DES MOINES: The Robert D. and Billie Ray Center at Drake University will recognize 12 Iowa individuals and groups with awards for exceptional character this month. The 2019 Iowa Character Awards ceremony will be held Friday, July 26, at The Meadows Events and Conference Center in Altoona, Iowa.
The Ray Center’s top award, the Robert D. Ray Pillar of Character, will be issued to Ray Cole of Clive. Ray is President & Chief Operating Officer of Citadel Communications Company. An Iowa native from Kingsley, Ray attended Briar Cliff College (now Briar Cliff University) where he graduated with honors. While at Briar Cliff, Ray completed an internship at KCAU-TV, the ABC affiliate in Sioux City. This opportunity propelled him into a career in broadcasting that now spans nearly 40 years.
A longtime supporter of The Robert D. and Billie Ray Center, Ray has advanced the work of CHARACTER COUNTS! forward for many years with his support of the All-Star Evening fundraiser. Leveraging his own personal and professional connections, Ray gives generously to
support The Ray Center’s efforts to improve civility through character development and ethical leadership. Each year, Ray secures a high-profile ESPN representative to attend the annual fundraiser and provides exclusive auction packages such as VIP experiences at American Idol, the ESPY Awards, and the Billboard Music Awards.
Ray also demonstrates good character through his leadership and civic engagements. He currently serves on the Board of Governors for ABC Television Network, the Broadcasters Foundation of America. Ray was inducted into the Iowa Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame in 2015.
Awards will be issued in 10 additional categories:
Aaron Eilerts Community Service Award:
Alicia Kamran, Norwalk
Citizen of Character:
Lois Turnage, Pleasantville
Jordan George, Des Moines
Business/Organization of Character:
The Job Foundation, Cedar Falls
Julie Kopecky, Dallas Center
Communities of Character:
Educator of Character:
Corwin (Corky) Stewart, Brooklyn
Partner of the Year:
Iowa Bankers Association, Johnston
Pursuing Victory with Honor:
Lynnville-Sully Football Program
School of Character:
Lakewood Elementary, Norwalk
Student Team/Organization of Character:
The Ray Center annually recognizes Iowans who show the Six Pillars of CHARACTER COUNTS!: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and good citizenship. Since 2005, the organization has recognized more than 100 Iowans for showing good character.
The 2019 Iowa Character Awards are presented by Hy-Vee, KDSM-TV, CJM Financial and The Des Moines Register.
The Robert D. and Billie Ray Center, Iowa’s home for the CHARACTER COUNTS! and Excellence with Integrity programs, provides character and leadership development strategies to improve civility and develop ethical leaders throughout the world. The Ray Center honors two of Drake’s most respected alumni—Robert D. and Billie Ray—whose humanitarian efforts, character, and leadership set an inspirational example for multiple generations.