Centerville resident Marty Braster will be honored as an “Iowan of the Day” during this year’s Iowa State Fair, which began last week.
Braster is one of 10 people from around the state who were chosen to be honored this year by the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation and Cookies Food Products. The recipients are chosen from nominations that are received from all over the state.
Braster said he was grateful that people would think to nominate him.
“Humbled is the best way to describe how I feel about this honor,” said Braster. “I am very appreciative of my friends, colleagues, and neighbors for nominating me.”
According to a press release from the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation, the Iowan of the Day program began in 1997 and “allows the Blue Ribbon Foundation to recognize Iowa's most outstanding individuals. The program continues to honor Iowans 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.”
The press release went on to highlight some of Braster’s accomplishments and the reasons he was chosen to be honored.
According to the press release, “Marty shares many passions of his with the Centerville community, including caring for the land and improving the environment for Iowans. His education in biology and agronomy has led him to opportunities that benefit the entire state of Iowa, as he is leading projects to improve water and soil quality.
“Not only does Marty develop new soil conservation methods to improve Iowa's water resources, but he has also volunteered his time in Puerto Rico with the United States Peace Corps improving their conservation methods. From developing the Loess Scenic Byway to coordinating the Chariton Valley Switchgrass Project, Marty has received national recognition for the work he has done to improve the state of Iowa.”
Braster is employed as the Environmental Management Specialist at Rathbun Regional Water Association and Plant Superintendent Jeremy Buckingham shared his thoughts on Braster with the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation as well.
"Marty radiates 'Iowa' values and integrity by his willingness to put in long hours, stay late, come in early, make the right contact, lend an ear or opinion and offer any resource he has to make the lives of his family, friends and neighbors better," said Buckingham, according to the press release.
Braster said that he has enjoyed going to the fair many times over the years, sometimes with his family and other times for work.
“In addition to family visits to the fair, my work at Rathbun Regional Water Association and with the Rathbun Land and Water Alliance has taken me to the fair on a number of occasions to share information about our efforts to protect Rathbun Lake and to promote our area to other fairgoers,” said Braster.
In addition to his work at RRWA, Braster is also involved in the community in other ways. He currently serves the Centerville Community School District as the school board president and has been a member of the board for several years. He was also involved in creating a community soccer club and volunteers to teach children the skills of soccer and good character. Braster and his wife, Rebeca, have one son, Lewis, who currently attends Central College in Pella.
Braster will be recognized on Thursday, Aug. 17 at the fair. There will be a presentation on the Anne and Bill Riley stage at 2:30 p.m. Braster will receive accommodations at the Des Moines Marriott Downtown, a cash prize, a gift bag, grandstand tickets, Iowa State Fair tickets and he will be able to use the Iowan of the Day golf cart.
“I am very proud of the opportunity to represent our community of Centerville at the fair, and will spend the day trying to do that as best I can,” said Braster.