Story by Ashley Beall
Character Counts in Iowa is a non-profit organization that works to promote civility and recognizes good character throughout Iowa.
They host many different events, but their Iowa Character Awards strives to recognize different Iowans who have consistently demonstrated good character throughout the past year.
Past winners include President David Maxwell, West High School volleyball team and 4 Corners 4-H Club. Winners can be anything from sports teams, individuals, businesses or even schools.
“They have the characteristics that fellow community members or people in their organization believe show that they demonstrate the pillars of characters and the people who receive them are the people who go above and beyond and who really live the six pillars of success in their day-to-day life,” said Program Director Georgia Sheriff.
The six pillars of success are: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.
To be nominated for these awards, one must somehow exemplify all these characteristics.
Other eligibility requirements consist of being an Iowa resident, cannot have been an award recipient in the last five years, and cannot be me members of Character Counts in Iowa staff, contract trainers or board of directors’ families.
There are different age categories per award.
“We have a president who is a recipient of the Robert Ray Legacy Award because of the character and the leadership he has demonstrated,” Sheriff said. “He really sets our cores across the campus and we have other initiatives across the campus. One is the Bulldog Way and people in Drake athletics know better about that and there’s definitely a focus at Drake on character, on ethics and excellence across campus.”
Students at Drake are able to be nominated for awards as long as they are Iowa residents.
To nominate someone for one of these awards they must fill out an online nomination by May 13 on the Character Counts in Iowa website.
The nominations will then be reviewed by a selection committee in June.
Even if the nominees are not chosen as the winners, they will still receive a congratulatory letter and certificate of nomination.
The event itself is on Aug. 1 in West Des Moines and award recipients will be given complimentary tickets to the banquet.
The winners of the awards will also be featured in a video biography in which the community will be able to see what these recipients have achieved within the Iowa community.
“I walked away from the one that I had attended as I was being hired here, and I hadn’t started yet and my husband and I went as guests, and I walked out of there saying I absolutely know this is the place for me to be,” Sheriff said. “A place that recognizes people who are doing the right thing and an organization that is committed to helping Iowa Citizens, little kids, senior citizens, adults in the workplace establish those characteristics of a good and ethical kind and caring person.”