Letters to the Pilot

Tuesday, October 7, 2003

Why Iowa impresses


In the Sept. 26 edition of the Centerville Daily Iowegian, managing editor Dan Ehl profiled the visit of British writer James Buchan. As a literary magazine author, Buchan has traveled the world. Recently, he came to southern Iowa to give his overseas readers a glimpse of small-town America.

He was impressed during his 10-day visit, not only with the character of the people he met but also with the quality of life in Iowa's smallest communities.

No matter where he went, Buchan said he found "incredible kindness" and hospitality and was impressed with the dignity and work ethic exhibited by the farmers he met.

Those of us that live in Iowa know first-hand that Buchan's words ring true. Everywhere you look, Iowans are cooperating, contributing and a whole lot more.

You'll find people representing a variety of professions coming together to voluntarily serve on school, civic and community boards and committees. You'll find area farmers rolling up their sleeves to help plant the final seed or harvest the last kernel when a neighboring family is in need. And you'll see an entire community join hands in prayer to remember the life of a deceased resident.

Take another look and you'll observe rural and urban residents sitting side-by-side cheering on the local high school sports team - as well as exceptional performances turned in by the visiting players. You'll also read about residents uniting to create jobs and economic development, like in Oskaloosa where a farmer and local business owner have partnered to plant a vineyard and build a winery... People living in Iowa's rural communities step forward in a spirit of giving, providing much-needed resources for everything from playground equipment and a new fire truck to athletic uniforms and a community park.

Sure, there will always be challenges facing Iowa and its people. However, it's important to remember that our rural communities remain special places to live and work. Sometimes it's good to be reminded. Thanks, Mr. Buchan.

- Aaron Putze, Iowa Farm Bureau