At the Clarke County Development Corporation and Osceola Chamber Main Street’s Annual Dinner Jan. 28 Helen Kimes was presented the Community Service Award by OCMS Director Ashleigh Eckels.
Kimes has served two non-consecutive terms as president of the CCDC. With that she has been involved in attracting new businesses including Lakeside Casino, Altec and Iowa Steel to the Osceola community.
“One of the biggest pleasures of my life in Osceola, as far as seeing something happen, was locating the casino,” said Kimes. “We knew that it would provide jobs and the rest of it is just a big perk for Osceola. We couldn’t do some of the things we do today if we didn’t have the funds from the casino.”
Kimes has also helped obtain grant funding for various projects such as the Safe Routes to School initiative and the Osceola trail system. She has also worked hard toward the creation of a reservoir. She is a business owner, active in the OCMS and the United Methodist Church, was appointed by Governor Branstad to the Real Estate Commission and Landscape Architect Board and has served on the Methodist Camp Advisory Board and the Judicial Nominating Committee.
She was on the South Central Iowa Community Foundation when it began as well as the Building Trades when it started through SWCC. She has always supported Clarke Community Schools and helped with Jump Rope for Heart as well as being politically active.
“I feel that Osceola has been good to me and you have to give back in order to receive. I couldn’t even visualize leaving Osceola, I don’t want to live anywhere else,” said Kimes. “We travel and enjoy going places but it’s always a pleasure to come back home.”
Community Service Award recipients must be nominated and Kimes’ nomination letter told the OCMS of her multitude of accomplishments and great attitude, stating, “In addition to being so involved in her community, church and state, Helen never loses sight of the needs of the everyday people around her, and often commits ‘random acts of kindness’ without any thought of taking credit for her deeds.”
Kimes was nearly speechless at the CCDC/OCMS Annual Dinner to be given the award and surprised to see her family and co-workers as she descended the stage.
“It was a very humbling experience,” said Kimes. “I was truly shocked and surprised.”
Kimes is thankful for the support of her family, co-workers, friends and community.