Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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December 28, 2008

Sullivan’s Salvos 12/30/08

Happy New Year! I hope 2009 is the healthiest and happiest you have had to date!

Go Hawks! I hope that each and every one of you is lucky enough to be reading this in sunny Tampa! If not, join me in rooting for the Hawks from the icy comfort of eastern Iowa.

It has been a tough year in Johnson County. No matter what measures you use, the people of Johnson County had more than our share of bad things happen in 2008.

I am not whether or not this is related, but I have noticed another disturbing trend… people seem to be treating each other worse. When I ask others, they claim to see it too. In general, there seems to be less tolerance, more anger, and greater impatience. We are less kind and polite with one another. Worse yet, I have seen myself behave badly much more often than I would like.

Intuitively, this makes some sense. Perhaps people under stress are too concerned over other matters, and cannot focus on “little things” like thinking of others. Perhaps that attempt at pop psychology is totally off the mark; I just don’t know.

Whatever the explanations, this is not a good trend. I know I need to improve my behavior. So what can we do about it? I welcome your thoughts!

2008 is coming to a close, and it is time for honoring a few select Johnson County residents with that most treasured of honors, the Salvos Salute. A few observations:

* This is the fourth annual set of awards, and there are always more people who deserve awards than there are awards to give. We live in a great County!

* There are some people out there that could win every year. I am trying to honor different folks, but repeat winners are not out of the question. As a matter of fact, 2008 sees our first-ever repeat winners!

* Salvos Salutes do not have specific criteria, but you can bet that in general, most of the winners are courageous, advocate for peace and justice, have good ideas, speak truth to power, avoid hypocrisy, and look out for the less fortunate.

Without further adieu, your 2008 Salvos Salutes go to:

Flood survivors and volunteers: The community is full of people who were victims of the flood. Their positive responses to very difficult situations have been an inspiration!

Steve McGuire: In addition to being a great guy, Steve has risked his own life 3 different times to pull drowning people out of the river. He helped organize Parkview Terrace before and after the flood, and donates vast amounts of his time to serving people with less.

Tom Trump: A member of the Solon Volunteer Fire Department, Tom volunteered in the Johnson County Emergency Operations Center for over two weeks, serving as the person in charge of getting resources (pumps, sandbags, generators, etc.) to the people who needed them. This was an incredibly stressful job, with requests coming from all directions (Hills, Coralville, Iowa City, the UI, the National Guard, etc. were all requesting assistance) at all hours of the day. Tom handled it all masterfully. Tom also brought a great attitude to the job. He was so calm, confident, competent, and positive. He had a laser focus on keeping people safe. He really helped keep the whole place going the right direction.

The United Way of Johnson County: They always do a great job raising funds that serve our community. But when the flood hit, the United Way of Johnson County really mobilized, creating a Volunteer Action Center in a matter of days. In addition, they managed flood relief funds and handled all their usual duties. The United Way could win this award any year; they are particularly deserving this year.

County & Municipal employees: It has been about 6 months since the waters crested, so the anti-government types feel safe returning to their pre-flood pattern of bashing public employees and public employee unions. Well, the anti-government crowd may not appreciate public employees, but they are getting a big Salvos Salute for 2008! I worked side-by-side with employees from the Sheriff’s Office, Auditor’s Office, Facilities, Ambulance, Roads, Information Services, and countless other departments during the flood. Many employees worked 12-16 hour shifts for two straight weeks. Some got hotel rooms downtown because they could not get home. No one complained; they just kept us all safe. Remember that next time you hear public employees and their unions being criticized!

Mark Martin: Pastor Martin not only served the members of Saint Andrew, but also countless local organizations like the Iowa City Public Library, Elder Services, the United Way, and many more. Every time I take on an issue - poverty, homelessness, health care, hunger, tax fairness, volunteerism – just about anything – I do so inspired by the sermons of Pastor Martin. There are hundreds of other folks in our community similarly inspired.

Marybeth Slonneger: The Press Citizen said this so well in late November that I am copying it almost verbatim: Where most people saw a decrepit rental house, Slonneger recognized Iowa City's last physical connection to Isaac Wetherby. The 150-year-old cottage had been identified in earlier surveys of the Goosetown neighborhood, but no action was taken to ensure its preservation until a property owner wanted to demolish it. Luckily, Slonneger convinced the owner to sell her the house and to delay his plans until she could relocate it.

Richard and Marilyn Jensen: Simply good people who seem to donate time, talent, and support to all kinds of good causes throughout Johnson County. Veteran’s events, school events, church events, social services events, library events… The Jensens just quietly do good work. It is the unsung efforts of people like this that make a community strong.

Obama volunteers: Iowa made Barack Obama. And Johnson County led Iowa to that point. So, if you volunteered for President Elect Obama… especially way back in early 2007… this one’s for you! You made history!

Janelle Rettig & Robin Butler (the first two-time winners of a Salvos Salute!): While many people worked on the passage of the Land, Water, Future initiative, Janelle and Robin took the lead. In addition to volunteering hundreds of hours, they strategized, fundraised, and became the public face of the initiative. Standing up to a great deal of public pressure and two well funded “No” campaigns, Janelle & Robin stuck it out, stayed positive, and won the day. In 50 years, tens of thousands of people will appreciate their efforts. I appreciate them now - therefore the Salvos Salute!

Congratulations to all these very deserving winners! You make Johnson County the great place that it is! Thanks for all you do!

DID YOU KNOW? Sullivan’s Salvos is sent once per week to approximately 350 individual E-mail addresses.

Anyone interested in learning more about County government should take a look at the County website- .

"Sullivan’s Salvos" is sent once per week to any interested party. It will give a brief update on issues of interest to Johnson County residents.

These messages come solely from Rod Sullivan, and neither represents the viewpoints of the whole Board of Supervisors nor those of groups or individuals otherwise mentioned.

If you do NOT want the weekly E-mail, simply reply to this message, and type "unsubscribe" in the subject line.

If you know anyone else who might be interested, just forward this message. They can E-mail me at with "subscribe" in the subject line.

As always, feel free to contact me at 354-7199 or I look forward to serving you!



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