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Heroes By Example

Heroes by Example are individuals, past and present, who work or have worked in the transportation industry and have accomplished their everyday job in an extraordinary way.

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Heroes By Example
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An incredibly conscientious driver, Richard “Dick” Saunders worked as a loyal employee of the Grinnell Newburg Community School District for more than 48 years.

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You know him as Mark Twain, but few are aware of the steamboat pilot who spent much of his time on the river.

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As transit manager for the Western Iowa Transit System, Feldman helps keep the people of Iowa connected by providing 250,000 rides each year for people in the rural areas of western Iowa.

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In 2002, Breedlove set a record by riding his bike from Los Angeles to Atlantic City, N.J. in nine days, 19 hours and 47 minutes. The record is one of many impressive feats in the life of a man who, having traveled the world pursuing his passion was most at home on the bike trails surrounding Des Moines.

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“This is our country and we’re going to see it,” Reed said. As an African American in the 1950s that was easier said than done, since racial prejudices led most hotel owners to refuse African American patrons. And so Reed opened the Sepia Motel in 1953 as one of the first hotels in the country that was open to people of all races and religions.

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Coordinating the transportation needs of rural Iowa isn’t an easy task, but Rose Lee accomplished exactly that. The program she pioneered, RIDES, transports 1,500 people spread out over 5,600 square miles every single day.

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Robert Groves spent most of his adult life doing one thing that was near and dear to his heart: ensuring that the children of Iowa made it to school and back safely.

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Not that many twenty-year-olds would have the audacity to start their own business. But that is exactly what Thomas Easton did when he co-founded and served as chief engineer for the Bee Aircraft Company in 1939, which produced low-cost airplanes.

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Thousands of residents throughout Cedar Rapids owe Robert Rathbun a debt of gratitude for making sure their buses ran on schedule.

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A transportation career spanning four decades took Davis from laborer to vice president.

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This Iowa native made his country proud in the U.S. Navy before returning home to keep roads clear for fellow Iowans.

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If you have a question about the Mississippi river, Dr. William Peterson is the man you want to ask. The noted writer and historian travelled more than 20,000 miles up and down the Mississippi river studying the relationship between the river and the people who live and work on its banks.

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Ann is an accomplished pilot, airplane builder and restorer, as well as an author. The life of Amelia Earhart is her passion.

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Eliot was well-known across the state of Iowa for unwavering dedication to train service, especially passenger trains.  He worked for over 25 years promoting passenger train service in Iowa with Rob Norton.

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Keith Miller served the North Mahaska Community School District, New Sharon, Iowa for 44 years. His route was 38 miles long and he stopped at farm homes picking up 50 plus kids every day.

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Floyd Pine piloted customers form southeast Iowa to cities throughout the United States t purchase automobiles and aircraft. Serving in both the Iowa Senate and the House he was instrumental in obtaining local, state and federal funding for building local airfields and hangers.

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Hazel has been up in the air since she was three months old. With her first husband, Glen, she turned building model airplanes as a hobby into Sig Manufacturing.

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Rhinehart Contractors, later known as Rhineharts Inc., beautified Iowa roadways with erosion control work on newly constructed highways for over 40 years. 

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After establishing his career and family it was time to make dreams a reality. After twenty-five years of antique car collecting and car activities Pat read a four sentence article in Old Cars newspaper about a company in London, England, which was organizing the premier auto event of the 2000 millennium year. This event was the Around the World in 80 Days Motor Challenge which was a competitive rally beginning in London, Engla More

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Communication technology plays a major role in the world of transportation today. Information and technology affect transportation directly and indirectly in an enormous number of ways. 

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Neta was a very early aviation pioneer. She became a flight instructor and eventually taught Amelia Earhat how to Fly. On January 3, 1921, she gave Earhart her first flying lesson. Neta owned and operated herown commercial airfield.

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Returning from World War I Jacob Stevens continued to make hisotry by working on the paving of the famous Lincoln Higway. It was during this time that rural areas began to improve thei road systes through support by the federal government.

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For Darrell Jeffrey trucking was his passion and the open road filled his days and nights . He made it his one and only line of work, his life’s profession.  DJ was his handle with only a few close driver friends knowing his full name. He drove for several companies in Iowa as well as owning his own rig for several years. 

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Dr. Thomas Maze was a professor of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering at Iowa State University. He was the former Director for the Center for Transportation Research and Education at Iowa State University, now known as InTrans. 

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Ola Babcock Miller was one of the states most distinguished public servants. Today she is best known as “The Mother of the Iowa Highway Patrol.” Her consuming passion was to reduce deaths and improve safety on the state’s roads.

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Nellie Ruby was the only women in Iowa to hold an Authorized Inspector Certificate until 1996. Not one to let being a female stop her Nellie worked for her inspection/authorization mechanic’s license so she would not have to fly planes to another certified mechanic to inspect her work. 

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Ron Sieck took his first ride at age of 8 or 9 with a neighbor that took him flying over the Iowa countryside. As a teenager he hung around the Grinnell airport hoping for an offer to take to the air. Ron learned to fly in 1971. Although he enjoyed flying planes such as Cessna and Mooney his dream was to have a biplane. 
 

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Clint Swan – This will be read by John Holmes

When I think of a hero of aviation I can only see Clinton Swan deserving of this award, not me.  He sacrificed his resources, energy and most of all time, to impart to me the love of aviation.  He gave so that I could achieve my dreams. 

My work today is doing what I love; fly and teach.  Warm mem More

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William Paul Gearhart

Paul served as an Iowa State Trooper from 1943 to 1976. Trooper Gearhart began his career in Marengo with badge number 70 and was stationed there until 1951. Shortly after joining the Highway Patrol he was drafted into the US Army and served during World War II. Upon his honorable discharge Paul resumed his position as a trooper and his badge number was changed to n More

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Lowell Richardson of Ames, in 1951 began his 43 year career with the Iowa Highway Commission now known as the Iowa Department of Transportation. His first position was with the Creston Resident Construction Engineers Office doing construction inspection and surveying for bridges, grading and paving projects. Lowell advanced to Resident Construction Engineer at Creston from 1954 to 1960 and worked on many construction projects throughout the regio More

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In 1952 Willis Snook, a life time resident of Poweshiek County and a graduate of Montezuma High School, begin a career with what was known then as the Iowa Highway Commission.  At that time the only paved roads in the area were US Highway 6 and US Highway 63. There were a few sections of Highways 146, 21 and 85 that were paved, however many miles were still gravel.

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The late Kenneth L. “Pepper” Saunders started work at the early age of 9 and his first job was delivering the Des Moines Tribune and the Des Moines Sunday Register. At age 11 Pepper entered the trade of shoe shining and repair.

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Ray Allbee, Jr. ---- For Ray Allbee trucking is passion and the open road filled his days and nights. He made it his main line of work, his life’s profession. 

Ray has hauled billions of gallons of gasoline during his 40 year career, travelling over 3 million miles and all those miles were accident free. His work week was often six days a week, keeping fuel a More

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William “Porky” Den Hartog ---- William “Porky” Den Hartog of Eddyville began driving early in his teen years as an active member of the Eddyville Fire Department. He was a volunteer for the department for many years and was instrumental in getting the first rescue unit added to the fire department.

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