Spencer was on the tip of many tongues in Des Moines Friday.
The smallest of 11 finalists seeking one of four Blue Zones Demonstration Site opportunities, approximately 30 community representatives caravanned in a few vehicles to participate in the official announcement.
Governor Terry Branstad; Dan Buettner, founder of Blue Zones; corporate executives behind the Blue Zones initiative and members of the Blue Zones Site Evaluation team shared in the excitement as each of the four communities were recognized and welcomed into the Blue Zones family.
We'll get into what that means to Spencer in the Daily Reporter next week, but I want to focus on the energy and effort that went into making Spencer a winning city.
First, congratulations to Alison Simpson and Cammy Hinkeldey, who came together in the middle of a neighborhood street and shared a vision with one another to further improve the Spencer climate.
Focused on physical and mental health, and overall longevity, the two ladies formed a grass roots effort to put Spencer on the map in the eyes of those charged with making the first round of Blue Zones selections.
While I think the ladies and their "Blue Crew" would have settled to be part of the program at any stage, they were especially interested in being a pioneer for the program, which will be introduced in an attempt to help Iowa become the healthiest state in the nation over the course of the next five years.
Even after all of the work and subsequent acceptance of the honor Friday, officials involved with the project's implementation were still talking about the little community that could - and so were the other communities who were chosen.
Coming into the room, many of them didn't even know where Spencer was. They openly asked. It was kind of humbling - around here we tend to think we're pretty cool stuff. But apparently, to other, much larger communities we aren't so much as a blip on the radar.
Well I assure, after Friday, they know who we are.
We're the group they refer to as the one's who did it with a "grass roots" movement.
Spencer folks get things done.
Thanks Alison and Cammy for the leadership, and thanks to everyone else who participated in one way or another.
People often say one person can't make a difference, but in this case, a lot of single persons came together for a cause and made a huge difference.
This is a great day - and the beginning of a healthy transformation - for Spencer.