Ever wondered who’s behind the wheel with making Clarke students feel like a celebrity on prom night? It’s Clarke County State Bank.
For 25 years, Clarke County State Bank employees, as well as their spouses, have volunteered their services to help with valet parking during Clarke Community High School’s prom.
“When I went to prom in Creston, we used to go to the Strand Theater, so we would get out there and somebody would take our car and park it,” said Diane Ogbourne, vice president/director of business development at Clarke County State Bank. “So, I remembered that from years ago when I went to prom, and I thought it would be kind of cool if we could do something like that here.”
The valet services started when Clarke’s prom was still held at the high school many years ago.
When prom moved to Lakeside Casino, the bank decided to continue the tradition there.
“We kind of had an ‘in’ out there because my husband is the facilities manager,” Ogbourne said. “He kind of helped us figure out how it would work best.”
During the valet services, the bank president even opens the vehicle door for the ladies as they arrive at prom. There are times when guys like to be chivalrous and open the doors for their dates.
“It works just really slick,” Ogbourne said. “The biggest problem we have our the crowds.”
Ogbourne added, Lakeside is still open for regular business with its casino, and its streets do need to be open for customers.
This year, some prom goers even arrived on a fire truck and blew the siren to get through the crowds.
Besides fire trucks, there have been all types of vehicles show up to prom, including limos, semitrailers, tractors and sports cars.
This year, there was even an Iowa State Patrol vehicle.
“The kids, I think, really enjoy it, and that’s why we do it — for the kids. We want them to have a good time,” Ogbourne said.
However, different types of vehicles bring unforeseen difficulties.
One year, a vehicle didn’t have any door handles. In other years, there have been problems with getting the keys out of the ignition of fancy vehicles. Another time, a vehicle died right as it arrived to prom.
“We’ve had some interesting vehicles to park,” Ogbourne said with a laugh.
To help with organization, bank employees wear their blue bank jackets to be recognizable.
“It’s a service the kids really look forward to,” Ogbourne said. “You know, sometimes I’m not sure they realize exactly who is doing it or why we’re doing it. But, we’re a community bank, you know, and we like to do things for the community. We’re all very involved in our community … It’s fun. It’s just a good time.”