Opportunity on Deck Named a 2020 Healthiest State Award Finalist

DES MOINES, IA (Jan. 6, 2020) — The Healthiest State Initiative has announced the finalists for the 2020 Healthiest State Annual Awards. Individuals, communities, K-12 schools, early care providers, out-of-school programs and workplaces will be recognized for their efforts to improve the physical, social and emotional well-being of Iowans in their respective sectors at an awards ceremony on Feb. 6 in West Des Moines.

The finalists in the eight categories include:

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Wellmark Community Award

  • Creston
  • Dallas Center
  • Dickinson County
  • Manning
  • Washington
  • Waverly
  • West Union

K-12 School

  • Irving Elementary (Waterloo)
  • Notre Dame Catholic School (Cresco)
  • Pierce Elementary (Cedar Rapids)

Early Care Provider

  • Children’s Center (Council Bluffs)
  • Little Steps & Beyond (Iowa City)
  • TenderCare (Mount Pleasant)
  • Tri-County Child & Development (Waterloo)

Out-of-School Program

  • Live Well Montgomery County (Red Oak)
  • Opportunity on Deck (Urbandale)

  • Scott Gall (Cedar Falls)
  • Bob King (Dallas Center)
  • Ben Spellman (Des Moines)


  • Anawim Housing (Des Moines)
  • Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center
  • MercyCare Business Solutions (Cedar Rapids)


  • Merchants Bonding Company (West Des Moines)
  • Montgomery County Hospital (Red Oak)
  • Northwest Financial Corporation (Arnolds Park)


  • Drake University (Des Moines)
  • Grinnell Mutual (Grinnell)
  • The Iowa Clinic (Des Moines)

“We are honoring finalists in more categories than ever before which is a testament to the tremendous work happening across the state to improve the health and wellness of Iowans of all ages,” said Jami Haberl, Healthiest State Initiative executive director.

Each finalist will be recognized and winners from each category will be announced at the Healthiest State Annual Awards ceremony on Feb. 6 at the Ron Pearson Center in West Des Moines.  Each winner will be granted a monetary gift to continue their work focused on improving the health and well-being of their employees, students or citizens.

In addition to the awards presentation, keynote speaker Lyndsey (Medders) Fennelly will tell her inspirational story of living with a mental illness. Fennelly is a former Iowa State University women’s basketball player, owner of CampusCycle spin studio and passionate advocate for mental health. She is married to Iowa State Women’s basketball assistant coach, Billy Fennelly, and they live in Ames with their two children.

“Lyndsey gives a voice to the 1 in 5 Iowans who will experience a mental illness in their lifetime,” said Haberl. “By talking about her experience, she helps to eliminate stigma and encourages those living with a mental illness to seek the help they deserve.”

The Healthiest State Annual Awards are sponsored by Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Hy-Vee, Inc., and Nemours.

Healthiest State Annual Awards tickets on sale now

The Healthiest State Annual Awards are open to the public and tickets are on sale now Tickets are $25 for individuals or $190 for a table of eight. The event, hosted at the Ron Pearson Center in West Des Moines, will open at 4:15 p.m. for hors d’oeuvres and networking with the awards ceremony beginning at 5 p.m.

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About the Healthiest State Initiative
The Healthiest State Initiative is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization driven by the goal to make Iowa the healthiest state in the nation. By engaging worksites, communities, schools, retail food, organizations, institutions and individuals, we can inspire Iowans and their communities to improve their health and happiness, and ultimately achieve our goal. For more information,

About Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield
Wellmark, Inc. ( does business as Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa. Wellmark and its subsidiaries and affiliated companies, including Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Dakota, Wellmark Health Plan of Iowa, Inc., and Wellmark Value Health Plan, Inc., insure or pay health benefit claims for more than 2 million members in Iowa and South Dakota. Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Dakota, Wellmark Health Plan of Iowa, Inc., and Wellmark Value Health Plan, Inc. are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.