Amy Smit

Iowa Great Lakes Region Receives 2021 Iowa Character Award

DES MOINES, IA (August 23, 2021) – The Robert D. and Billie Ray Center at Drake University will recognize 12 Iowa individuals and groups with awards for exceptional character.

The 2021 Iowa Character Awards primetime special will air statewide on Fox affiliate stations during the following dates and times:

  • Fox 17 (Des Moines) on Monday, August 30 from 8-9 p.m.
  • Fox 28 (Cedar Rapids) on Monday, August 30 from 6-7 p.m.
  • Fox 44 (Sioux City) on Sunday, September 5 from 5-6 p.m.

The Iowa Great Lakes Region will receive the Community of Character Award. Organizations within the Iowa Great Lakes Region that are recognized for good character and a commitment to improve their communities include: Arnolds Park Amusement Park, Bedell Family YMCA/Camp Foster, Dickinson County Trails, Imagine Iowa Great Lakes, Iowa Lakeside Laboratory/Friends of Lakeside Lab, Okoboji Blue Water Festival, Okoboji Foundation/Youth in Philanthropy, Pearson Lakes Art Center, and the University of Okoboji.

“When we come together to solve problems or to create opportunity, we do it best when we work together. In the Iowa Great Lakes, we support and celebrate each other’s success because we are better together,” says Jill Harms, president of Historic Arnolds Park and owner of Blink Marketing.

On Saturday, August 21st, Arnolds Park Amusement Park held their annual fundraiser, Party in the Park. With nearly 350 in attendance, the Community of Character Award was presented by video from Scott Raecker with on-site proxy Sue Richter. Accepting the award on behalf of the Iowa Great Lakes Region was Jill Harms.

The Ray Center annually recognizes Iowans who show the Six Pillars of CHARACTER COUNTS!: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and good citizenship. Since 2005, the organization has recognized more than 150 Iowans for showing good character.

The 2021 Iowa Character Awards are presented by Hy-Vee, KDSM-TV, Murphy Enterprizes and Alliant Energy. For a complete list of Iowa Character Award recipients, visit

The Robert D. and Billie Ray Center provides character and leadership development strategies to improve civility and develop ethical leaders throughout the world. As the global home to CHARACTER COUNTS!, The Ray Center utilizes public awareness and programming grounded in research to advance two programs, CHARACTER COUNTS! and Excellence with Integrity.


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From the left:
front row – Jeff Vierkant, Juli Johnson, Sue Richter, Jill Harms, Mary Skopec, Mindy Gress
back row – John Franken, Emil Richter, Maddie Gulick, Greg Drees, Tom Rierson, Josh Carr