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Bumsted is Solon’s Iowan of the Day

State fair accolade for avid volunteer

SOLON– Kelsey Bumsted was humbled someone thought to nominate her as Iowan of the Day at the Iowa State Fair.
If nothing else, she hopes it highlights some of the volunteer opportunities that are available in Solon.
“We are really lucky to have a lot of thriving organizations in this town,” Bumsted added. “Whatever gift that you might have, whether it’s writing calligraphy or being good at Excel spreadsheets or chalkboard drawing, whatever your gift is, odds are you can share it somewhere in our community.”
Bumsted, 39, was selected as the state fair’s Iowan of the Day for Monday, Aug. 12, based on a principal nomination submitted by Carol Richards.
Bumsted endlessly volunteers for the betterment of the community and its residents, Richards said in her nomination.
“She is a worker bee,” Richards noted. “The choice she has made to work weekends allows her to selflessly give two resources our society seems to never have enough of– time and love. If you need a job done, call Kelsey. If you need someone level headed who operates with integrity, call Kelsey. If you need someone to rally towards a community event, call Kelsey.”
Bumsted has been active in the Lakeview Elementary and Solon Middle School Parent Teacher Organizations (PTO), the Solon Recreation Advisory Team (formerly the Parks and Recreation Commission) and Boys Scouts, Richards noted in her nomination.
In addition, Bumsted has served as a softball, baseball, basketball and soccer coach for beginning players, takes fresh-baked dessert for the family meal and fellowship time at Solon United Methodist Church, and within her own Plum Street neighborhood helped organize a Walking School Bus and a 4th of July neighborhood party.
“I didn’t quite realize the list was so extensive either, until it was all on paper,” Bumstead observed.
She’s been involved in the PTO since her children were in kindergarten and has served as treasurer for the last five years. She’s popcorn chair for the Scouts and volunteers a week for summer camp. Her days with Parks and Recreation date back to the hiring of the first recreation coordinator.
Since 1997, the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation and Cookies Food Products have recognized outstanding Iowans “who personify the greatness of Iowa with a strong work ethic, loyalty to helping others, and an exceptional sense of Iowa pride,” according to the fair’s website.
Nominees for Iowan of the Day are evaluated on community involvement, volunteerism, personal achievements and involvement with youth.
Winners receive four Iowa State Fair admission tickets, an introduction on the Anne & Bill Riley Stage, four grandstand show tickets for their day (in this case, Toby Keith), privilege to use the Iowan of the Day golf cart for the day, VIP parking, accommodations at the Des Moines Marriott Downtown and $200 cash.
“The kids are most excited about the golf cart for the day,” Bumsted reported. “It’s labeled as ‘Iowan for the Day’ you know, so it’s this special kind of privilege.”
Bumsted grew up in Holstein, a town of about 1,200 people 46 miles east of Sioux City on Highway 20 (but it doesn’t have an exit, she added). She graduated as part of the largest class ever for Galva-Holstein High School (now consolidated into another district), 76.
“Every single year we went to the state fair,” she recalled. “That was a big thing for Northwest Iowa. You always went to the fair.”
She attended the University of Iowa (UI), graduating with a bachelor of science in radiation science through the College of Medicine, and has since been part of the UI Hospitals and Clinics’ interventional radiology department. For the last four years she has also served as an adjunct professor in the College of Radiation Science.
About 10 years ago, she and her husband Shane decided on a move, but needed to stay in the area for employment reasons.
“Coralville-Iowa City was way too big for us because we’re both from small town Iowa,” she explained. “We looked all around the perimeter of the corridor and landed on Solon.”
Attending the state fair has continued to be a tradition for her two sons, Grant and Collin, and her daughter, Nora.
While her children aren’t involved in 4H, she wants them to see things going on in the state that aren’t sports-related. They watch the showmanship and talent shows, and while they never go to the midway, they always eat the food.
“We always have to eat all the food, and we definitely have to ride the big slide,” Bumsted noted. “We love the giant slide.”
State fair visits also include a stop at the Varied Industries Building to collect temporary tattoos and to see Herky and to buy a bucket of the cookies being sold in the corner booth.
She had no inkling of her selection as Iowan of the Day and found out from a phone call from the fair.
She almost didn’t answer, thinking it was about a donation (she and her husband are contributors), but picked up to talk to the volunteer she knew would be staffing the phones.
As the call went on, she learned she’d been nominated as Iowan of the Day.
“I said, ‘I’m sorry, what?’” she said. “And I had to ask her– her name was Gabby– I said ‘Well, Gabby how excited should I be about this?’” she said. “And she’s like ‘This is really awesome,’ and I’m like ‘OK, I believe you, this is great! What do I have to do?’”
Bumsted asked who had submitted her nomination, and Richards, who volunteers with Bumsted, had not asked for anonymity. Bumsted called her with the news and learned many other people were involved.
“Apparently my husband was in on it,” she noted. “So it was quite a secret.”
Bumsted was expecting a substantial entourage. In addition to her immediate family, her sisters, a niece, a nephew, acquaintances from work and friends from hometown hoped to see her there.
“I have my own little cheering squad,” She said. “Basically a day at the fair. Just fun stuff.”