Diane Wise (right) was honored with the ABC (Above and Beyond the Call) Award by Greene County Chamber and Development for her role as “a head cheerleader that shows no fear” in building a new Grand Junction Community Center. The award was presented by last year’s winner, Don Orris (left), at the Chamber’s annual meeting Monday evening at the Elks lodge in Jefferson.
Wise has worked tirelessly for the past 14 months raising funds for a $1 million community center in Grand Junction.
Projects have ranged from a large auction last August to organizing a volunteer crew to sell concessions at a Cyclone football game. She has solicited donations from friends and strangers and businesses and has written several grants.
She was the driving force behind an application for a Community Attraction and Tourism (CAT) grant from Vision Iowa. The city of Grand Junction was the notified in December that it has been awarded the grant, contingent on raising another $30,000 by early March.
In accepting the ABC Award, Wise announced that the $30,000 has been raised – that fundraising is complete and construction can begin in the spring.
Wise has not only done the “clean” work of raising funds. She has also joined in the dirty work of deconstructing the old dilapidated community center to sell salvageable materiel as another fundraiser.
While working at the Greene County FSA office, Wise was an active volunteer serving on the Greene County conservation board, the Greene County civil service board, the Grand Junction Community Center board, and in many positions in the Grand Junction Presbyterian Church. It wasn’t long after her retirement that she decided to take the lead position in building a new Grand Junction Community Center.
“I got involved in the community center about 14 months ago because of my husband David and all the wonderful stories he used to tell about Grand Junction and his growing up years,” Wise said. “I wanted all the kids in Grand Junction to be able to experience those same things, but with the condition of the town, it needed a new center. I got on board and said we’d have a new building in a year, and people laughed; they thought maybe five years.”
She credited many other people with the successful fundraising. “This was not about me. This was about a community that came together and worked hard together to make this happen,” she said. “This award is deserved not by me, but by a whole lot of people who have worked together.”
A recap of the Chamber annual meeting will be posted in this week’s Wednesday update on GreeneCountyNewsOnline.