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State to Honor Volunteer Hall of Fame Inductees

News Release

For more information, contact:


Jody Benz, Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service




State to Honor Volunteer Hall of Fame Inductees

Awards to be presented following Volunteer Awareness Day on February 22


DES MOINES (February 15, 2011) — The Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service today announced the 2011 inductees for the Iowa Volunteer Hall of Fame.  Awards will be presented during a special recognition ceremony to be held in conjunction with the sixth annual Volunteer Awareness Day on February 22, 2011 in Des Moines.


More than 25 exhibitors are registered for Volunteer Awareness Day, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the state capitol rotunda to give legislators and the public an opportunity to learn more about the critical services local volunteers provide.  The Volunteer Hall of Fame ceremony will begin at 1:30 p.m. in the west wing of the rotunda.  Both events are open to the public.


“Our state has long been known as a national leader in volunteerism and service,” stated Bob MacKenzie, Chair of the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service.  “The people selected for the Iowa Volunteer Hall of Fame have forever changed their community, the state, the nation, or the world by going well above and beyond what’s expected in their quest to help others.  The commission and I appreciate their hard work and dedication and we are pleased to have this opportunity to recognize their efforts.”


The 2011 Iowa Volunteer Hall of Fame inductees include:


Individual Category (one person providing outstanding volunteer service to benefit others):

·         Rich Eychaner of Des Moines, who has been a leader for more than 30 years in the effort to assure non-discrimination and equal rights for all LGBT (Lesbian/Gay/Bi-Sexual/Transgender) Iowans.  Through his efforts, an anti-bullying law was enacted and protection for gays and lesbians was added to the Iowa Civil Rights Code.  In 2000, he established the Matthew Shepard Scholarship for openly LGBT high school seniors, which has benefited more than 100 Iowa college students.

·         Thieleane S. Raecker of Waterloo launched an innovative not for profit, Womenade, to help those with emergency needs.  The money this group of volunteers raises is funneled through a unique community networking system to directly benefit those whose immediate needs are unmet at a critical time and assistance is not available elsewhere.  In the past eight years, more than $110,000 has been distributed, a few dollars at a time, to over 750 individuals — each time making a significant difference in an individual’s or family’s life.

·         Swallow Xiaozhe Yan was selected for his international efforts to merge Asian culture with America’s entrepreneurial and educational culture.  As director of the Iowa Chinese Association, he volunteers countless hours to connect the two cultures and touches hundreds of lives in the process.  He breaks through both language and custom barriers to assist immigrants with solutions through education, employment and diplomacy.

National Service Category (a new category added for 2011 to recognize individuals providing superior service during their term as a member of a formal national service program [AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Learn & Serve] to increase the quality of life in one or more Iowa communities):

Erin Joye Sullivan of Iowa City began creating safe before and after-school activities and mentoring programs as a college freshman.  When she became an AmeriCorps member, she worked to expand opportunities for youth in Johnson Co. and to develop activities to cover gaps in service for low-income and at-risk youth in North Liberty.  Erin’s program at “Peaceful Place” has expanded to reach hundreds of youth.  Several programs she created continue to provide needed services to area kids.

Organization/Nonprofit Category (not-for-profit organization providing voluntary service to others):

Lions Clubs of Iowa for its dedication to enhancing the early detection and treatment of vision problems in young children through screening and public education.  If Iowa Lions were not addressing the need and providing a solution for the problem, it is estimated that 4 percent of Iowa children could have permanent vision loss.  More than 180,000 children have been screened, and over 7,000 have required referral to an eye care professional.  There are 16 statewide Lions Club vision-screening programs across the country; the Iowa program is regarded as a model.


Volunteer Awareness Day and the Iowa Volunteer Hall of Fame are coordinated by the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service.  For more information, visit, e-mail or call 515.725.3094.




Volunteer Awareness Day Exhibitor List

o         AmeriCorps Youth Launch, Ringgold, Decatur, Wayne, Lucas, Union and Clarke counties

o         Best Buddies Iowa, several chapters across Iowa

o         Big Brothers Big Sisters/AmeriCorps, Davenport

o         Buena Vista University, Storm Lake

o         Central Iowa Shelter & Services, Des Moines

o         Each One Reach One AmeriCorps, Cedar Rapids

o         Everybody Wins! Iowa, Des Moines

o         Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity, Des Moines

o         Green Iowa AmeriCorps, Cedar Falls

o         Hospice of Central Iowa, West Des Moines

o         IA Foster Grandparent and Senior Companion Programs, statewide

o         Iowa Association of RSVP Directors (IARSVPD), statewide

o         ICVS/National Service Programs, statewide

o         Iowa Association for the Education of Young Children, statewide

o         Iowa Campus Compact, statewide

o         Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence, statewide

o         Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service, statewide

o         Iowa Department of Natural Resources, statewide

o         Iowa Legal Aid, statewide

o         Iowa Mentoring Partnership, statewide

o         Iowa National Guard Youth and Teen Program, statewide

o         LifeServe Blood Center, Des Moines

o         Polk County Crisis and Advocacy Services, Des Moines

o         Prevent Child Abuse Iowa, statewide

o         Serve Our Youth Network, serving Central Iowa

o         Service-Learning, statewide

o         SHARE Iowa, statewide

o         Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP), statewide

o         Volunteer Centers of Iowa/Fairfield Volunteer Center, Inc., statewide / Fairfield

o         Youth Emergency Services & Shelter (YESS), Des Moines



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