Character champion

The voice of Hamilton County will be recognized tonight as a champion of character.

Pat Powers, KQWC news director, will receive the character champion award at the 2013 Iowa Character Awards this evening at the Hy-Vee conference center in West Des Moines.

Powers has been involved with the character counts program at Webster City Middle School for about a decade. He was asked by WCMS principal Becky Hacker-Kluver to help organize the event. Powers has also spoken at Character Counts day, and is a proponent of the message that the program sends to young people.

“I truly believe in the six pillars of character, fairness, responsibility, citizenship, trustworthiness, respectfulness and caring,” Powers said.

Character Counts first began as a weeklong event at the middle school, but has since been condensed into a single day. One day each March at the middle school, a full day is dedicated to teaching students about those six pillars of character. It also features about 20 speakers, entertainment, food and a movie.

In 2006, Powers was nominated as an honorable mention for the awards ceremony by Hacker-Kluver. He has served as a judge for the statewide character counts event for several years, and it was there in Des Moines that Powers found out he would be honored for the event. After being told there was a big surprise waiting for him, he sat down for dinner with other members of the state Character Counts staff. After dinner, it was announced that he was the Character Champion this year.

Through a round of applause, Powers found himself stunned.

“Oh gosh, I did not expect that,”Powers said. “I just couldn’t believe it.”

Powers, who was nominated by the Character Counts organization itself, will be honored with 12 other character award winners and several other honorable mentions. Powers said that he will be honored along with a couple other nearby winners, including Sarah Wilson of Eagle Grove, who will receive a citizen of character award, and Feelhaver Elementary in Fort Dodge, which will receive an honorable mention school of character award.

The award came unexpectedly to Powers, but is not surprising for someone who so fully understands the importance of the character counts program.

“We’re seeing a lot of people nowadays that are insensitive to things. We need people to care about one another. We need to be fair with one another and help make our community as best as can be. I’m a true believer of that and I’d like to try and make a difference in someone’s day each and every day,” Powers said.

Not only does Powers think that the pillars of character are still important in the 21st century, he would like to see the program expanded. He said that Janet Adams, Webster City mayor, will be a guest at the awards ceremony. According to Powers, Adams said she would like to see the character counts program imposed on city employees. He also noted that in Fort Dodge, the police have the six pillars of character right on their cars.

“I hope we can get this program fully here in Webster City. We really do need it, and I’m so proud of this program,” Powers said.