Kim Hellige receives 2014 Gene Schultz Award

At Thursday's Partners in Progress Banquet, Kim Hellige was announced as the recipient of the 2014 Gene Schultz Community Service Award.

The award is given each year to an individual who not only volunteers and dedicates their time towards making Ottumwa a better place, but is also passionate about the Ottumwa community. Hellige is the Programs Community Director for the Ottumwa School District, President of the Wapello County Trails Council and is heavily involved with the Blue Zones project.

While not an Ottumwa native, Hellige has resided in the City of Bridges all of her adult life and is fortunate for how the community has given back to her.

"One of my favorite quotes is from Margaret Mead and it's, 'never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world. It's the only thing, in fact, that ever has'," Hellige said. "And that quote, I think, has always driven me to get involved with things and to do things. I'm blessed by all the opportunities Ottumwa has given me."

Hellige said she was in "shock" when she heard she would be receiving the award, and attributes everything she's done to the group-effort of the committees she serves on.

"I just feel really fortunate that I've had the opportunity to give back to the community and to be involved in some things that I hope have made a difference, like trails, which I've been pretty passionate about," she said. "So it's a huge honor to be included in a group of people who have made a difference in Ottumwa and I'm just really humbled by that."

Hellige was selected out of eight nominees for the Gene Schultz Award this year.