Buzbee and Leger update Rotary on Vision Marshalltown

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Vision Marshalltown co-chair Terry Buzbee shares a message about the good work that the organization is up to.

TIMES-REPUBLICAN

Marshalltown Rotary President Matt Garber rang the bell to get things started for the weekly noon luncheon at Elmwood. Nancy Steveson led in prayer and Pledge of Allegiance for the July 31 meeting. Jim Goodman and Val Ruff introduced guests. Garber shared that Rotary District 6000 is coordinating a relief effort to help the city in the aftermath of the July 19 tornado. Karn Gregoire, co-chair of the Martha-Ellen Tye Foundation described the dream of Tye to help Marshalltown prosper and grow. She acknowledged that the landscape is altered due to the tornado.

“The focus may shift a bit, but we are poised to continue the vision of Martha-Ellen Tye and are well equipped to move initiatives forward,” Gregoire said.

Vision Marshalltown was the focus of the program this day and Gregoire is proud of the progress this group has made in the last two years and excited about the position they are in. Her Vision Marshalltown co-chair Terry Buzbee praised the leadership in Marshalltown in the wake of the tornadic destruction noting such leadership exemplifies that of organizations such as Rotary. Buzbee gave an update on the progress related to the Vision Marshalltown five-year plan that was put in place three years ago. He noted that the organization is moving beyond simply perpetuating the generosity of Martha-Ellen Tye. He asked the group to take note of the important words in the mission statement and vision of the organization and suggested none was more important than that of collaboration.

Buzbee described Marshalltown in words raging from innovative to compassionate. What he was sure to stress was that Marshalltown was not a commuter town. He talked about fresh perspectives and roles related to leadership, ownership and support saying “there must be collaboration between these roles.”

In education, for example, the school board is the clear backbone, but that Vision Marshalltown can be a coalition builder and be an advocate. He said many of the housing efforts are owned by the city, Marshalltown Regional Partnership and MCVB, but that Vision Marshalltown can be communicator and system aligner.

Buzbee introduced Executive Director Kyley Leger to talk about pride, a subject he admits is wide open. Leger said the feedback from the survey they initiated earlier this year shows there are great things going on in Marshalltown and that we can do better about increasing awareness. She began by showing the most recent installment of the “pieces of pride” video, this one focused on the gallery garden that combines art and an urban-style green space. It is the only project of its kind in the state. Leger then listed the four areas of focus aiming to increase pride in Marshalltown. The Highway 14 corridor study is an example of community aesthetics of physical beauty.

“Bobcat Pride” emphasizes a lot of great things going on. Promoting and encouraging the social offerings that both she and Buzbee point out are not in short supply. And finally, working to further enhance Marshalltown’s stellar reputation as a welcoming community. A three-year marketing plan is now gaining traction that will amplify these messages of pride. Leger points out that to effectively absorb and remember something you need to hear it 12 times and that is the approach they will be taking. Buzbee noted his appreciation for Leger’s passion. He hoped his message helped the group understand the approach of the Martha-Ellen Tye Foundation and the shift in its philanthropic direction. He noted that the group was not shy about coloring outside the lines. He encouraged the group to “plan big” post-tornado and ramp up an already positive trajectory for Marshalltown.

Rotary strives for the greatest impact in everything they do. That means focusing on sustainability, on projects whose effects will go on for years, continuing to change lives even after Rotarians’ involvement has ended.