‘I love Marshalltown’

Mitchell receives Red Cross award for services to community

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Marty Mitchell accepted the one of four 'Salute to Heroes' awards from the American Red Cross of South and Eastern Iowa Saturday night in Cedar Rapids for his services to the community.

It was quite a surprise for Marshalltown’s Marty Mitchell when his sister called to tell him he’d been selected for an American Red Cross ‘Salute to Heroes’ award.

“I don’t like to the attention, I like to do things for what I feel are the right reasons,” the Mitchell Family Funeral Home owner said. “I like giving back, I like to see others enjoy things.”

Marna Mitchell-Butler nominated her brother for the award presented at Saturday night’s Red Boa Ball in Cedar Rapids.

“It was supposed to be two or three paragraphs,” she laughed as she described the nomination process. “When I emailed them (the Red Cross) I said ‘Please don’t disqualify him based on the length of my nomination (letter).'”

Mitchell was one of four people in the South and Eastern Iowa Red Cross region to receive the Salute to Heroes award that night.

In her nomination letter, Mitchell-Butler listed several of her brother’s actions over the last few years as justification for the honor.

Social media was an effective tool when Mitchell urged the community to attend the funeral of a Korean War vet with no remaining family members, and again when bought smoke detectors for those in need of such devices after a fire took the life of a local teenager.

“Probably the one that personally impacted him the most, deeply wounded him, was when the Burmese immigrant family lost three children, who drowned in the river,” Mitchell-Butler said. “That’s why he pays for a day’s admission for everybody at the aquatic center every summer.”

Mitchell called that incident “devastating,” and said children should have the opportunity to cool off in a safe, controlled environment.

“I don’t want to ever have to send our staff or myself or anyone down to that river again to take a child or anyone out of that water,” he said. “I wanted something positive to come out of that.”

Those are just a few examples of Mitchell’s deeds in the community. He said the town he was born and raised in has given him opportunity, and he is now giving back.

“[The people of Marshalltown] have supported me so well in my dream of having a funeral home,” he said. “I’m very touched, very, very, very much.”

Mitchell was supported by proud family members as he accepted the award at Saturday’s ceremony. Mitchell-Butler said it was a challenge to narrow down her brother’s deeds to the community.

“It was really hard to figure out how to articulate what he does and the impact he has on the general city,” she said.

Mitchell said his motivation was simple, but powerful.

“I love Marshalltown,” he said.


Contact Adam Sodders at (641) 753-6611 or asodders@timesrepublican.com