HCB&T Banquet full of positives

—Three awards given; county/area busy with activities; Gable speaks
CRESCO - Jason Passmore, executive director of Howard County Business & Tourism, welcomed everyone to the banquet and introduced President Alison Holten.
She spoke about how economic development has changed over the years. “At one time it was done in silos. Individuals would work on a project and only focus on how it would benefit their immediate corner of the world. At meetings, everyone was reminded information was not to be leaked out to give rival communities the chance to steal the project or ideals being worked on.
“In order to grow Howard County and the region, we must continue to step outside of our silos and comfort zones.  We must work together to showcase the assets Northeast Iowa has to offer, such as the abundance of jobs, a great quality of life, a safe environment to raise a family, quality of education and low cost of living.”
The meal, prepared by Renos, was then served.
Volunteer Awards
Dan Evans, publisher of the Times Plain Dealer, gave out awards to some deserving folks.
• Citizen of the Year was Vickie Grube of Cresco, who is involved in the food packaging event during Norman Borlaug Harvest Fest as well as the 5K (formerly known as CROP walk), the Dr. Norman Borlaug Heritage Foundation, Immanuel Lutheran Church and the Fine Arts Council. 
In addition, she dresses as a clown at parades, takes pictures and posts many online for others to enjoy, shares her making of lefse with family and friends, paints and does other crafts.
After accepting her award, Grube said, “I’ll say it again and again, I believe with my whole heart, there are others more deserving.” She then talked about some of the organizations she was involved with over the years.
• Hall of Fame went to Butch and Dorene Burnikel of Lime Springs. They have been involved in the fire department and auxiliary, running a business, being a Cub Scout Assistant leader, been officers in Commercial Club (now Community Club) and chaired or helped at nearly every event during Sweet Corn Days.
Butch spoke on behalf of the couple when accepting the award. He thanked the entire community and whoever had nominated them. “We were so surprised that we got this award. We never expected it.”
• Evans introduced the Organization of the Year — Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame Foundation. “It’s not often an organization from a town of 3,900 is recognized throughout the United States and throughout the world, but that’s what the heartbeat of wrestling does.
“The organization also hosts the annual Minnesota-Iowa Border Battle and have raised funds for wrestlers to compete in the Olympics at times.”
IWHOF Secretary/Treasurer Jerome Hruska told those gathered, “This is all so humbling. I want to thank the community. If not for the community’s support it would have never lasted 50 years”
He talked about the annual banquet, where new members are inducted each year, and which had just been held the night before. “Banquet tickets and sponsors are where we get our funds. Even if you are not a wrestling fan, at the banquet you will hear motivational or inspirational speakers. It is special.”
Passmore said of the three recipients, “Those who say others are more deserving . . . that means we picked the right people.”
He then introduced the night’s speaker. “Dan Gable is arguably the best wrestler and coach to grace our fair country. He was 181-1 during his prep and collegiate career, winning multiple titles and world titles, and of course, the famed 1972 Olympics in Munich, where he won gold without surrendering a point! His passion for wrestling and the great state of Iowa never waivers. Please welcome the legend . . . Dan Gable.”
Dan Gable
The University of Iowa’s all-time winningest coach explained why he came from the back of the room. “I can’t just jump up and perform. I need time to prepare. The one time I did, that one guy (181-1) was ready and I wasn’t. I need that loss to be able to analyze winning and losing.”
Bringing some wrestling and common sense to the audience, he spoke to the businesspeople. “In your business, if you don’t have passion, you may be okay, but you could do so much better.”
In addition, Gable spoke about the support he received from his parents, especially his father, when he was young. “I’m the luckiest man,  because I had people who loved me and I made my own life.”
 Passmore ended the evening by passing on some of the good things taking place in the county over the past year. “In 2018, 30 businesses and entrepreneurs received $577,000 in loan funds. That meant 26 new jobs were established and 39 were retained. I call the Revolving Loan Fund ‘Pay it Forward’.”
He went on to say Howard County invested nearly $63,000 in benefits to its housing stock. In the last 10 years, over $524,000 was invested in the county.
He then addressed the three volunteer award-winners and others in the audience, “We appreciate all you do for Howard County and Northeast Iowa to make this a special place.”
Incoming president Robin Schluter closed the meeting by observing it was a “night of legends . . . Vickie Grube, Butch and Dorene Burnikel, the Wrestling Hall of Fame and Dan Gable. Thank you all for coming.”

Cresco Times

Phone: 563-547-3601
Fax: 563-547-4602

Cresco TPD
214 N. Elm Street
Cresco, IA 52136

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