Difference Makers! That is the theme that ran through all four “of the Year” Awards presented at the GCED Annual Awards Dinner on Jan. 30.
Ambassador of the Year Julie Downing is a longtime employee of Big Green Umbrella Media and is the face of Grimes Living magazine. You’ll see her at most Chamber events taking pictures of lots of folks. The GCED Ambassador Group was created in 2011, and the award is earned by being involved and attending many events throughout the course of the year. It’s hard to imagine a GCED event without Julie present.
Julie is a great friend and supporter of GCED. She is a member of and the secretary of the GCED Board. She is also the chair of the Experience Grimes: A Tasteful Business Expo Task Force.
Educator of the Year Ben Chadwick is a teacher at Meadows and DC-G High School and makes a difference with his students and fellow teachers. He has helped not only the kids, but also the teachers in learning more about STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).
He connects with Des Moines Area Community College to provide our students with opportunities for college credit in STEMfields. He mentors individual learning projects for students, recently facilitating the app building team that built an app for IASB and are working on the app for Des Moines Rotary. He encourages the female population to enter STEM fields through mentorship and taking them to the DIGI Girlz Convention.
Citizen of the Year Jerry Nicklos is a key volunteer for Grimes Volunteer Support Service and at times has been a mainstay for the Grimes Food Pantry. Jerry joined the GVSS board in June of 2010 and was one of the first to be certified to drive GVSS clients. She has served as secretary and vice president of the board.
She spends time each week in the office scheduling appointments, answering phones, keeping records, compiling reports, checking out durable medical equipment and providing more than her share of driving for clients.
Jerry has been equally a difference maker for the Grimes Community Good Pantry. She will do anything to “get it done.” She makes a difference in many ways without thought to status or recognition.
Business of the Year Golden Openings Inc. President Kimberly Baeth makes a difference for business openings in Grimes and around the country. In the past year they opened a warehouse and distribution center in Grimes. They’ve accomplished an impressive list of their own in the past 18 years, these are just a few.
• 7,000 chambers own their scissors.
• Organizes five local events each week.
• Donates more than $10,000 annually to charities.
• Set world record for the longest ribbon cutting in Florida.
Golden Openings makes a difference in a lot of places.