Thankful Voices

I have so much to give thanks for, I hardly know where to start. Also, you’ve heard me ramble on enough times this year already! Therefore, today it is my pleasure to give this space to the the voices of fellow Winterset citizens who are thankful, as I am, for this great community we share.

Carol LiechtyC.R.I.S.P.:

“There are so many reasons to be thankful for living in Winterset!  I think of the beautiful, historical buildings, the natural places, the inspiring stories, the legacies left by those who came before us, and the creative, friendly, generous people, young and old, who live here today, working together to preserve this wonderful way of life. We are a community full of artists, we have a wonderful library, and we have the most beautiful county historical complex in the state. We have talented young people, dedicated educators, and generous service organizations, businesses, and congregations who reach out to help those in need. On any given day you will find innovative thinkers who are meeting in our churches, cafes, schools, and offices, collaborating to find solutions to problems or dreaming up new improvements to celebrate.”  

Linda Duff, Linda the Bag Lady:

“I’m grateful for all of the support from the community for the Lions and Optimists flag program, and for the dedication of those club members who work so hard installing the flags on their designated routes. The results are always breathtaking!”

Tom Leners, Executive Director, Madison County Development Group:

“I am thankful for the willingness to accept new-comers here. Being a transplant from elsewhere in Iowa my wife and I were pleased to have found so many friends here in Winterset. Winterset has truly become home. I am also thankful that the entrepreneurial  spirit lives here in Madison County. I see folks with a dream turning that dream into a plan then into a business. Risking security to live their dream – I admire the risk takers.” 

Maggie Ripperger, Chairman of BOD, Winterset Art Center:

“When out-of-town visitors come to the art center, they are usually amazed that such a small town has a stand-alone, volunteer run art center that offers a creative outlet for the community and surrounding area. I know I speak for a lot of local artists of all kinds when I say I’m thankful for all of the hands, hearts, and minds that work together to keep our doors open. I’m also thankful for the parents who faithfully bring their little ones to art classes. Our future is in the hands of our youth and Winterset is wonderful place to raise a child.” 

Dr. Susie Meade, Superintendent of Winterset School District:

“We have so much to be thankful for in Winterset. I’m thankful for our community’s support of our school system, our school employees who work tirelessly to ensure all our kids are learning at high levels and our support staff who make sure everything is in place so we can focus on the learning. Lastly, I’m thankful for our families and students for making education a priority.”  

John Pletchette, Director Winterset Parks and Recreation:

“I am very thankful for all the great area park and recreation places and programs and the wonderful supportive community we live in!”  

Pat Nelson, Community Volunteer & Entrepreneur:

“I am thankful for the size of Winterset — small enough to know (almost) everyone.  Newcomers are folded into the work and play of everyday life (sooner or later) and become some of our biggest boosters! I see growth coming — and that can be good — but I hope we don’t lose our ‘hometown’ character.”

Cynde Keating, Youth and Families Educator for ISU Extension, Madison County:

“From Simon Mainwaring: ‘The simple act of saying ‘thank you’ is a demonstration of gratitude in response to an experience that was meaningful to a customer or citizen.’ So thank you Madison County for your volunteering and sponsoring support with 4-H and Extension and Outreach.”

Jim Olson, Mayor of Winterset:

[Regarding the Adopt-A-Family program that has been flourishing in Winterset since 1992] “You have proven that we live in a very caring community. Those that have given in the past have received no publicity, no prize- just a warm feeling. What better way to celebrate a holiday, to be thankful for all we have been given, than to share a bit of it. ADOPT-A-FAMILY can’t eliminate poverty. It can only make a difference for a single day, but isn’t it a good beginning!”

Brenda Hollingsworth, Zion Farms and Historic Preservation Volunteer: 

“The thing that has risen to the top of my ‘thankful’ list this season is freedom. This reflection on freedom and its cost…freedom and how it effects my daily living was probably a result of the locally sponsored Civil War graves tour I attended earlier this year in Winterset (thank you Civil War 150 Group) and my recent visit to the Memorial at Pearl Harbor. I am thankful for the local men and women (soldiers) who have served and are currently serving in order to maintain our freedom.” 


Nancy Trask, Winterset Library Director:

“Speaking as a librarian, I am grateful to be a part of the public library’s services to our community. Winterset has loyal readers who are true library believers. And our community provides the library with support that makes for a great public resource. The library employees keep smiling, and they truly appreciate our readers. The Board of Trustees, Friends of the Library, City Council, and City Hall all work together to make it happen! Speaking as one who grew up here and chooses to live here, I am grateful for the natural resources and the natural beauty of our town and our state. And the history … the stone structures and covered bridges around our town and our parks are marvels that remind me of those many hard-working souls who went before us.”

Chris Nolte, Public Relations and Development, Madison County Health Care System:

I’m thankful for outstanding providers and staff and a top-quality health care system located here so residents don’t have to travel. I am thankful for service clubs, care centers, and churches that meet so many needs of our residents. I am thankful that our central business district is strong and serves as a magnet for retail. I am thankful that we have strong chamber and development organizations working for the future of not only Winterset but all of Madison County. I am thankful for an educational system that provides not only good academic basics, but also extracurricular opportunities for the students. I am thankful for the special things other communities wish for: An Arts Center, The Winterset Stage and the John Wayne Birthplace. I am thankful for the opportunity to be involved. I am thankful for the good people of Winterset and Madison County who pledge not only their finances but their time and effort as well to see our community of Madison County prosper. Finally, I am thankful for my family, friends, and my faith. 

Megan Barrett, Music Teacher, Winterset Elementary:

“I’m grateful for the feeling of belonging I get when I walk down the street or through the grocery store aisles and see someone I know.  I love the friendly conversations that happen in those moments and the genuine care for and interest in one another. And nothing beats having an enthusiastic youngster run up and give me a hug while I’m buying a gallon of milk!

Rebecca Bock, Teacher Librarian, Winterset Schools:

“I’m thankful for our Public Library and that they’ve been so willing to stay open under their less-than-ideal working conditions as they go through the repair/construction process. They are always so helpful to find what people need and to support the learning of all our community members, from the youngest to the oldest.”

 Wayne Davis, TYPExpress:

“Winterset is home to many caring and dedicated people who work hard and often volunteer their time for the betterment of our community. It seems like there’s always something going on, from major projects like the John Wayne Birthplace Museum and the new Hy-Vee store to renovation of the second floor above the new Heartland Fiber store. Naturally, there are problems just as there are anywhere, but folks here seem especially willing to join together and work on solving them. Winterset is simply a delightful place to live.”

Teddi Yaeger, Pine Creek, Ltd.:

“I am so thankful that the people of Winterset have been so welcoming to me and my family, and have quickly made us feel a part of this community. Having moved across the country from a city of millions, it is exactly what we had hoped for.”


Jared McDonald, Manager, Madison County Historical Complex:

“I am thankful to live in a small town where I can walk down the street and spend 30 minutes ‘catching up’ with a person who I may or may not even know. You never know who you are going to bump into when uptown or at Fareway. I love ‘running’ into Fareway for milk and bread and taking 45 minutes to complete my trip. There are just so many wonderful people in Winterset. It is also a great place to raise a family. I love being able to walk around town with the kids and never have to worry about ending up on the ‘wrong side of town.’ Lastly, I am grateful that both my wife and I are able to work in town at two of the many great business. What can I say, I love our small town Winterset.” 

Lynette Judd, C.R.I.S.P.

“Winterset is a beautiful collage of many different people. Each of them add color to the fabric of this beautiful town. Winterset has long been known as a friendly place, warmly accepting those who are different or needing help. It’s history is rich, yet there is a flair of the modern here as well. The shops are also varied, and interesting, and there is always some fun or exciting activity going on in this town. Winterset itself is for what I am thankful.”

Gary Anker, Principal, Winterset Elementary:

“I am thankful that our community provides such strong, positive support for our school system!”

 Heather Riley, Executive Director, Madison County Chamber of Commerce:

“I am thankful to live in Winterset, because we’re surrounded by ties to history, a beautiful natural landscape, and can enjoy a wholesome way of life.  In Winterset we dream big and work together to make big things happen.  Because of these things, I’m incredibly grateful to call Winterset ‘home.'”

Cindy Stanbro, Producing Artistic Director, The Winterset Stage:

“I am thankful for the community’s open arms in which they embrace new people, the pioneering spirit that seems to live within the beautiful rolling hills that make up our countryside, the love of the arts that seems to be born in the community, and the community’s genuine concern for others.”

Alan Feirer, Group Dynamic:

I’m thankful for the ‘helpers.’ When you need anything— advice, a ride, repair work, favors — someone is there. I’m thankful for that, and for the fact that everything you truly need is right here.

If you are alone today, remember that the First United Methodist Church at 309 E. Jefferson is providing a free Thanksgiving meal beginning at 12:30, with home deliveries at 11:30. Rides are also available.
Contact them at 462-2912 or 462-4731.

Ann Bartelt, Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning, Winterset Schools:

“I am thankful for my Winterset family! While I am not a native, Winterset is home. We have so many caring people who truly look out for each other, who offer their hand and give their heart, who share their talents and skills, all for the betterment of our community. This is why I cherish this town. Having a place to go is home. Having someone to love is family. Having both is a blessing.” 

Dr. Amy Kimball, Pediatrician, Madison County Health Care System:

“I am thankful that we live in a genuine community, where people truly know who their neighbors are and care for each other. I am grateful that Winterset has retained its small town comradery, and still provides conveniences of a larger community. We are blessed to be able to say “hello” on the square and truly know whom we are greeting. We chose to move here, feeling it would be a wonderful place to live, work, and raise our children with a balance of  genuine “small town” values and opportunities that will prepare them for the world they choose. We chose well, and I am especially thankful for that.” 

This blog began a little over a year ago, in November of 2013, and I am thankful for every reader. I appreciate your support and ongoing feedback more than I can say. Blessings to you and your family and friends today and throughout the holidays!

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