Union Pacific Railroads. He and his wife moved to Carson from Chicago in 1995 and he’s now been here 25 years!
If you know Joe, you know he’s always got something to say, his talents are many, and he’s always willing to pitch in and help for a cause. It’s not surprising to see him helping at a funeral or the Carson Business Trick-or-Treat or in a parade with the Shriners. He’s a people person and believes in giving back. He told me that his most satisfying role has been as a driver for the Shriners’ Hospitals. He takes children with special needs for surgeries and check-ups. That is a testament to the man Joe Riddle is…
Riddle learned a lot in the military including how to work as a team to get a mission completed and that you’re only as strong as your weakest link/member. He firmly believes that all citizens are responsible for themselves as well as their neighbors. There’s no question that Joe is wholeheartedly invested in his community, county, state, and country.
Joe, your jovial spirit and dedication to service are unmatched. Pott. Co. is beyond thankful to have you!
Thanks to Jackie Akers for contributing photos.
Walnut recently added a purple-heart business owner to their Main Street! Devin Datus served in the United States Air Force for 24 years before making his way to Walnut. Devin was an Explosives Ordnance Disposal Technician and did tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2010, he was 20 feet away from a detonated bomb and lived to tell about it. As anyone can imagine, there have been life-long side effects and a year ago, Midwestern-born Datus realized it was time to leave Utah and get his wife back to her family (who are from Avoca) and help if needed.
A year later, Master Sergeant Devin Datus and his wife own a home on the edge of Walnut with his 4 daughters and his parents in tow. After doing everything from DeeJaying to international resales to gaming to doing a booth and consignment sales, Devin decided to set up shop and own his first brick-and-mortar business in Walnut. He’s not a sit-around-and-do-nothing type of guy so when the opportunity came up to buy a couple of buildings on the main street in Walnut, he knew it was meant to be, and Second Impressions was born at 215 Antique City Drive.
With antiques, retro, and vintage items, especially toys, collected and ready to go, Devin opened in the midst of COVID in June of 2020. Then, a couple of rare comic books walked through the door and after collecting since 1984, he knew he had to add that to his business! He signed up with Diamond Distribution and now he caters to comic fans from Des Moines to Omaha and everywhere in between! So lucky us, we have a comics dealer sitting right here in Pott. Co! The shop has multiple rooms with the coolest multi-colored tile flooring and is filled to the brim with nostalgia! I couldn’t stop taking pics! You have to go see it in person!
Datus truly wants to help Walnut evolve with a wave of new business in town and by working with other business owners to complement each other, especially his friend Shannon who owns Analog, a gaming shop across the street. Devin has vision and enthusiasm that’s contagious! We sure are glad you decided to make your way to Pott. Co, Devin, and we thank you for your service to our country, Sir. You most definitely embody all that is good and American.
Let us all wish you a Happy Veteran’s Day this week!
Did you know that local Pott. Co. resident, Terry Pierce, makes feeders, sleds, and wagons for the Budweiser Clydesdales? Thirty years ago, Terry started building wagons and sleds for draft horses and was an innovator of change. The process started when he was trying to make life easier for his grandfather who was known for driving his draft horses down Main Street in Oakland for parades. From there, it grew into a national business.
Today, Terry (with the help of his wife, Deb, and graphics done by CenPro and horses driven by his friend, Alex Baker) makes everything from horse box stalls to flatbed wagons to show wagons to shoeing stocks to hay and silage feeders to carts and sleds! There’s nothing he can’t make! On top of all that, they run a stallion station and he collects the semen himself and Deb freezes it! And he judges national draft horse events! The brilliance and skillset necessary to accomplish all those tasks is astronomical!
Known nationally by so many, he’s even done a show wagon for Terry Bradshaw and for Young Living Essential Oils with his biggest customer each year being Anheuser Busch. The show wagons he makes can be from 40 to 80 thousand dollars! He’s even made trolleys for the Louisiana Zoo, Living History Farms, and Young Living. He told me he does about 50 sleds a year and just shipped his 9th flatbed wagon for the year. The intricate detail and handwork that goes into each is incredible. The things he makes are lifetime pieces for most of his clients. He does a lot of work for the Amish community and is willing to try anything once. He welds. He cuts wood and shaves it. He fires wagon wheels. A master craftsman is an understatement! No wonder he's been inducted into the Draft Horse Hall of Fame!
To people here, he might just be “one of the Pierces,” but to the world outside Oakland, Terry Pierce is known as the best of the best! I asked him why he even got started in all of it knowing that his Grandpa Orville had a little to do with it, but he told me if he made stuff, it was an excuse to go to the horse sales! I understood that all too well! Lol. Want to see what he makes? Check out their page Belgian Hill Farm to see it all!
Terry ships much of what he makes but also has plenty of buyers that come here, bringing business to our community and encouraging others to see our county. Boy, are we glad you decided to stay, Terry Pierce! Pott. Co. is thankful to have you and Deb!
*Blog sponsored by Oakland Industrial Foundation.
From where I stand, November is always considered the month of giving. As we roll into the holidays and the end of a very depressing 2020, I can’t help but think that the answer lies in giving.
So many of you give your time, your money, and your efforts to worthy causes, and together, we uphold the Iowa Nice mentality. It is with that, that I invite you to join The Blessed Turkey Project. This is a time where I am mixing business with pleasure. I have nothing to gain from it, but I have always believed that when things are the worst for me, the best thing I can do is to do for others. With that sentiment in mind, I’m offering you the chance to come share in gratitude with my friends and family on Facebook. Tell us what you’re grateful for and see what others have to say, and along the way, I will be encouraging you to participate in Pay it Forward Tuesdays.
Giving can look like whatever you want it to, but here are a few suggestions if you need them:
*Donate clothing to The Clothes Closet in Macedonia.
*Donate food to the food pantries throughout the county. (I have included the flyer I made about all of them last fall.)
*Shop locally. We just had cash mobs at Silos in Treynor and The Painted Camel in Macedonia. Go eat or get take-out at Silos or shop at The Painted Camel for one-of-a-kind items for Christmas. Or anywhere else in Pott. County for that matter!
*Get on SHARE Omaha’s website and find the 712 options and volunteer.
*Take cookies to your neighbors.
*Leave a treat for your mailman.
*Put an American flag balloon on the railing of a Veteran’s home.
*Make a wreath for someone in a nursing home.
*Write a letter to your grandma or grandpa.
Giving can be small, cheap, or big and flashy, but the feeling you get will be worth it and is so necessary during a week of unrest. I, myself, like that feeling of generosity. With that philosophy in mind, I am giving away my 2 local children’s books I wrote to one lucky winner! I’d rather be offering you a million bucks and a lifetime supply of Clorox Wipes but I can’t quite make that happen!
So here’s to me putting my money where my mouth is and offering my books on my 2-year work-aversary! Comment on the blog or on the original WIDA post on Facebook or Instagram to win. Deadline to enter is Wednesday at noon Central time.
And be on the look-out for other giveaways, as my daughter often says: sharing is caring! Let’s put make Pott. Co. the nicest, generous, giving-est county around!
*This giveaway is in no way tied to Facebook or any other organization.