Jack Lane, who has contributed a half century of service and leadership to Norwalk, is the recipient of the 2019 Community Footprint Award of the Norwalk Area Chamber of Commerce.
The award, presented at the Chamber’s 27th Annual Awards Celebration January 24, was created by the Chamber in 2018 to recognize Norwalk citizens who have left a lasting impression on the community and continue to inspire its success. Lane is the seventh recipient.
Lane’s biggest impact on the community came as a 14-year member of the Norwalk City Council from 1966 to 1980. During his tenure, the Council undertook paving community streets. “At that time, nothing was paved, just Highway 28,” he says. “The first year we did Main, Lane and North streets. Then residents on my own street, Marie Street, petitioned the city to pave our street, even though it meant higher taxes for us, so Marie Street was one of the first to be paved.”
Also during his tenure, the Council oversaw the connection of the city to the metro Des Moines water system, preventing a threatened loss of water in the community that was already beginning its rapid growth.
Lane had even longer tenure as a 55-year member of Norwalk’s Fire Department from 1963 to 2018, much of the time when the department was a volunteer operation with only one truck. Most memorable during that time he says was a wintertime barn fire when it was so cold that firefighters froze to the ground’s surface while they worked and had to be rescued.
While dedicated to the city, Lane also devoted considerable time to involvement with the Masons and ZA-GA-ZiG Shrine, becoming the Shrine’s Potentate, the highest office in the organization which is composed of Shriners from 29 counties in Iowa. He also served on the Iowa Shrine Bowl board for 20 years.
Lane had a 37-year career in sales at Bob Brown Chevrolet in Des Moines.
Born and raised in Norwalk, Lane graduated from Norwalk High School in 1956 where, as a basketball star for the Warriors, he held the school record of 45 points scored in a single game – until December 2019 when current NHS senior Bowen Born scored 47 points in a game against Pella High School. Lane and Born were later recognized at a center court ceremony which also included Lane’s great-grandson Nate Lane, a point guard on the conference-leading team.
Lane and his wife, Madalene, who married in 1957, have sons Randy, who lives near Cumming, and Rusty, who lives in Newton, and daughter Sandy, who lives in Minneapolis. The Lanes have six grandchildren and three step-grandchildren and six great grandchildren and 12 step great-grandchildren.
Though the commitments that has earned him the Chamber’s Footprint Award are many, Lane points to a time when he actually made footprints on Norwalk. “In the early 1950’s during the project to connect our water line to the North River I would get out of school and go to the construction site where my dad was running a trenching machine,” he says. “My job was to sit high on the machine to watch and make sure it stayed on an even course digging the trenches.”
Those long-ago trenches may have been Lane’s first footprints on the community he has watched grow for decades. “I greatly appreciate this award,” he says. “I love the way of life we have here and I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve done.”