Madam Speaker, I rise today to honor Jeff Olson, a community pharmacist at Montross Pharmacy, as this week’s Iowan of the Week. Since 1995, Jeff has been the owner and operator of Montross Pharmacy in Winterset, Iowa, which this year is celebrating its 100th anniversary.
If you were to ask Jeff what it means to be a community pharmacist, he’d emphasize one word: community. Every day, Jeff works to make sure nobody goes without the care they need – whether that means fielding questions at the pharmacy counter, delivering prescriptions at home, or supporting local health as president of the Madison County Health Trust. Community pharmacies like Montross Pharmacy are mainstays and integral parts of the health care system in our small towns.
When COVID-19 forced us to adapt to different daily routines, Jeff and his staff at Montross Pharmacy redoubled their commitment to serving Winterset. They knew the pandemic presented a once-in-a-lifetime challenge, but they resolved to get through it together. Together, Montross Pharmacy kept its doors open, providing continued access to pharmacy services for residents in a safe setting. Jeff and his staff were on call 24/7. And, trust me, if there were more than 24 hours in a day to give, they’d have been there.
They also quickly added new services for the community, including thousands of COVID-19 tests and vaccinations. It wasn’t always easy. When faced with a vaccine shortage, Jeff took it upon himself to drive six hours to secure more doses for his friends and neighbors. His hard work did not go unnoticed. In fact, one resident – an older woman who had been homebound during the pandemic – exclaimed to Jeff that the vaccine he administered was “the best gift she could receive.”
Jeff and his family have made a lasting mark on Winterset. Decades ago, Jeff’s grandfather left his mark by welding on the cupola of the Madison County Courthouse. Today, Jeff is leaving a different kind of mark. In each COVID-19 vaccination he delivers, Jeff sees the things that make Winterset his home – a summer day enjoyed at the pool, a youth sports game, and his kids laughing over lunch with friends.
Jeff’s selflessness is truly infectious, and I know that Winterset will see the impact of his hard work for years to come. I am sincerely grateful for Jeff’s commitment to his family, friends, and neighbors, and it is my honor to recognize Jeff Olson as Iowan of the Week.