Six alumni will be recognized with Mid-Prairie Alumni awards during Kalona Days on June 15.

They will ride in the 10 a.m. parade, and will receive their awards following the Community Awards presentations at 2:30 p.m.

This year’s Alumni Award winners are:

• Steve Berger, Class of 1982, Alumni Achievement Award: Berger and his wife, Julie, operate the fourth generation family farm near Wellman, producing swine and about 2,200 acres of corn and soybeans.

Berger has continued his father, Dennis’, practices of no-till farming and has become a local expert on the use of cover crops between corn and soybean seasons.

The Bergers were named 2018 Master Farmers by Wallaces Farmer Magazine.

• Blake Hershberger, Class of 2002, Alumni Vocational Award: Hershberger started Blake Hershberger Enterprises in 2005, with his sister as his first employee. By 2006, the company had grown to 20 employees, and now employs 48. He started with small, manageable concrete jobs, while he and his wife, Jenni, began to build spec homes.

In 2016, he expanded to add concrete cutting and core drilling to his services. He purchases pumping companies in Pella and Des Moines, and recently added an additional shop in Iowa City, and serves customers in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota and Missouri.

• Jeremiah Gingerich, Class of 1996, Alumni Service Award: Gingerich was selected for his extensive work with the Mid-Prairie Foundation and the Kalona Historical Society.

He has served on the Mid-Prairie Foundation for seven years, including three years as president. He has served on the Kalona Historical Society’s board of directors for 15 years, including two years as president. 

Gingerich is currently the vice president/branch manager of Federation Bank in Wellman.

• Jessica Faselt, Class of 2010, Alumni Fine Arts Award: An American soprano, Faselt is in her first year of the Lindermann Young Artist Program at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, and made her Met debut as “a novice” in Puccini’s “Suor Angelica.”

Faselt was a studio artist with the Florida Grand Opera. She graduated from the University of Iowa School of Music with honors and received her Masters of Music from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.

• Don Showalter, Class of 1970, Alumni Athletic Award: Showalter coached Mid-Prairie basketball from 1984-2012, and has been a coach with USA Basketball since 2016.

He also coached basketball at Lone Tree, Central Elkader and Iowa City. His career record in 42 seasons is 601-346, including a 446-202 record at Mid-Prairie. 

He was the 12th coach in Iowa history to reach 600 wins. He was a 10-time Iowa Coach of the Year, National Federation state and Regional Coach of the Year, National Coach of the Year by the National High school Athletic Coaches Association. 

• Steve Yotty, Class of 1971, Community Impact Hall of Fame: Yotty’s nomination for this award emphasized his involvement in an impressive level of business development, community service and being a long-time supporter of everything Kalona.

Yotty joined the Kalona Volunteer Fire Department in 1974 and succeeded his father, Bart, as chief in 1995. He also succeeded his father as president of the KCTC board in 2006.

He manages the family businesses: Yotty’s Ace Hardware, Yotty’s Golf Cart Sales and Service and Yotty’s Ice Cream.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.