Impact Award presented to Mary Weaver

Mary Weaver
Mary Weaver

Mary Weaver of rural Rippey was honored with the 2016 Greene County Impact Award. About 50 relatives, friends and well-wishers attended a Sunday afternoon presentation in the rotunda of the courthouse.

Now in its seventh year, the Impact Award honors a volunteer whose activities have affected not just one community, but all of Greene County.

Weaver was saluted for her volunteer service to the Friends of Rippey and the Rippey community, to the libraries of the county, and to the Greene County Historical Society. Jerry Roberts, chair of the Impact Award committee, served as emcee.

Weaver was a member of the first East Greene graduating class, the class of 1963. Her career was in nursing; she earned a BSN and a master’s degree in nursing. In 1989 she started working for the Iowa Department of Inspection and Appeals working with training in nursing homes. She retired in 2001 as chief of public health nursing for the Iowa Department of Public Health. She served as acting director of the IDPH for a time in the 1990s.

Sharon Ulrich spoke on behalf of the Friends of Rippey (FOR), which was formed in 2001 with Velda DeMoss as president and Weaver as vice president. FOR was given the Rippey Bank and had it razed to provide useable green space on Main Street. When the Masons gave their building to the city of Rippey, Weaver took over the leadership to transform the building into a community center. Weaver successfully wrote grant applications and solicited donations to make that project a reality.

Once work on the community center began, Weaver and her husband Gary Weaver were there every day, Ulrich said, working on the design, ordering of furnishings, and overseeing the work of contractors. “The building is now a jewel in the town of Rippey,” Ulrich said.

Weaver is now FOR president. She worked with the Greene County Schools when the Rippey school was demolished to be sure materials would be available for a school monument, and she assured the collection of class photos was preserved for display at the library.

“She tirelessly works to preserve the history of Rippey, and also strives to keep the community alive with current, worthwhile projects,” Ulrich said. She doesn’t do the projects alone. “She enlists other Friends of Rippey members and citizens of Rippey in true leadership fashion, listening to ideas and suggestions and working with others to attain the goal.”

Several former Methodist Youth Fellowship members from the years when Mary and Gary Weaver were leaders had mailed tales of trips to Pike’s Peak and Apple River and their comments and well wishes to Roberts in advance of the program, and he shared some of them.

Brenda Roberts sang a musical tribute, “How You Live” by Point of Grace.

Jane Millard, director of the Jefferson public library, told of Weaver’s work in starting the county-wide book discussions Greene County Reads. Weaver obtained grant funding and publishers’ permission to have the books read and broadcast via radio several years. The first Greene County Reads discussion was held in 2007; they’ve been held every year since, with Weaver’s help in organization.

Roger Aegerter told of Weaver’s volunteer work for the Historical Society. She has served on the Historical Society board in many capacities, but Aegerter said it is in her role as program director that she has had the most impact.

For many years Weaver visited classrooms portraying Mary Davis, wife of Truman Davis, Greene County’s first white settler. “Mary was concerned that all the information around was about Truman Davis, the man, and she was determined that the woman, the prairie woman, was working hardest, at the center of those prairie lives in the ‘Wild West’ of Squirrel Hollow,” Aegerter said. He commended Weaver’s “passion to get things right” in her research on topics she presents.

The Greene County board of supervisors named May 1 Mary Weaver Day in Greene County. Supervisor chair John Muir of Rippey spoke on their behalf. “One thing we learned was that when something came in on the agenda with Mary Weaver’s name on it, it was going to happen,” Muir said. “It’s been a privilege to make those things happen because they’ve been good for the community.”

Impact Award recipient Mary Weaver and presenter Jerry Roberts
Impact Award recipient Mary Weaver and presenter Jerry Roberts

Roberts summed up the comments of all who spoke. “Some people are nurturers. They raise children. They treat people around them well, always giving them the benefit of a doubt. As we look at Mary and all the things she has done, she’s truly nurtured our county, and I think that’s probably the greatest gift she has given us,” he said.

Weaver said she was humbled to receive the award and to hear people’s comments about her. She introduced her husband Gary, their son and daughter-in-law David and Emily Weaver and their daughter Ada, their daughter and son-in-law Theresa and Matt Bayse and their children Nathan and Lauryn, and her cousin Mike Scharingson and his wife DeAnn.

“None of these things happened individually,” she said about the projects for which she was credited. “It was always a volunteer effort…as part of a group. This is about being a volunteer, and there isn’t one of you here who couldn’t be standing up here receiving this award. As I look across the people that have congregated, we’ve all done something together, something important.”

Past recipients of the Greene County Impact Award are Lawrence Geisler, the Town and Country Band, Carson Griffith, Tim and Vickie Robbins, Doug Hawn and Alice Walters.

Members of the Impact Award committee along with Roberts are Becky Cunningham of Paton, Elaine Schermerhorn of Scranton, Teena Toliver of Churdan, Jerry Herrick of Grand Junction and Geisler of rural Jefferson.


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