The Dyersville Chamber has named Lois Olberding of Dyersville as their 2022 Woman of the Year.
The honor came during Wednesday night’s Women’s Night event.
Lois has been involved in parish, school and community activities for the past three decades. As a young mother, she helped at school events from birthday parties to assisting the Booster Club & sports activities. Lois also focused on helping with events to help & honor veterans – she was a member of the Legion Post 137 for over 20 years, including serving as President.
But according to those who nominated her, the volunteer work that Lois holds dearest to her heart is helping those with special needs.
Lois was one of five women nominated for Woman of the Year. The other nominees included Gerene Gibbs of Earlville and Dianne Kramer, Shirley Olberding and Emily Snedden, all of Dyersville.
Here are the nomination letters the Chamber received for each of the nominees:
Dianne Kramer, Dyersville
Dianne is a woman who has improved the quality of life for residents of the Dyersville area. Dianne has retired over 10 years ago and became actively involved in delivering Meals on Wheels to Seniors from the Dyersville Social Center. She also assists with activities and crafts with the tenants at the Ellen Kennedy Living Center. Along with her husband Don, they drive tenants to and from appointments and spends hours visiting with them in her patient, compassionate and caring way.
Dianne was an educator at schools in Grundy Center and Manchester. Being true to her educational background Dianne has presented a 2-hour informational program called “Our Neighbors, the Amish at over 150 libraries throughout Iowa. They discuss 16 different topics on the simple Amish lifestyle and their sense of community. She still utilizes her teaching skills at Divine Word College in Epworth where she tutors international students on the English language.
Dianne also is passionate about her local library. She was a past member of the Friend of the Library board. You can also find Dianne at the James Kennedy Public Library 2 days a week helping at the front desk, teaching, and leading craft projects.
Gerene Gibbs, Earlville
Gerene works full time as a Registered Nurse at Regional Medical Center in the surgery department. Her passion she has for others and dedication everyday shines not only at work but also within the community of Earlville.
Gerene has been an active member of the Earlville Community Club for the past 20 years, serving as President or Secretary/Treasurer for the past 14 years. She is truly the person behind the scenes of everything that happens in Earlville: ensuring there is candy kids can find at Easter, plans the summer picnic, Christmas supper for members, purchases goody bags for when Santa visits town, and purchases, plants and water the beautiful flowers to you see in barrels as you drive around Earlville. Let’s not forget the monthly bingo in Earlville where her husband calls the number and she hands out the prizes.
Gerene has put her time and energy in expanding the 4th of July events from an evening event to an all-day event. It was Gerene who came up with the idea to have a 5K run in 2017 and from there she put together a committee to plan a car cruise, cutest baby contest, bean bag tournament, car/truck show, pedal tractor pull and parade. Gerene just wanted a little more for her town and found the spirit in others to help this happen.
Emily Snedden, Dyersville
Emily is currently the President of St. Francis Xavier School Association that has come up with new fundraising events that not only involve the school but also the public such as Trunk or Treat, St. Nick at Night and Xavier 5K. Emily is a leader and keeps people motivated.
Emily is a Girl Scout Troop Leader and is a member of the Dyersville Downtown Market Committee booking the entertainment, set up and take down. She is willing to step up and help out in any way she can.
Emily has taken her diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes and made an active an online support group. She is an inspiration to others as she shares her personal story & struggles to motivate them and help them take charge of their own health. Emily teaches a weekly spin class at the Total Fitness Rec Center which is typically full because she creates a fun and exciting atmosphere that people want to come and work out. Emily also teaches at Bar Raising Fitness where she encourages participants to reach their goals. Her positive, upbeat personality is contagious which makes her a person you want to be around.
Lois Olberding, Dyersville
For the past 3 decades, Lois Olberding has been involved in parish, school and community activities.
As a young mother, she helped at school events from birthday parties to assisting the Booster Club & sports activities.
Lois also focused on helping with events to help & honor our veterans. She was a member of the Legion Post 137 for over 20 years, including serving as President.
The volunteer work that Lois holds dearest to her heart is helping those with special needs. She helps them learn the skills needed to live on their own, get ready of Special Olympics and to help them appreciate the gifts they have as a person. Lois refers to them as “her kids” and her eyes light up when she talks about a day of bowling, playing ball or their achievements made at the Special Olympics.
Lois is the type of person to give to others without complaint or expecting anything in return. She goes above and beyond and gives with all her heart.
Shirley Olberding, Dyersville
Shirley was a middle school teacher for the Western Dubuque School System. She got her Master’s degree in Administration and became Principal and Title 1 Director. She found joy in teaching and encouraging students. Shirley is a strong advocate for education as she joined the Friends of the James Kennedy Public Library that promotes reading programs for children & adults, book sales and other fundraisers that benefits the entire community.
Shirley has written numerous grants for the St. Francis Xavier parish that made new projects possible. Shirley gives her time stuffing bulletins and letters, sings in the Resurrection Choir, is a Eucharistic Minister and a member of the Peace & Justice Committee. Shirley’s heart was changed by making multiple trips to Haiti to see the poverty was immediately evident. Each March, a sea container is filled with supplies for clinic, schools and parish. Shirley also encouraged and financially supported a young Haitian with a college education.
You will see Shirley working at the hospital gift shop, selling items at the Hospital Bazaar, filing trays for the Cookie Walk and visiting friends at Mercy Senior Care. Shirley helps the Rural Community Food Pantry sorting and shelving food. At Christmas time, you will find Shirley along with many others filling many boxes with food for those in need.
photo courtesy of Dyersville Chamber