Coalition members honored for service, dedication

Recently, the JCSHY Coalition acknowledged its Outstanding Members for their service toward the organization. From left are Holly Knouse, Michele Olson, Jenna Lovaas, Amelia Matthess, and Jim Caswell. Not pictured are John Klein, Marie Shaw, and Becky DirksHaugsted. (Photo submitted)
Staff report

     During the Jones County Safe & Healthy Youth Coalition’s Nov. 9 meeting, Outstanding Membership Awards were handed out. These awards are based on a combination of in-kind hours dedicated toward the Coalition’s efforts, volunteer roles, and responsibilities in the Coalition’s activities and action steps.

Amelia Matthess, Youth Member of the Year

     Matthess has been the Coalition’s most active youth this past year. She has participated in and helped with so many activities including: planning for Take Charge, the town hall meeting on underage drinking and prescription drug abuse, legislative forums, the purse and accessory sale, the J&P Cycles’ event, Day on the Hill for youth substance abuse prevention, the Scotch Grove Flea Market food fundraiser, and many BEASTS meetings.

     Matthess also designed the new BEASTS/Coalition t-shirts, has written in the Anamosa High School newspaper about the group, helped with media campaigns, and designed advertisements.

     “We are so thankful that she dropped in our office for the Holiday Magic on Main event a few years ago and has become more involved with the Coalition ever since,” expressed Coalition Project Coordinator Jennifer Husmann. “She has given so freely of her creative talents.”

Michele Olson, Youth Leader of the Year

     Olson also started with the Coalition a year and a half ago. She has been a leader for BEASTS, hosted the group at the Nature Center at Central Park, and has attended Coalition events and trainings when possible. Olson attends BEASTS meetings and puts on family-friendly and youth activities at Central Park that the Coalition promotes.

     “Michele is an example of doing what you can where ever you are to promote the Coalition’s goals and how groups can work together to further both groups’ missions,” said Husmann. “We want youth and families to do positive things together, to enjoy the beauty of nature and take care of their world, to be active and be outside when possible, and to be drug free.”

     Olson is also the Jones County Naturalist.

Jenna Lovaas, Healthy Community/Dynamic Marketing Award

     “Lovaas has been such a great asset to our county ever since she started as the Jones County Public health Director just over a year ago,” praised Husmann.

     Lovaas completed a Healthy Needs Assessment for Jones County, which identified several needs that the Board of Health and others prioritized. Husmann explained this assessment naturally aligns with the Coalition “as we work to prevent and reduce tobacco/nicotine usage and binge drinking.”

     Lovaas also advocated for Public Health to help pay for TIPS books for Responsible Beverage Service Trainings. She has also been an integral member of the Coalition’s Marketing Committee.

     Right now, Lovaas and Jeff Meyers, ASAC prevention specialist, are working on tobacco/nicotine-free park ordinances. Lovaas is also connecting with Public Health and ASAC to help pay for more prevention specialist time to continue focusing on adult binge drinking and tobacco use.

Marie Shaw, Generous Outreach Award

     Shaw has been a member of the Coalition since 2011. She works for the Substance Abuse Services Center (SASC) in Manchester, but covers several other counties including Jones, with gambling prevention and treatment. Shaw has been a member of the Outreach Committee for years. She also attends as many Coalition events as possible.

     “She is so generous, always giving of her time, her money, lending her possessions, her silly humor, and her wonderful encouragement,” said Husmann.

Becky Dirks, Behind the Scenes Award

     Dirks joined the Coalition about a year and a half ago. She attends meetings when her schedule allows, including taking minutes for the Outreach Committee meetings.

     If you know Becky, you know she has a heart of gold and will help in any way she can wherever she is,” said Husmann.

     She’s taken Coalition cookbooks to sell at community events. She has also helped lead games and community activities for kids at Anamosa Fourth of July celebrations to Back-to-School events.

     She’s helped the Coalition by writing articles about their work for the Anamosa newspaper, helped find volunteers, and is full of good ideas that make the Coalition better.

Holly Knouse, Rookie of the Year Award

     Knouse has been involved with the Coalition for about a year, and is particularly involved with the youth advisory group, BEASTS (Being Excellent and Staying Totally Safe).

     She is also the director of Christian Education at Wayne Zion Lutheran Church in Monticello, and works with the youth there. She’s gotten her youth involved in BEASTS, wrote a mini grant for BEASTS t-shirts, collected offerings at Wayne Church’s Vacation Bible School to support the work of the BEASTS, helped with monthly BEASTS meetings and activities, promotes Coalition events at her church, attended the Take Charge Conference, participated on the committee to create the Coalition’s cookbook, and also volunteers to be on the Executive Committee as vice president.

     “She whole heartedly jumped into the Coalition work on behalf on the youth she cares about so deeply in our community,” expressed Husmann.

Jim Caswell, Mover and Shaker Award in Memory of Keith Dirks

     Caswell has been involved in the Coalition for almost a year and a half. He is a member of the AmVets and has been involved in the Coalition in several ways. He’s attended Policy Committee meetings and lunches celebrating businesses who were TIPS trained. He’s reserved and opened the Veterans Hall in Monticello for Coalition meetings. He’s put up graduation signs in his yard in prominent places so all are reminded about not hosting alcohol parties for teens. Caswell also stops in the Coalition regularly to see how he can assist.

     He also helped with the recent office move of the Coalition by lining up people to volunteer.

     “His attitude of willingness to do whatever he can to help support youth is amazing,” Husmann said. “He is eager to learn as much as possible about the issues that affect our kids.”

John Klein, Rock Steady Award

     Klein has steadily served the Coalition for several years, at least since early 2010. He’s served on the Executive Committee as vice president, president, and past president, and served as vice president again last year. He just started serving again as president of the Coalition. Klein has also served on the Policy Committee since 2010.

     He helped locate the Anamosa Main Street Coalition office, assisted with the development of the by-laws, and helped the Coalition establish their own 501c3 non-profit status.

     Klein was also part of the team developing policy initiatives including Social Host, Minor Consumption, and Responsible Beverage Service Training Ordinances. Klein helped with decisions to implement the Text2Tell program.

     “He knows what is happening in the county with his experience both in law enforcement as well as a park ranger and park manager for the county,” said Husmann. “John pitches in when things are needed. His humor mixed with his passion for making our county safer means there is never a dull meeting with John around.”

     She said his award acknowledges Klein’s consistent leadership in the Coalition.

     To learn more about the efforts of the Coalition, visit or contact Husmann at 319-462-4327 ext. 202.


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