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Art Center gets Woodman Hometown Hero Award

Roger Espinoza with Modern Woodmen holds up a T-shirt from the Johnson County Center for the Arts whose representatives, including Center for the Arts Director Cristy Dunn were the proud recipients of the Modern Woodmen Hometown Hero Award. Photo submitted.

By Tamas Mondovics

Johnson County Center for the Arts was pleased to announce to be the proud recipient of the Modern Woodmen Hometown Hero Award. A plaque was also presented to Arts Center representatives by Roger Espinoza on Thursday at Teammates Pizza. As it is posted on its website, Modern Woodmen exists to improve the quality of life for our members and the communities where they live, work, and play.

“We have no woodworking in our history. No cabinet making. No lumberjacks,” the site said. “Our name was inspired by pioneer woodmen. They cleared forests to build homes and communities and provide security for their families.”

Modern Woodmen’s founder, Joseph Cullen Root, felt this was the perfect symbol to illustrate his goal of clearing away financial burdens for families.

On Jan. 5, 1883, Modern Woodmen of America was born in Lyons, Iowa. We moved across the Mississippi River to Fulton, Illinois, in 1884. Our home office relocated downriver to Rock Island, Illinois, in 1897. Rock Island remains our home office hometown to this day.According to Espinoza, the organization accomplishes its goals through financial guidance and social, educational, and volunteer activities.

“I am so blessed to be able to make a living by helping others as well as their communities,” Espinoza said. “Each day, I sit down and help people overcome financial concerns and obstacles. I also get to help my community with our fraternal programs and activities. It’s very rewarding to be able to do what I do.”

The recent award also included a $100 donation to another non-profit made by Modern Woodmen on behalf of the Center for the Arts. The Center chose JAM as the recipient of the donation.

‘We would like to thank Modern Woodmen for this honor and for their recent donation to match the Levi Retirees breakfast fundraiser,” said Center for the Arts Director Cristy Dunn. “They have done so much good work in our community, and we are very proud of this recognition.”