WQAD News 8 Celebrates Our 2019 Jefferson Award Nominees With 30-Minute Special

One person can make a difference and “multiply good” in their community… and we are proving it.

On Friday, June 28th, WQAD News 8 hosted its 2019 Jefferson Awards Special – sponsored by Genesis Health System and Budget Blinds. The half-hour special featured our 8 Jefferson Awards Nominees from the 2019 Season, including our Jefferson Awards Finalist who was in Washington, D.C. last week for the National Jefferson Awards Ceremony.

For the fifth year in a row, WQAD News 8 is proud to be one of the Media Partners of the Jefferson Awards Foundation. The Jefferson Awards are the country’s longest standing and most prestigious celebration of public service. The foundation was created by Jackie Kennedy in 1972 and celebrated its 45th year in 2017.

Our 1st Nominee is Liam Willcox, who started The Flag Restoration Project to replace American flags around the community for free. Our 2nd Nominee is Deb Bowen, who is giving back to the community in two ways through Love Like Lorraine, an outreach organization created in memory of her mother.

Our 3rd Nominee is Scott Searle, the "Yo-Yo Man," who founded Food For Thought to give back to homeless people around our area as a way to heal from his alcohol addiction. Our 4th Nominee is Kelly Cook, who was inspired by her daughter to revamp an old school bus and create Maddie's Closet for children in need of clothes and hygiene products.

Our 5th Nominee is Jorge Rodriguez, who renovated an old high school in Clinton, Iowa into the Gateway Away Community Center - a safe space for children to go and escape crime. Our 6th Nominee is Katie Leamy, who uses her skills as a Speech Pathologist to start Iowa's first chapter of AMBUCS called Mississippi Bend Trykes, which builds affordable and adaptive trykes for kids with special needs. Our 7th Nominee is Julie McCutchan, who is celebrating a lifetime of volunteerism at a non-profit resale store called The Closet in Princeton, Iowa - which is marking its 50th year in 2019. The Closet is also on track to hit $3 million in charitable giving.

Finally, our 8th Nominee and 2019 Jefferson Awards Finalist is Dr. Kit Ford with Argrow's House. Last week, we followed Dr. Kit to Washington, D.C. for the National Jefferson Awards Ceremony. There, she shared her story and mission with more than 80 other Jefferson Awards Finalists from around the country and was later surprised with the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award for Outstanding Public Service Benefiting Local Communities:

We're now getting ready for our 2020 Season of the Jefferson Awards, sponsored again by Genesis Health System and Budget Blinds. If you know an "Unsung Hero," you can fill out a nomination form here.

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