Photos: Mary Stempel accepts the award on behalf of John Hamilton. Marilyn Mickey thanks the crowd. John Wax poses with Dr. Mitchell. Dr. Mitchell and Mr. Kroon accept the check from Nicole Osborn. The players and cheerleaders of 74 pose. Donell Kvaal gives her speech.
The Riverside Hall of Fame Induction did not disappoint. Last year, the Riverside School District started a Hall of Fame in honor of their 25th anniversary. This year, the 2nd class was introduced. This is possibly one of my favorite days in Pott. County each year. There’s no greater feeling than watching people come home to where it all started. There’s no better feeling than listening to people appreciate and be thankful for your home and the people in it. There’s no prouder moments than the ones of people recognizing what you already know – your hometown matters.
Yesterday, I watched 5 people and one team be inducted into the Riverside Hall of Fame. The honorees are chosen based on town, success story, contribution to their communities, and their legacies.
First up was Nicole Allen Osborn. Nicole first recognized Mrs. Gayle Strickland and her other teachers for helping her on her path, one that has led to her owning and running her own company, Meridian Clinical Research. She shared that she has 4 core values in her company: Own it. Share it. Teamwork. And All in. She credited those values for starting in Oakland, Iowa. As her act of sharing it, she is giving 2 Riverside Scholarships, $10,000 each to graduating seniors. One for a senior going into healthcare and one in honor of her father who recently passed away, but she also announced each of the classes 6-12th grades would be given $2000 to do as they wish as part of her “Do Good Deeds” holiday she made up. (If you know me, you know I love a holiday and especially a made-up one, so well played, Nikki. Well played!)
It goes without saying that Nicole make quite an impact yesterday and truly showed her appreciation for the place that raised her.
Next up was Donell Hotze Kvaal of Carson. Donell was honored for her athletic career that was quite extensive. Already in the Central College Hall of Fame and the Iowa High School Softball Hall of Fame, this was a new title to add to her trophy shelf. Although, if you know Donell, you know she does not rest on her laurels as she just competed in the Candle Queens 5K Romp! in Carson and won the Overall Queen (with the best time over age 18).
Donell credited her parents and Gary Wax among others for all that she’s accomplished. She also went on to tell students that even on days when it feels like nobody is cheering for you, you are always supported at Riverside and whether things are how you want them to be or not, it is “all about what you choose to do today.” She said that you should always choose to be a good person yourself and the rest will ultimately fall into place. As someone who still lives in our community, many of the students are familiar with Donell and her spunk. It goes without saying that she leads by example.
Dr. Mitchell announced the next recipient as John Hamilton of Macedonia. Most know of John Hamilton as the man who donated the school in Macedonia and the grandstand that still stands which was a gift to the “children of Macedonia” in honor of his son that passed away. He was recognized and eulogized by distant relative, Mary Stempel. I doubt we can truly appreciate all that John Hamilton gave the town of Macedonia and is still giving in the form of the Hamilton Development Corp. His legacy definitely lives on.
The Friend of Riverside Award was presented to Marilyn Mickey. Marilyn has been the ultimate supporter of Riverside by working in the district, serving on the school board, raising kids in the district and now helping with grandkids, and donating her time to every possible organization that helps the Riverside community! Marilyn told the crowd, and especially the students, that it is important “to be a participant in your community.” She went on to challenge the Riverside students to be a part of their community and to give their time to make the world a better place, just like Marilyn does every day.
In Marilyn’s case, it goes without saying that Marilyn fully believes in action over words, but she delivers both beautifully.
The last set of honorees for the day included the distinguished Carson-Macedonia 1973-1974 football team and cheerleaders. John Wax spoke on behalf of the team that was recognized for being one of only 15 teams, and the most recent in Iowa history, to go unbeaten and unscored upon after having been only 4 and 5 the year before. John thanked everyone down to the PA announcer and the moms that fed them after the game each time. I have to say that it was a fun group to watch enjoying the moment. They had yellow t-shirts made, the cheerleaders finished the day with “we’re proud of our team, yes, we’re proud of our team!”
Their excitement was palpable and truly refreshing.
As a community member, and as a person promoting Pottawattamie County, it was a good day to be from here!
My takeaway is simply that we are typically born and raised to be humble Iowans, but on any given day, there are endless success stories swirling around us and it is good to bring them to the spotlight.
#PottawattamieLoyal #IowaProud #SmallTownLifeIsTheBestLife