PHOTO: Rose Rohr, who volunteers with numerous organizations throughout Jones County, was presented with the Outstanding Volunteer Award during the Silos & Smokestacks Golden Silo Awards ceremony on April 3. Presenting Rohr with her award is Don Short, president of Silos & Smokestacks. (Photo submitted)
By Kim Brooks, Express Editor
Volunteers give of their time, not to be recognized, but to lend a hand to accomplish projects and get things done. One county volunteer was recently recognized, however, for all of her time she puts into numerous projects and organizations throughout Jones County and beyond.
Rose Rohr, with the Jones County Historic Preservation Commission, also volunteers much of her time with Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area (SSNHA) on the Partnership Panel. During their recent Annual Golden Silo Awards event, Rohr was honored with the Outstanding Volunteer award, presented by Audrey Savage of Citizens State Bank. Savage is a trustee with SSNHA. This award “recognizes individuals and groups who have given tirelessly to SSNHA.”
Rohr has been with SSNHA since 2008.
“This organization is so important in preservation, education, networking and securing grants,” explained Rohr as to why she got involved in the first place. She’s been quite instrumental in securing funds to assist with historic preservation around Jones County including most recently, Wapsipinicon State Park. Rohr’s goal is to have the park become a partner site with SSNHA.
SSNHA is “one of 49 federally designated heritage areas in the nation and is an Affiliated Area of the National Park Service.” Their mission “is to interpret farm life, agribusiness and rural communities-past and present.”
Their goal is to “tell the story of American agriculture and its global significance through partnerships and activities that celebrate the land, people and communities of the area.”
Rohr said she joined SSNHA through a recommendation by Jerome Thompson, Iowa’s state curator and former Partnership Panel chair with SSNHA.
“He felt I needed to be involved,” said Rohr. “It’s a pretty prestigious recommendation.”
In presenting Rohr with her award, it was stated: “She spends countless hours serving on the Partnership Panel and reviewing grants and driving on dusty gravel roads to help with Partnership Site application reviews.”
Thompson said of Rohr, “She is synonymous for historic preservation in Jones County plus this woman can make a bridge fly.” (Rohr was instrumental in securing funds to have the Hale Bridge relocated and restored.)
“Truly Rose has worked with all the local museums and historic sites in Jones County to help them with their preservation and public programs. Her work with the historic preservation commission has led to new national register nominations and brought in significant grant funding to preserve important historic places. Rose’s service to the SSNHA has been significant. This is a fitting award for Rose who has demonstrated vision and tenacity to make a vision happen.”
Rohr said if you are not directly associated with SSNHA, you may not know of the work this organization does. The Heritage Area, of which serves Jones County and surrounding areas, covers 37 counties in northeast Iowa. This is a wide area to work with. Rohr said there are about 100 partnership sites in our region, with one being in Cascade.
“People are very passionate about the work they do with SSNHA,” said Rohr. “It truly is a grassroots organization.”
Through all of her volunteer work with this organization, Rohr said it’s not something she could ever do alone. There are so many people who lend a hand.
The benefit Rohr sees in her work with SSNHA is to help attract people to Jones County to visit the partner sites and Heritage areas.
Aside from her work with SSNHA, Rohr also volunteers her time to the Historic Preservation Commission, the REAP Committee, Jones County Tourism, Grant Wood Trails Committee, the Soil & Water Commission and the Buy Fresh, Buy Local group.
It’s safe to say Rohr’s volunteer time means so much to so many.
“I believe in these programs,” she said. “It’s great to feel like you’re accomplishing something.”
In downplaying her work with so many organizations, Rohr said, “I look good because of the people around me.”
To learn more about SSNHA and the work they do, visit www.silosandsmokestacks.org.