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Cloy Kuhse Positive Impact Award Winner 2020

Cloy Kuhse Positive Impact Award Winner 2020

Allamakee County Economic Development named the winner of the 2020 Cloy Kuhse Positive Impact Award. This award was created to highlight and recognize a business that is making a positive impact in Allamakee County, as well as to honor the memory of the late Cloy Kuhse, who was a member of the ACED Board of Directors. Recipients of this award have shown an exceptional devotion to their community and served as excellent role models that anyone can look up to. Past winners have included WW Homestead Dairy, Growing Bear Daycare and Preschool, New Albin Savings Bank, Waukon Dental, Mike Ferring Construction, TASC, the New Albin Meat Market, and Norplex-Micarta.

This year's Cloy Kuhse Positive Impact Award is being presented to Shep's Riverside Bar & Grill. On March 17, 2020, Shep's Riverside Bar & Grill closed its doors to the public in response to Governor Kim Reynolds' proclamation ordering them to do so. This was a cause for concern, both for the business and for the greater impacts in the community.

Shortly after the closure, an individual offered to purchase hot meals for the restaurant to offer free to the community. Shep's was aware of numerous people in the Lansing area who were homebound and lived alone, and the owner, Justin Shepard, decided to offer free meals to anyone who requested them; after announcing this, more donations arrived to cover the cost of additional meals. The restaurant invited people to pick up a carry-out meal, but to accommodate the homebound citizens, they recruited numerous volunteers to deliver the meals directly to homes. By the end of day on March 25, 350 meals had been served.

Representatives from the Northeast Iowa Area Agency on Aging saw what Shep's Riverside Bar & Grill had done and approached them with an offer; they had received funds from the federal CARES Act and wanted to know if Shep's would contract with them to establish a meals-on-wheels route. Shep's quickly agreed.

The restaurant plotted seven routes which carried volunteer drivers around Lansing, New Albin, Waterville, and Harpers Ferry. These drivers delivered two meals a day, lunch and supper, totaling 300 daily meals.

That service to individuals who were homebound due to the COVID-19 pandemic would have been enough to warrant this award by itself. However, Shep's Riverside Bar & Grill wasn't done yet.

In August, a derecho wreaked devastation across central Iowa. One of the hardest hit communities was Cedar Rapids. When the folks at Shep's heard about the destruction, they threw a grill onto a truck along with burgers and buns and drove down to Cedar Rapids. They went to an apartment complex that had been destroyed, an event which left residents homeless. Firing up their grill, they announced free meals to those in need, serving 150 apartment residents and another 100 workers who were involved in cleaning up the debris.

As of today, over 14,000 meals have been made and served to those in need. Shep's has made a positive impact with each of those meals, both on those who were fed and on the people who volunteered.

Through pandemic support and disaster relief, Shep's has been a beacon of community spirit and a model for the city, the county, and the state. It is an honor to bestow the 2020 Cloy Kuhse Positive Impact Award on Shep's Riverside Bar & Grill.

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