I am so proud to be the recipient of this prestigious induction into the Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame. What an honor! But this award should not be just about me—I’d also like to publicly thank and recognize my husband, Kenneth, who’s been, as an old song goes, “the wind beneath my wings”. I also want to thank my mom, Olga Helle, for making the trip here from Delaware County to celebrate with me. My dad had a pace maker put in last week, so he isn’t able to be here today. Our daughter, Jill and her husband, Jon and their daughter, the sunshine of my life—Chloe! To all my sisters—Linda, Karla and Mary (along with her husband, Al, and her son Ted and his good friend, Julia), and my brother, Lyle, and his wife, Marsha. Thank you all for being here! I also want to recognize my biking friends, that’s bicycling friends, that are there to help me physically and mentally. We have biked about 1000 miles together this year, so there’s the healthy aspect, and then mentally it’s the laughter that we share week after week. If it’s true that laughter is medicine, then I should be healthy for a very long time!
Last, but not least, I want to recognize my peer group of women that mentor me and are some of the smartest, hardest working, bankers in Iowa. Governor Branstad and Lt. Governor Reynolds, if I were you, I would be taking their names and phone numbers because you can use each one of them on the many boards you have as you search for women who know money and understand how important banks are to each of the communities they represent. They are awesome friends, too.
Well, it is no coincidence that we would come here to celebrate this event at the same time as the anniversary that women won the right to vote in the United States—August 26, 1920, just 91 years ago. As we think about the women that blazed the trail to earn the right to vote, well, it makes my accomplishments certainly pale to that. But we have to admire the diligence and the spunk that it must have taken to spur such a historic change. Certainly those women make me pause to recall that each of us is responsible for the future and finding many more places in history for women.
But, IT IS a coincidence that we would celebrate this event today which marks 500 days ago that our son died suddenly and accidently in a snow boarding accident in Colorado. I bring this up not to dampen our festive mood, but to remind myself and, in fact, all of you, that life is really, really short and we have to make the most of each and every day and live it like there’s no tomorrow, for there may not be a tomorrow. What’s on YOUR bucket list? Are there any trails you want to blaze beginning today?
I’m humbled by receiving this induction and I thank each and everyone of you for attending.