• Sun July 27 2008
  • Posted Jul 27, 2008
Fort Dodge Vision teamed with dedicated volunteers can help make our world a better place to inhabit. This month has afforded two particularly outstanding examples of how excellent ideas can be turned into tangible realities. For almost two decades the idea of a Twin Lakes Trail encircling North Twin Lake has been a dream that has inspired a wide array of Calhoun County residents. When the 6.5-mile concrete trail was dedicated this month, credit for the original idea was given to the late Charles Petersen. Also singled out for their contributions were Barb Gidel, president of the Twin Lakes Trail board; KAP Linder, who wrote grant proposals for the project; Mildred Petersen, who provided financial support; Leonard Woodruff, who provided engineering expertise; and Pat Minnick, who orchestrated the planting and maintenance of trees along the trail. The recognition of these important leaders was well-deserved, but a great many people have had roles in bringing an innovative proposal to fruition. The Rev. B.J. Ukena, a retired pastor who was master of ceremonies at the dedication, called the trail ''a masterpiece of community pride.'' During the last decade numerous community-spirited individuals have worked extremely hard to bring the trail into being. Their dedication to making a dream come true deserves applause. The $2.5 million project got help along the way from a Vision Iowa grant and strong backing by the Calhoun County Board of Supervisors. The Twin Lakes Restoration Association was an early advocate of the trail. What stands out, however, is that teamwork on behalf of an excellent idea made the difference. That was also true regarding a very different project in Wright County that has led to the county being honored as the ''Cleanest County in Iowa.'' The visual appeal of roadsides along many Iowa highways is enhanced by volunteers organizing to collect the trash that sadly accumulates over time. Karen Weld, of Clarion, set about organizing volunteers to provide the same service along county roads. The idea caught on and 121 volunteers cleaned about 50 miles of roadside. The Wright County project was recognized in a statewide contest sponsored in part by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Our Iowa magazine. A plaque acknowledging the effort was presented during a ceremony at the Wright County Courthouse earlier this month. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey was on hand to officiate. This excellent project deserves emulation throughout the Hawkeye State. The examples in these two Iowa counties of volunteers making good things happen should be an inspiration to others. They demonstrate what can be accomplished when a worthy vision gains the support of folks willing to devote serious time, money and energy on its behalf.

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