Skip Sub Menu

Iowa Character Awards

The Ray Center annually recognizes Iowans who show the Six Pillars of CHARACTER COUNTS!: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and good citizenship.

Since 2005, we have recognized more than 100 Iowans for showing good character.  

Join us to celebrate the 2021 Iowa Character Award recipients 

  • KDSM Fox 17 (Des Moines) will produce a one-hour, primetime television special featuring award recipients. The special will air this summer on KDSM Fox 17 (Des Moines) and on other Iowa Fox affiliate stations. Air dates/times will be posted here when available.
  • The 2021 Iowa Character Awards recognition event will be held on Sunday afternoon, August 29, 2021, at Prairie Meadows Events Center in Altoona, IA. Click here for more information or to reserve tickets.

2021 Iowa Character Award Recipients

Business/Organization of Character:

Matthew 25 (Cedar Rapids)

Honorable Mentions:
Dorothy’s House (Des Moines)
African American Museum of Iowa (Cedar Rapids)

Adult Citizen of Character:

Simon Estes (Ankeny)

Honorable Mentions:
Dr. Monic Behnken (Ames)
Kyle Horn (Des Moines)

Youth Citizen of Character:

Alison Van Gelder (Creston)

Honorable Mentions:
Carley Deery (Des Moines)
Mackenzie Kokke (Mitchellville)
Mackenzie Eichhorn (Cedar Rapids)

Aaron Eilerts Community Service Award:

Toby Laurie (Norwalk)

Educator of Character:  

Yonas Michael (Ames Middle School)

Honorable Mentions:
Shane Ehresman (Lynnville-Sully CSD)
Shana Putnam Dibble (Decorah CSD)

Jim Hallihan Pursuing Victory with Honor Award:

Storm Lake St. Mary’s Girls Basketball Team (Storm Lake)

School of Character:

Ames Community School District (Ames)  

Honorable Mention:
Pella Middle School (Pella)

Student Organization of Character:

Sioux City East High Student Council (Sioux City)  

Honorable Mentions:
Nevada High School FFA (Nevada)

Community of Character:

Iowa Great Lakes Region (Northwest Iowa)

Partner of the Year:

Iowa Cubs / Gartner Family Foundation (Des Moines)

Character Champion:

Drake University Women’s Basketball (Des Moines)

Robert D. Ray Pillar of Character:  

Billie Ray (Des Moines)


The 2021 Iowa Character Awards are presented by:  

    Hy-Vee logo


   Partner logo




 Click here to donate to The Ray Center 


August 21, 2020
August 20, 2020
August 18, 2020