When one of our town's residents receives statewide recognition, it brings credit to our community and is an occasion that should make all Fort Dodgers proud.
The African American Hall of Fame was established in 1995 to honor blacks who have worked to enhance the quality of life for all Iowans. Friday, State Rep. Helen Miller, D-Fort Dodge, will be one of six people to be inducted this year. She is the first person from Fort Dodge to be selected for this honor. The ceremony will be in Altoona.
Miller's important community service activities led to her selection for this impressive honor.
She is being recognized for her volunteer work as the executive director of Young At Art, a nonprofit organization that promotes Iowa artists. Young At Art, through its Artful Dodger Project, exhibits and auctions artwork to benefit other community groups.
Additionally, Miller's role in establishing the Urban Ag Academy, which works to inform legislators from cities about agricultural issues, was a factor in her selection.
Miller told The Messenger earlier this month that her inclusion on this year's list of inductees came as a complete surprise, but gave some of the credit for her accomplishments to the state where she resides.
"What I really like about Iowa is you can get your arms around it and not only that, it hugs you back. It allows you to get out and do more. Iowa makes it possible. It really does," she said.
The nature of the communities and lifestyle in this state may well make achieving good things through volunteer work easier than in more intimidating, impersonal locales. Even so, the critical ingredient is good-hearted, dedicated people who are determined to make an already exceptional place to live even better.
Helen Miller is clearly one of those civic-minded individuals who help keep our town and state superb places to call home.
The Messenger congratulates Miller on this honor and applauds the leaders of the African American Hall of Fame for their wisdom in paying tribute to her outstanding civic service.