Orange was everywhere you looked during lunch time on the Marshall County Courthouse lawn. Hundreds of people turned out for the Not In Our Town anti-bullying rally Thursday, wearing their shirts in support of the effort.
"I'm very proud of Marshalltown," said Mayor Pro- Tem Bethany Wirin.
Groups from several businesses came over to show support including 75 people from Fisher Controls/Emerson, 34 from JBS and 25 from the YMCA-YWCA.
"It's important to show support for the community," said Jamie Brown, who organized the group from Fisher for the event. "We are a good partner for the schools and this is the right thing to do."
The local effort began as an idea from Times-Republican Publisher Mike Schlesinger and Managing Editor Abigail Pelzer. They then recruited a committee of community leaders to help with the effort. The noon hour was a tough time to get all area students there, but a leadership group of students were there from Marshalltown High School and a group from Marshalltown Area Catholic Schools walked over from the St. Mary's building.
"It's great to see all the orange and that people genuinely care for us," said MHS senior Taylor Wagner. "We are so proud of our school district."
T-R PHOTO BY GARRY BRANDENBURG
The crowd gathers for the anti-bullying rally on the Marshall County courthouse lawn in this aerial shot taken at noon on Thursday. Hundreds of people in orange Not In Our Town T-shirts gathered to show support for the local effort.
The leader of the school district, Superintendent Marvin Wade, was in turn proud of the community for the support.
"One of the great things about this community is that people recognize the responsibility to be role models for the children and the youth," Wade said.
Denny Grabenbauer served as host and Wirin read the proclamation from the city designating this week as anti-bullying week in Marshalltown. Patrice O'Neill, of the national Not In Our Town effort, also spoke at the event, saying Marshalltown has organized one of the finest programs she has seen across the country.
Upcoming Not In Our Town events
Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. "Finding Kind" film at the Orpheum. Free event, but must have ticket.
September 21 ORANGE OUT at MHS high school football game against Ottumwa.
Sept. 27 at 7 p.m. "Light in the Darkness" film at the Orpheum. Free event, but must have ticket.
Sept. 27 at noon Women's Forum on refugees at Marshalltown Public Library.
October: Youth Prayer Service to address spiritual concepts of NIOT.
Oct. 10 National Anti-Bullying Day.
The rally was held in conjunction with the Rachel's Challenge anti-bullying events that were held for the schools and the community Thursday.
JBS provided a pork burger lunch and Mike McQuade, human resources director for the company, said it was important they took part in the program.
"We see this as a civic responsibility and a way to show support for a great cause," McQuade said.
Wade said the conversation about bullying will not end with the event Thursday.
"Hopefully, people feel empowered to do something about it," he said. "We want to continue that message."
MACS third grader Hayden Oetker, 8, talked about the anti-bullying effort succinctly when she was asked why bullying should be prevented.
"It's not nice," she said.
Contact Andrew Potter at 641-753-6611 or firstname.lastname@example.org