Martha Hayes was honored with an award at the Preservation At Its Best 2013 Awards presented at the Annual Dinner Event of the Preserve Iowa Summit in Burlington, Iowa on August 23rd.
Each year Preservation Iowa seeks to honor individuals, organizations, projects, and programs whose work demonstrates a commitment to excellence in historic preservation. In doing so, they hope to inspire others to take action to preserve, protect, and promote Iowa’s places that matter.
The Hayes Award, created just this year, honors an individual who has dedicated time and effort to Preservation Iowa over the long term and who has shown exemplary commitment and service to the organization and its preservation education and advocacy mission. The first recipient of this award is the woman for whom it is named, Martha Hayes. Martha was a textbook editor in Chicago and on the East Coast before she moved back to her hometown of Mount Pleasant, where she became involved in the community. Along with volunteering at the Henry County Health Center, Martha has shared her talents locally as the collection supervisor for the Theatre Museum in Mount Pleasant.
In 1991, Martha began her odyssey with Preservation Iowa, becoming one of the founding members of of our organization, then called the Iowa Historic Preservation Alliance. She left the PI Board in 2012 after 21 years of dedicated service only because the Board had implemented term limits in 2010 and her term had, at long last, expired. Martha was the longtime Secretary, but during her extended term as a board member, she served in multiple capacities, often concurrently. Her positions included Membership chair, Editor of the quarterly newsletter, Treasurer, and Historian. Perhaps more importantly, Martha served as the institutional memory of PI. She not only remembers each member of Preservation Iowa who paid dues during her tenure, but she also knows the longevity of each person’s membership and other major life events. And, over the years, Martha attended many preservation conferences and workshops, at which she’s also been an active participant.
One of Martha’s nominators wrote: “I believe Martha is the main reason … Preservation Iowa has survived over the last twenty plus years. Her unwavering commitment, positive attitude and hard work have assured our members of Preservation Iowa’s commitment to advocating and educating about Historic Preservation. …Someone like Martha comes along only once in a lifetime. But, I hope future board members and volunteers aspire to be like Martha.”
Another nominator, said, “Martha has been the one, steady enthusiastic voice for the importance of the organization. She stepped forward to help, was good at her work and brought a sense of integrity to Preservation Iowa. She is one of the very few ‘pioneers’ who held fast in bad times, weak leadership, and failing vision. …Without the trust many of us have in her, the shape of Preservation Iowa would be quite different….She has set a high standard for the winners chosen to receive the Hayes Award. She has not only preserved history she has made history in her own way. We are grateful to be part of such a noble legacy.”