Terry Rich to launch his new book in Jefferson

Proceeds of sales at Dec. 1 reception going to courthouse centennial

Terry Rich
Terry Rich

Terry Rich, the Greene County native who now heads the Iowa Lottery and is in demand nationally as a motivational speaker, is going to launch his new book “Dare to dream, Dare to act” at a public reception Tuesday, Dec. 1, from 4 to 6 pm, in Jefferson.

The event will be held in the rotunda of the Greene County courthouse. Rich is donating the proceeds of books sold at the reception to the “Courthouse 100” committee, which is planning events the next two years to celebrate the centennial of the building.

The books will be sold for $15 during the reception, and Rich will sign them for people, whether the purchasers want one book for themselves or several for gifts. At 5 pm he will take a break from signing to speak briefly about his personal background, career and about the book. Admission to the event is free and so are the refreshments.

Rich, 63, grew up in the farm neighborhood just southwest of Cooper. He is a 1970 graduate of Jefferson High School and a ’74 graduate of Iowa State University. Early in his career he joined Hawkeye Cablevision, which was introducing cable TV in central Iowa, and he also worked weekends for radio KIOA in Des Moines.

In 1981, he masterminded the famous Cooper Centennial celebration, which included naming the late NBC “Tonight Show” host Johnny Carson as the “Honorary 51st Citizen of Cooper.” Carson invited Rich, Cooper farmer Gerald Lawton, and school bus driver/farmhand Myrtle Whitcher to California to appear on his show. Their 17-minute on-air chat with Carson was such a hit that when the tiny town’s centennial was held two weeks later, more than 12,500 people attended.

Rich used things he learned from the “Tonight Show” experience to boost his career with Hawkeye Cable, and later when he founded his own television production and marketing agency, Rich Heritage. He became recognized as one of the best and most creative “promoters” in the state.

After substantial business success, he consented in 2003 to the appeals from community leaders in Des Moines that he take over the Blank Park Zoo and lead a major expansion of it. He was appointed CEO of the Iowa Lottery in early 2009 and is now in his second four-year term in that position.

The 97-page soft cover book is fun reading, especially for people with Greene County ties, since many key events in Rich’s life happened right here. He plans to use the book with his motivational speeches around the country.

“I was looking for a way to make it available to people in Jefferson and Greene County,” he said, “and I really like the idea of having the sales help with the courthouse celebration. But I hope people will come say hello at the reception, even if they don’t want a book. I love any chance I get to talk to people back home.”

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