Thursday, December 3, 2020

Join our email blast

Uncategorized

Des Moines’ most “likeable” people

11/30/2016

When we asked Cityview readers to tell us who they thought was “likeable,” they responded with dozens of most-likeablenominations ranging from newscasters and politicians to school teachers and business owners. The nominating letters were heartwarming and funny and sincere, but the related comments were entertaining on their own. We kept the rules simple. All local nominations were accepted, and we tallied the number of “likes” that were given to each person. We then contacted those with the most “likes” and asked them to name a charity and attend our event. Not all chose to participate, but most did. And why not? Being “likeable” is a good thing, and so is raising money for charity. And that’s exactly what this contest and the related event are all about.

So check out the list of Des Moines’ Most “Likeable” People and then be sure to attend the event to cast your vote and support all the participants and their chosen charities. The male and female participants who receive the most votes will each receive a minimum of $750 for their charity. Opportunities will be available to make donations to all other charities as well.

Megan Salois

1. Occupation? Broadcast Meteorologist at WHO-HD female-photo-1-salois-photo

2. City where you live? Urbandale

3. Hometown? Hard to say. Born in Elmira, New York; grew up in Marietta, Georgia; and now my home base (where my parents and one sister live) is Granbury, Texas. So I consider MY hometown now to be the communities of Urbandale and Johnston, because this is where I’m raising my boys.

HIV

4. Share one thing about yourself that most people would be surprised to learn. I grew up very afraid of thunderstorms and tornadoes. Lightning struck my dad as a teenager, and knowing that and what happened to him afterward, I had a great fear of severe storms. I decided I wanted to learn more about the weather, so that I know why we get the weather we get, and so I can stay on top of bad weather to stay aware and pass that awareness on to my community to keep others safe. I still have a bit of anxiety with approaching storms.

5. Who do you most admire as a person? Shannon Cofield of Drake University. I grew up with Shannon and her girls next door in Georgia. She was one of the very few working moms in my life as a kid. I admired her as a working mom who succeeded in working for a non-profit while also succeeding at raising two beautiful young women. I can only hope to give of myself as much as she has over the years to the community, her career and her family. Plus, she made it look so easy.

6. Which charity have you chosen, and why? Dress for Success Des Moines. I love that this organization helps women overcome whatever obstacles that may be in their way to get their dream job and then be able to provide for themselves and their families. Visit desmoines.dressforsuccess.org for details.

Paul J. Parizek

1. Occupation? Sergeant, Des Moines Police Department. Currently assigned as the Public Information Officer. male-photo-1-parizek

2. City where you live? Des Moines….the greatest city in the nation!

3. Hometown? I started out in Texas, but I was raised in Des Moines.

4. Share one thing about yourself that most people would be surprised to learn. I’m terrified of snakes.

5. Who do you most admire as a person? Chief Dana Wingert. A great leader and a greater friend. A truly inspirational and honorable man.

6. Which charity have you chosen, and why? The memorial funds for Des Moines Police Dept. Sgt. Tony Beminio and Urbandale Police Dept. Officer Justin Martin — two heroes who gave their lives protecting the communities that they chose to serve. Visit squareup.com/store/des-moines-police-officers-credit-union for details.

Jason Parkin

1. Occupation? Sales Support at Compass Financial Services, fill-in meteorologist at KCCI male-photo-2-jason-parkin

2. City where you live? Urbandale

3. Hometown? LeMars

4. Share one thing about yourself that most people would be surprised to learn. I’ve been bitten by dogs four times, for a grand total of 31 stitches.

5. Who do you most admire as a person? Jesus

6. Which charity have you chosen, and why? The Pitt Hopkins Research Foundation, as I have a son with that genetic disorder. Visit pitthopkins.org for details.

Megan McDowell

1. Occupation? Legal Assistant/Photographer female-photo-2-megan-mcdowell

2. City where you live? Des Moines

3. Hometown? Lorimor

4. Share one thing about yourself that most people would be surprised to learn. That despite being a land-locked Iowan, I am a certified scuba diver who has swam with sharks and even shaken hands with an octopus.

5. Who do you most admire as a person? My friend, Da’vie Chan, for her drive, generosity, kindness and acceptance of others.

6. Which charity have you chosen, and why? Heartland Greyhound Adoption, a volunteer not-for-profit organization, formed and operating in the Midwest, through which I have adopted a sweet, retired racing greyhound through named Julius. The organization saved him and paid for his ACL surgery and all of his medical needs and treatments. They care immensely for the racing greyhounds. In the past, without the help of volunteer organizations like this one, greyhounds would be euthanized if they were injured or too old to compete, and it can still happen today. This organization is dear to my heart because of my new furry friend, and I would very much like to get the word out there about the dedication and monetary needs of this volunteer organization. Visit heartlandgreyhoundadoption.org for details.

Josh Fisher

1. Occupation? Senior director, digital content and communications for the Iowa Wild hockey team male-josh-fisher

2. City where you live? Des Moines

3. Hometown? Cincinnati

4. Share one thing about yourself that most people would be surprised to learn. I relish quiet alone time.

5. Who do you most admire as a person? My parents.

6. Which charity have you chosen, and why? Suicide Prevention and Resource Center in Des Moines. I lost some friends and family members due to the illness. I think mental health awareness is not where it should be, and a lot people miss the signs that end tragically. Visit www.sprc.org/states/iowa for details.

Rebecca Anderson

1. Occupation? I provide client service and manage ongoing relationships with international affiliates and institutional clients female-photo-3-rebecca-anderson-photofor a global asset management company.

2. City where you live? Windsor Heights

3. Hometown? Sioux City

4. Share one thing about yourself that most people would be surprised to learn. I was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer at the age of 33, five days after giving birth to my third child. It has been a year since my initial diagnosis, and I am proud to say I’m stronger and thriving even more than ever before.

5. Who do you most admire as a person? The person I admire most is my niece, Allie. At the age of 10, she endured 40 rounds of chemotherapy to destroy a benign tumor (she named it “Maud”) that was found in the middle of her optic nerve and was causing her eyesight to weaken. Throughout the course of her year-long regimen, Allie remained strong and full of life. While she did have her bad days, and it tore us apart to see a child so helpless, she was determined to fight “Maud” and regain her sight. Her attitude and perseverance during that time was so admirable, and I made sure to remember this every day during my journey through treatment almost two years later. Both of my sons remember that Allie lost her hair, but they don’t remember her being sad or sick from the treatment. When I first explained to them I had cancer, they both asked if I would lose my hair (like Allie did), but it didn’t even cross their minds that I would become ill…and this is because it was so apparent that Allie carried herself with great composure and pure happiness the entire course of her treatment. What an admirable person.

6. Which charity have you chosen, and why? My charity of choice is the Children’s Cancer Connection (CCC) here in Des Moines. I have been donating my time and money to CCC since I started wrapping presents at Christmas time for their booth at Valley West Mall, almost 11 years ago. After seeing my niece go through treatment at the Children’s Hospital in Omaha, and experiencing firsthand my own regimen of 16 rounds of chemo, 28 radiation treatments and one cyber knife treatment throughout this past year, I know what it’s like for these children and their families to suffer through the pain and heartaches of a cancer diagnosis. Children’s Cancer Connection helps pediatric patients and their families get through these tough times by providing camps, education materials, support groups and other fun activities to help make life more normal for them. To me, there is no more joy in life than seeing a happy, smiling child. While cancer doesn’t care, CCC does. Visit www.childrenscancerconnection.org for details.

Jeff Coder

1. Occupation? Fitness professional jeff-coder

2. City where you live? West Des Moines

3. Hometown? Boone

4. Share one thing about yourself that most people would be surprised to learn. I think most people surprised to learn that I am actually from Boone. I have traveled around the world (literally), not even including my own time in the military, and have moved more times than I can count. In fact, both of my sisters were born in England while my dad was stationed there. Boone is kind of absurd given my life story.

5. Who do you most admire as a person? I most admire my mother. My dad was active duty Navy for 24 years, so we moved constantly. She juggled raising four children, being a schoolteacher and persevered with all of the stress and hardships that accompany all of that.

6. Which charity have you chosen, and why? I chose the Wounded Warrior Project. I am a veteran myself, and I have seen firsthand the effects that are suffered by many of our veterans. I also have had the privilege to work with many of them to rehab both physically and mentally. Visit www.woundedwarriorproject.org for details.

Vickie Welch

1. Occupation? I am the marketing coordinator at the absolutely lovely 3801 Grand Retirement Campus. female-photo-5-vickie-welch

2. City where you live? Des Moines

3. Hometown? Pella

4. Share one thing about yourself that most people would be surprised to learn. People are frequently surprised to learn that I am blessed to still have mijn mooie oma (my beautiful grandmother) with me here on Earth. She is 100 years old.

5. Who do you most admire as a person? There are many people I admire for different reasons, but selecting the one I most admire leads me to my mom, Nancy McCaune. My mom, always kind, gentle and humble, endured the challenges of raising a child with multiple special needs (my late sister, Julie) during a time when professionals recommended immediate institutionalization rather than creating supports to help families keep these children at home. My parents made many sacrifices — without question and without reservation — in order to be able to meet Julie’s needs at home as long as possible.

6. Which charity have you chosen, and why? I have selected Puppy Jake Foundation as my charity, as I believe in the power of pet-love. There are so many large issues requiring resolve with regards to our veterans, but this is something relatively simple that can have a big impact. Puppy Jake Foundation and its volunteers are changing veterans’ lives, one four-legged and service-dog friend at a time. Visit puppyjakefoundation.org for details.

Sophie Homonoff

1. Occupation? Director of Education at the Jewish Federation of Greater DM female-photo-4-sophie-homonoff

2. City where you live? West Des Moines

3. Hometown? Clive

4. Share one thing about yourself that most people would be surprised to learn. I taught in the Washington, D.C. area for 17 years.

5. Who do you most admire as a person? Educators. They work tirelessly and nurture our future daily.

6. Which charity have you chosen, and why? The Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines. We would like to add an inclusive and accessible piece of playground equipment for children to enjoy. Visit www.jewishdesmoines.org for more details.

Joe Gonzalez

1. Occupation? I retired from the Des Moines Police Department a few years ago, and now I’m the executive director of Latinomale-photo-4-joe-gonzalez Resources and Iowa Latino Heritage Festival.

2. City where you live? Des Moines

3. Hometown? My hometown has been Des Moines since moving here from Mexico at the age of 5.

4. Share one thing about yourself that most people would be surprised to learn. The thing that most people would be surprised to learn is that I’m a very private person away from all my work, going back to my time as a police officer and now the Executive Director of Latino Resources. I enjoy my time alone and with family when I get a chance to have my private time. I appreciate my friends and family, especially after almost losing my life in an accident a few years ago.

5. Who do you most admire as a person? I admire Chief Dana Wingert who pushed me to excel as an individual when he was a sergeant and I was an officer. I respected his opinions and insights on being the best person you could possibly be.

6. Which charity have you chosen, and why? I want to give to the Food Bank of Iowa, since we have a problem with hunger. This is a charity that I have much respect for. Visit www.foodbankiowa.org for details.

Heather Ryan

1. Occupation? Owner, Glamour Girls Dress-Up and Princess Parties and Ryan Talent & Consulting female-photo-6-heatherryan

2. City where you live? East Des Moines

3. Hometown? East Des Moines

4. Share one thing about yourself that most people would be surprised to learn. I appeared on TLC’s reality television show, “Toddlers and Tiaras” a half dozen times and created/starred-in the spin off reality show, “Eden’s World.”

5. Who do you most admire as a person? Senator Tom Harkin became the catalyst for my political activism when I attended a Nuclear Freeze Walk that he co-hosted in 1983 (I was 11 years old). His personal story emboldened me to follow suit by joining the Navy, using my GI Bill benefits to attend college and work hard for the fair treatment of all, regardless of skin color, disability, gender or any other “differences.” Harkin is not just a tireless leader, he is a true inspiration to those who believe in fairness and equality.

6. Which charity have you chosen, and why? I have chosen Creative Visions, Human Development Institute as my charity of choice because the organization addresses the underlying issues that contribute to poverty and downward mobility. The founder, Ako Abdul-Samad, is a true leader in the Des Moines community, and I hope to help further the organization’s mission through this small act of recognition. Visit creativevisionsia.org for more details.

William Holmes, A.K.A. Will Keeps

1. Occupation? A producer song writer, activist, motivational speaker, music teacher and mentor. male-photo-7-will-keeps

2. City where you live? Des Moines

3. Hometown? Chicago

4. Share one thing about yourself that most people would be surprised to learn. One thing that people will be surprised about is that I’m scared of birds — all birds (lol) — and that I’m going to give Donald Trump a chance (smh) but, yes, I am.

5. Who do you most admire as a person?Who do I most admire? My dad, Willie James Holmes. R.I.P. My father passed away on 0ct. 30, 2016. My father lived a great life, and he did everything he wanted to do.

6. Which charity have you chosen, and why? The charity I want to support is the Soaring Hearts Foundation. Visit www.soaringhearts.org for details.

Kimba Chelesvig

1. Occupation? Realtor at Keller Williams Realty; Licensed Massage Therapist at Kimba Inc female-photo-6-kimba-chelesvig

2. City where you live? Des Moines (The big “D”)

3. Hometown? Belmond (The center of the universe!)

4. Share one thing about yourself that most people would be surprised to learn. I’m guessing the fact that I’m secretly married to actor Ryan Gosling…LOL!! But, seriously… maybe the fact that I’d love to learn how to play the bagpipes.

5. Who do you most admire as a person? I can think of several people. However, I most admire people who do what that say they are going to do — that seems to be rare these days.

6. Which charity have you chosen, and why? The Animal Rescue League of Iowa. I love this place. I have adopted two dogs from the ARL. Ellie Mae passed away in September — she was my best friend for almost 16 years — and Dixie, who is 7 years old, hilarious, sweet and loving. The ARL does such a wonderful job of helping all kinds of animals find a new home. Having my dogs has really changed my life for the best. Visit www.arl-iowa.org for details.

Josue Miranda

1. Occupation? Personal Trainer at LifeTime Fitness male-photo-6-josue-miranda

2. City where you live? Grimes

3. Hometown? San Juan, Puerto Rico

4. Share one thing about yourself that most people would be surprised to learn. I didn’t know English until I moved to the U.S. to attend college in 2000.

5. Who do you most admire as a person? My mom. She raised my sister and I by herself and is a very strong woman.

6. Which charity have you chosen, and why? Make a Wish Foundation. For wish kids, just the act of making their wish come true can give them the courage to comply with their medical treatments. Visit wish.org for details. ♦

Now that you’ve met them, come vote for Des Moines’ Most “Likeable” Person!

Friday, Dec. 9 at The Keg Stand

3530 Westown Parkway, West Des Moines

No Cover. Party starts at 6 p.m.

Music & Drink Specials

 

 

One Comment

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

HIV