I rise to ask the House of Representatives to join me in honoring a dedicated and community-minded young man from Cass County for this week’s Iowan of the Week. Cole Sampson, now a freshman at Iowa State University, was recently honored with the 2020 Silver Cord Scholarship in his hometown of Atlantic, Iowa. The Silver Cord Program promotes volunteerism with all civic organizations in the area. Atlantic High School seniors who volunteered a minimum of 200 hours throughout their high school career graduated this year with a silver cord and were eligible for a scholarship provided by the Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce.
“The Silver Cord program was started to educate students about the importance of community service. It gives students the opportunity to see firsthand how investing their time can enhance and grow their community,” Bailey Smith, Executive Director of the Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce said.
Cole volunteered for numerous community activities, including Red Cross community blood drives, RAGBRAI, AtlanticFest, Coca-Cola Days, Christmas in Atlantic Ice-Skating Rink, and more. One of his favorite days among them was enlisting at a company picnic for a local organization. There, he manned bouncy castles and was able to interact with a lot of great community members.
“A big lesson I learned from these experiences was the importance of coordination and communication. I saw the many details and all the preparation that goes into events like these and how it can go smoothly if things are well planned and executed. I come from a family who believes in volunteering,” Cole stated.
Volunteerism is significant to the entire Sampson family, Cole’s mother Jackie being an encouraging force for Cole to continue volunteering within his community. His grandmother, Eleanor Hoover, was also a role model for what it means to be a true member of the community.
“My grandmother was always ready to help in the community in any way she was able, whether it was with sporting competitions, YMCA events, or with anyone else who needed a hand,” said Cole.
Maintaining a rural community takes many hands and the work is never finished. Atlantic’s Silver Cord Scholarship program is a great example of not only how to maintain a community, but also how to instill from a young age a sense of purpose and pride in giving back for the greater good. Because of that early engagement and opportunity to learn, a young man is carrying important Iowa values with him from Atlantic to Ames and beyond. I am proud to recognize Cole for his dedication to supporting his hometown and causes that make a meaningful, local impact. I am even prouder knowing there are many young people from communities across southwest Iowa who are carrying that same spirit forward as they embark on the next phase. It is my honor to share Cole Sampson’s story and recognize him as our Iowan of the Week.