March 3, 2007
Coach Steve Alford and the Iowa Hawkeyes will close the book on the 2006-07 regular season Saturday, Mar. 3, when they entertain Illinois at 11 a.m. inside a sold-out Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Senior Day.
Among the 15,500 in attendance will be Jeff Lihs and Mike Quinlan as a result of being selected as the “Hero Among Us” program. Both were nominated by Tim Weldon, another fan of the Hawkeyes. Jeff and Mike administered CPR to another fan of the Hawkeyes on Dec. 8 when Iowa defeated Iowa State in the Arena.
The “Heroes Among Us” program is an initiative of Alford and the Iowa Hawkeyes and an effort to recognize the neighbors, co-workers and friends among us that are doing extraordinary things. Today’s game marks the second full year of the “Heroes Among Us” program.
March 3, 2007
Nominator: Tim Weldon
Hero: Jeff Lihs and Mike Quinlan
On December 8th, 2006, during the Iowa-Iowa State basketball game a man walked into the men’s bathroom and fell to the floor having a heart attack. Jeff Lihs from the Lone Tree Lions Club and Mike Quinlan were working (volunteering) at the concession stand next to the bathroom. Jeff and Mike started CPR until the EMT’s arrived. Their actions hopefully helped save this man’s life. I am a member of the West Branch Lions Club and work (volunteer) at the concession stands often. Mike Quinlan is the president of the West Branch Lions Club.
February 14, 2007
Nominator: Scot Fort
Hero: Donald Lewis
Super Hero, he says not, just a happy, dedicated, retired volunteer. My brother, Don is involved with Arrowhead Ranch in Coal Valley, Illinois, which is home for troubled youth, boys and girls ranging in age from 12-18 years. Their mission is “Assisting Youth Develop Better Lives” through treatment, education, family and aftercare programs and services.
This year, Don joined the ranches committee for their annual August Round Up Auction, created and chaired a Sponsorship Committee and raised over $7,000 in supplies, food and materials for their annual Round Up Auction, the largest fundraiser of the year. Through his leadership, he guided and worked with and alongside the youth at the local PGA Golf Classic during the week set up, during the classic and takedown of the equipment over a period of 15 days.
My brother goes to the ranch and spends time with the youth during their daily activities communicating and listening to them and their concerns. He helps with the landscaping clean up in the fall. As often as once a month he joins them for lunch and brings a small treat and shares a laugh or casual conversation with them, to them he is “Mr. Lewis.” His biggest challenge is trying to remember everyone’s name (first) of the 40-60 youth residing there, that in itself creates many laughs and smiles on their faces.
He is currently involved with the upcoming vehicle auction in January. Recently, he took over as chairperson for the annual Round Up in August and in October he received an award, “2006 Presidential Award for Outstanding Volunteerism.” Don is always looking for grants for the ranch, talking with friends, businesses and corporations for donations, contributions or in-kind gifts or financial support for the ranch and the troubled youth residing there.
He is an avid Iowa Hawkeye I-Club member and season ticket holder for football and men’s basketball games. He has not missed too many games since 1957 except when he was in the military. My brother, Don is my “Herky” and he is always there when someone needs him including the Hawks.
February 3, 2007
Nominator: Sandra Reed
Hero: Don Langlas
Don C. Langlas is my father. Where do I start? How about when he hitch hiked to Ames to register for college because his parents didn’t want to let him borrow the car feeling college wasn’t necessary. He attended ISU making his parents proud to have a son in college. After attending ISU for two years he returned to the family farm because my grandfather had a massive heart attack and could not work. He gave up his dreams for family. He continued to contribute to his community and work the farm until my grandfather died. He then built a house doing most of the work himself in town. His belief in education continued through 9 years on the school board and supporting two daughters who graduated from college (one from UNI and one from Iowa) and both continued their education through graduate school. My sister was a teacher for 33 years.
I would continue on and on about my dad. I just feel he has given so much. I would like him to receive for a change. By the way, he’s attended many, many, many Hawkeye events.
January 28, 2007
Nominator: Vic Campos Jr.
Hero: Cameron Quinn Campos
As a result of a divorce in December 1994, I, Vic Campos Jr., became a thirty-year-old single father to my then four-year-old son, Cameron Quinn Campos. I consider my now, seventeen-year-old son a heroic role model to me primarily due to his very being, that has gotten me through the twelve past years, of the sometimes turbulent times of my life. Blessed with his devoted support I somehow managed to survive two major occupation severances and a few domestic partnership failures, while getting reacquainted again with the “straight and narrow” pathway of life. Without his loving presence in life, I really don’t know where the nomadic road of life might have inadvertently taken me. Simply put, he is ultimately my best friend, brother and son!
January 13, 2007
Nominator: David Toma
Hero: Casey Shanahan
I nominate my step brother Mr. Casey Shanahan. He is a father of four kids who has had to work night jobs to support his family. He has all these years taken care of his and my mother (with never a complaint) by having her move in with his family (consider this as in-home hospice care) and God Bless him for doing all this because I can not help – he is my Hero!
December 30, 2006
Nominator: Doug Yanecek
Hero: Drew Yanecek
My son Drew Yanecek has somewhat been forced into the position of Hero Among Us. He was injured in a Metro Youth Football (MYFA) game in September, in which he tore his ACL. Drew is 10 years old and has enjoyed playing all the competitive sports he could play from soccer, football, baseball and his favorite basketball. Due to his age and extent of his injury, the surgery will have to wait until the growth plates in his leg quit growing, approximately age of 13 or 14. This means he will not be able to compete in his favorite activities until 8th or 9th grade.
Our family was worried that his would cause him to be very angry and upset, instead he has used this to help with all of his teammates through education of this type of injury and support and encouragement in the sports he loves so much. His dream like a lot of kids his age is to be a professional athlete in basketball, football, or baseball. Drew has taken his energy and applied it positively in his physical therapy and support of his sister who is playing the sport he loves, basketball. He has handled his injury better than most adults that is why I think my son is a hero among us.
December 23, 2006
Nominator: Kathy Johnson
Hero: Alex Johnson
I’d like to nominate my son Alex as a “Hero Among Us.” In the summer of 2005 (July), he pulled an adult from the bottom of a pool. This man was drowning and blue when he pulled him up. Other adults gave him mouth to mouth and saved his life. The drowning man was a father to a classmate of my sons. He was 11 years old when he did this. He didn’t realize at the time what he did but has since thought more about it. I’d like to nominate him because he has never been recognized for his saving of a life.
December 20, 2006
Nominator: Kraig Kuhlers
Hero: LeRoy & Virginia Kuhlers
These are my parents. Of course they are my heroes for all they have done for me over the years but I want to nominate them for what they do for others. My parents travel around Northern Iowa and once or twice a week will perform at nursing homes in towns such as Bancroft, Titonka, etc. They don’t get paid. My mom plays the accordion and my dad sings. They take requests from the residents. It is truly amazing the power of music as you watch people who may be non-responsive to other types of communication light up or get tears in their eyes when they hear a song from their youth.
It’s a great thing that they give, it’s their time. My dad’s not a singer but that doesn’t stop them. I’m very proud of both of them.
December 8, 2006
Nominator: Dave Boekholder
Hero: Miriam Eick
In the day and age of everyone for themselves, Miriam Eick is definitely old school, and reaches out to help others in need.
Miriam has a heart of gold and is the “go to person” in Dyersville whenever there is an emergency. She takes it upon herself to gather donations of clothing, toys, dishes, bedding, etc., really anything to supply a home in the event of an emergency or a time of crises like job loss, or an unexpected event like death that leaves a family in true hardship.
Miriam is tenacious when it comes to getting donations from business and individuals every year to ensure that those with nothing will have something to make their holidays brighter. Miriam organizes a drive every year that brings in tens of thousands of dollars in donations of clothes, toys, food, etc. to donate to the less fortunate. Most of the year it is tough to get into her garage or basement because of the work she does to secure donations to ensure that everyone will have someone to reach out to the in time of need.
She also makes sure that the students in the area are taught the gift of helping others and welcomes their help with the various drives they do to assist her. She will also have the student’s assist her in creating care packages to be distributed so they can see the fruits of their labor pay of and learn that importance of helping those less fortunate.
Without Miriam many in the Dyersville and the surrounding areas would not have benefited from the gift of helping others. I am proud to count Miriam Eick as my friend!
December 5, 2006
Nominator: Darren Rausch
Hero: Zina Gordon
I would like to nominate my mother-in-law, Zina Gordon, to the “Heroes Among Us” program. I feel Zina is worthy of this distinction due to her tireless effort and dedication to her community in spite of her multiple medical challenges. Please allow me a few moments to explain.
Zina has been a diabetic for over 27 years. As a result, she has battled vision problems for over a decade; she hasn’t driven in over eight years. Additionally, Zina was diagnosed with kidney failure in 1999 – another diabetes related complication. With the love and support of her family, Zina chose to fight the kidney failure and underwent peritoneal dialysis three times per week at Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids. After a year of dialysis, Zina underwent a successful kidney transplantation, the organ donated by her son. The surgery went well and she was released in time for the Gordon family Thanksgiving one week later! She continues he various anti-rejection medications daily, and monthly blood test to monitor her medication levels; her annual check-ups have been positive. Through her medical ordeals, Zina has faced them all with a smile and rugged perseverance.
Many people in Zina’s situation may choose to sit back and do nothing – but that’s not her style. Zina is active in multiple groups and events within her hometown of Belle Plaine, including secretary )with her husband) of the Belle Plain Historical Society and also routinely volunteers to work at the recently dedicated Belle Plaine Historical Museum. She has been an active member in planning for the annual Jumbo Well Days and the Civil War Days, and also volunteers at the Belle Plaine Nursing and Rehabilitation Center through RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program). Tirelessly thinking of others within her community, Zina donates her personal collection of large-print books to the Belle Plaine Library for the reading enjoyment of others.
In addition to her volunteer role within the community, Zina makes time for the needs of family and friends. She is always available to help out in any way she can. Since 2001 she has enjoyed the addition of two grandsons to her family, and is preparing to welcome another grandchild in January 2007.
When faced with multiple medical issues and challenges, Zina Gordon has faced every one. Despite her challenges – inability to drive, compromised immune system, and diabetes – Zina is more active than the rest of us. I continually marvel at her dedication and commitment to family, friends and community. Zina Gordon is a true hero among us.
December 2, 2006
Nominator: Emily Cornish
Hero: Jake “Jerry” Syfert
My father, Jake Syfert is a hero among us. Born and raised in Keosauqua, IA he is an outstanding citizen in his community and represents the true meaning of being a community volunteer. He was a member of the volunteer fire department for 25 year. Now he serves the Lions Club, Rotary, and City Council in a volunteer capacity. Whether RAGBRAI is coming through town or a neighbor needs help re-roofing their house my father always pitches in to help. He often leaves the house by 6 a.m. on the weekends in order to get all of his tasks completed – and he’s not retired! I admire his work ethic and devotion to his home town. If all citizens would contribute to their community in this way the world would be a much better place.
December 1, 2006
Nominator: Tracy Tvedte
Hero: Benjamin Tvedte
I am very proud of the man I call my son…Benjamin Tvedte is my son. He grew up in Iowa City and graduated from West High School in 2000. At West he participated in football, basketball, and soccer. Math was his favorite class in school. Ben was a very sociable person and made friends easily. He has always been a Hawkeye fan!
After graduation Ben joined the Army. He traveled to Fort Knox, Kentucky for basic training. The letters he sent home during the training told of his inner struggle with being lonely, his thoughts of home, and the rigors of the physical training. He always seemed upbeat and looked forward to finishing and moving on.
After basic training he was assigned to the 4th Infantry Division out of Fort Sill, Oklahoma. He excelled with his training at Fort Sill and was soon promoted to Sergeant. Shortly afterward, his company was deployed to Iraq, where they were stationed at a town called Balad. The Army called it Camp Anaconda. Security was very tight and my only contact was through e-mails every few days.
Ben was given the job of running a 50-caliber machine gun, mounted on a Hummer. He was part of a group that patrolled a section near Baghdad. For his bravery in action Ben was twice awarded the Army Commendation Medal (with Valor). At the time, I learned the true nature of my son – a man of courage, a man of honor.
Ben lives in Iowa City now. He attends the University of Iowa. He goes to school full-time and works part-time at a local eye clinic. He came home like many others – a changed man. He has dealt with post-war stress, and trying to fit back into society. He does not talk much about what happened in Iraq, just that it changed him.
Ben is not alone. Hundreds of other Iowa families sent their sons and daughters off to war. I do not know these soldiers, but feel for them, and the families they left behind. My son is not unique; many have put their lives on the line. Some never came home. Ben would be a little upset with me for nominating him – he does not seek attention for what he did. I would be upset with myself for not offering his story. Ben is, and always will be, my Hawkeye Hero!
I am very proud of the man I call my son. Tracy D. Tvedte