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2013 Volunteer Award Winners Announced

Each year, we take some time to recognize volunteers, fundraising events and donors doing outstanding work for Make-A-Wish® Iowa. These are the 2013 winners!

Iowa Chapter Volunteer of the Year:  Gary Kretlow (Des Moines)

For the outstanding volunteer who does the most to advance the mission of the Foundation through a combination of wish granting, fundraising and public relations activities. 

Area Committee Volunteers of the Year

For the outstanding local volunteer who does the most to advance the mission of the Foundation within their geographic area.

            Burlington:  Burlington Committee

            Clinton:  Clinton Committee

            Council Bluffs:  Heather Rose       

            Cedar Rapids:  John Westfall

            Cedar Valley:  Dwight Coburn

            Des Moines:  Amanda Golly

            Dubuque:  Donna Kuhlman

            Iowa City: Bri Swope

            Mason City:  Dennis Burke

            Riverbend:  Deanna Woodall

            Sioux City:  Curt Stoever

Cornerstone Award:  Jean Sublet (Council Bluffs)

For consistently supporting the chapter's activities and daily operations by always being available when needed.  This individual often works quietly and steadily behind-the-scenes to ensure the chapter's success.

Leadership Award:  Dalena Barz (Mason City)

For demonstrating outstanding leadership skills on behalf of their committee

Tommy Austin Award:  Dawn Rahe (Riverbend)
For the volunteer who best exemplifies Tommy Austin's zeal, enthusiasm and dedication to our wish children.

Rising Star Award:  Jen and Clyde Welsh (Council Bluffs)
For a volunteer new to Make-A-Wish who has made a significant contribution through ideas, initiative and follow-through.

Abracadabra Award
For creating a magical, unique experience for a wish family or for going the extra distance to make what seems impossible become possible.

          Sue Patton, John Westfall and Angie Corcoran (Cedar Rapids) for Owen’s wish

Owen's story still to come.

Businessolver (Des Moines) for Clark’s wish

Businessolver worked year-round to raise money in order to sponsor a wish through our Adopt-A-Wish® program. They were matched up with Clark. When Clark was in the hospital, he would imagine a far-away place he called “Blah-blah Land”, a magical place with chocolate rivers and strawberry mountains. For Clark’s Adopt-A-Wish party, Businessolver created a real version of Blah-blah Land, including ice cream with loads of toppings, strawberry mountains, a chocolate fountain and more. Clark and his brother Gabe had all they could handle! Businessolver also provided Clark and Gabe with new shoes and backpacks full of goodies for the trip, including a pair of Nintendo 3DS. Businessolver went all out for Clark’s wish party and Clark left his party so excited his upcoming trip to Walt Disney World® Resort.

Backyard Adventures for play set wishes

Backyard Adventures has granted numerous play set wishes over the past few years throughout the state of Iowa.  Special care is taken with each individual child to ensure their very favorite features are included on their play set.  This year Backyard Adventures went above and beyond for both Autumn’s and Grace’s play set wishes, customizing items for the sets that were outside of their catalog options.  They created steps, attached specialized swings, and added bench swings to make the play systems more accessible for Autumn and Grace to use.  Thank you Backyard Adventures for helping to make their magical wishes a reality!

Brant’s Great Pumpkin Run (Earlham) for Taelor’s wish
Brant’s Great Pumpkin Race is an annual event in memory of wish child Brant Hamilton.  Brant’s favorite holiday was Halloween, so every year Brant’s friends and family host a one mile run, a 5K, and a 10K, as well as a meal and silent auction in their home town of Earlham.   The group raises enough money at the event each year to sponsor a wish through the Adopt-A-Wish® program. This year they adopted Taelor’s wish to go to Hawaii.  Before she and her family left for Oahu, Brant’s friends and family hosted a luau for her at her favorite restaurant, complete with leis and a cake!

Blue Bunny Ice Cream for Autumn’s wish and Michelle’s wish
This year Blue Bunny Ice Cream became a new partner with Make-A-Wish America granting 100 wishes in celebration of their 100th Anniversary!  Two wishes were granted in Iowa thanks to this new partnership, Autumn’s wish for a play set and Michelle’s wish for a shopping spree.  The involvement of Blue Bunny employees in these wishes made the experience special and unique for the wish children and their families.  Autumn’s wish for a play set involved a surprise unveiling celebration with family, friends, and Blue Bunny employees, complete with face painting, bounce houses, water balloon fights, and, of course Blue Bunny ice cream.  Michelle’s wish celebration took place at Hickory Park Restaurant where Blue Bunny hosted a celebration meal with the family prior to sending Michelle off in a limo for her shopping experience.  The enthusiasm Blue Bunny employees brought to these parties was contagious. The happy wish day signs, balloons, and cheers delight our wish children. 

Big Dipper Award

For securing the highest dollar value of corporate sponsorship for Make-A-Wish.

            Deana Woodall

Corporate Partner of the Year
For an outstanding corporate partner to Make-A-Wish Iowa

           Blue Bunny Ice Cream

Circle of Inspiration
For inspirational wish children for the year

Seventeen-year-old Hailey went to Hawaii for her wish and had the time of her life with her family! The week after she returned from her wish, she learned that she was put on the top of the heart transplant list at the University of Iowa. Hailey shares her wish story with everyone she meets.

Madisyn story still to come

Dashiell loved to sing the Muppets “Mahna Mahna” song.  His family started a Facebook page entitled Dashiell’s Mahna Mahna where friends, family, and visitors could post photos or videos of them singing “Mahna Mahna” or anything that would bring a laugh or brighten a mood.

Dashiell’s wish was to spend time at the beach with his family, so he and his family headed off for a beach house in sunny California for his wish.  The experience included a trip to Knott’s Berry Farm and Disneyland® Resort as a family and of course his wish granters included the “Mahna Mahna” song in his wish celebration.   Dashiell and his family chose to embrace and focus on the wonderful moments in life and to encourage others to do the same.


In 2012, Macaulay wished to meet his favorite athlete, but while on the waiting list, he began to reconsider his wish and decided to change his wish and take his five-year-old sister, Andrea, to Walt Disney World®


Jackie's story still to come.

 Children Helping Children Awards
To the child volunteer/children-sponsored fundraising events of the year.

 Jordan Carson
Jordan's brother Cole received a wish last year that inspired Jordan and her friends to give back over the summer. They made bookmarks to sell and sent the funds they raised to Make-A-Wish to help grant other children's wishes.

 Maddie Case
Maddie learned at a young age to appreciate life and “pay it forward” by helping others because her mom was a cancer survivor and wish child. Maddie was asked to join the Live Uncommon race team and chose Make-A-Wish as the charity to run for. Maddie met her initial goal of raising $1,000 for Make-A-Wish Iowa, and has decided to continue on to raise enough money to fund a wish.

Hayden Despenas
Hayden's story still to come.

Aiden Kutsch
Aiden and his family went above and beyond for Make-A-Wish this year at the Dubuque Walk for Wishes event when his team “Aiden’s Animals” raised the most money and had the most supporters at the event.  When looking out at the crowd, it was a sea of Aiden Animal’s.  They truly are an inspiration to everyone

Jackson Tagtmeier
Inspired by a wish story on ESPN, Jackson asked for no presents for his birthday party this year, instead all he wanted for his birthday was to make a donation to Make-A-Wish Iowa. Jackson’s family and friends came through and made donations to Make-A-Wish Iowa in honor of Jackson’s birthday.

Internal Fundraising Event of the Year:  Riverbend Walk for Wishes Event

New External Fundraising Event of the Year: 
Guns and Hoses (Des Moines) $31,350.03

External Fundraising Events of the Year

1st Place:       Battle of the Badges (Mason City) $41,799.55

2nd Place:      Cedar Rapids Sunrise Rotary Golf Tournament $26,015.00

3rd Place:      Griffin Golf (Council Bluffs)   $11,231.98

Walk for Wishes® Event of the Year:  2013 Dubuque Walk for Wishes Event

Gala of the Year: 
  2013 Riverbend Gala


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Make-A-Wish® Iowa
3009 100th Street
Urbandale, IA 50322-3220
(515) 334-2636
Toll Free Iowa Only (800) 797-9474