DES MOINES — The Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation and Cookies Food Products present Ellen Lemke of Bedford as an Iowan of the Day for the 2013 Iowa State Fair.
Seven days a week, Lemke volunteers in the Bedford community. She sings in the choir, is a member of the Order of the Eastern Star and volunteers as a guide at the Taylor County Historical Museum. Lemke was featured in an “Our Iowa” magazine article where she shared her secret recipe to life and volunteering.
“I try to stay busy,” she said. “I found out a long time ago that you can’t just sit around and twiddle your thumbs and expect to enjoy life. I don’t care how old you are, you can make life interesting if you try.”
Lemke has written humorous monologues and skits to perform at local nursing homes, churches and community groups. She is most famous for the one she calls “Putting on Panty Hose.” Lemke also expresses herself through poems and her weekly column for the Bedford Times-Press. Lemke has seven published books of poetry.
Lemke was born in Newton in 1915 and has lived in Iowa since, with no intent of leaving. Her loyalty to the state of Iowa alone makes her a worthy candidate of this award.
Lemke’s day of recognition will be Friday at the 2013 Iowa State Fair. Along with a one night’s stay at the Downtown Des Moines Marriott, she will receive a cash prize, grandstand tickets and use of the Iowan of the Day golf cart. Lemke will also receive a special introduction at 2:30 p.m. on the Anne and Bill Riley Stage.
Founded in 1997, the Iowan of the Day program allows the Blue Ribbon Foundation to recognize Iowa’s most outstanding individuals. The program continues to honor Iowan’s across the state who have made a difference in others’ lives, while upholding the characteristics associated with Iowa – dependability, integrity, hard work and sense of community.