Each year, Greater Ottumwa Partners in Progress presents the Gene Schultz Community Service Award to an individual whose volunteer service to the community best exemplifies Mr. Shultz’s own commitment to service. To be eligible for this award, one must contribute to the betterment of their community, participate in civic activity, be proud and enthusiastic of their community, make a difference, and have no selfish motivation, among other traits.
The 2023 recipient is Holly Berg. Holly has been an integral part of nearly every major project that the City of Ottumwa has undertaken since she chose to call Ottumwa home. While you may see her at virtually every event produced, but not as an attendee, she is behind the scenes making the event a success. She has written several of the grants that have allowed the downtown revitalization to occur.
Holly has actively sat on the Main Street Board of Directors for years and received the 2020 Leadership Award from Main Street Iowa and Main Street Ottumwa. She has been instrumental in the commissioning of all of the artwork downtown through her work with the Ottumwa Area Arts Council. She sat for several terms on the Bridge View Center Inc. Board of Directors, along with the Meet Ottumwa Board of Directors. Her skills in strategic planning have helped several non-profits secure funding and assisted them in building their visions. She faithfully served as an Ottumwa City Council member for four years from 2018-2021, was designated a Certified Elected Municipal Official in 2019, and received the Rhonda Wood Smith Award in 2021 by the Iowa League of Cities for exemplary work of young city officials. She has ensured that the Ottumwa Sportsplex will become a reality. She has been an organizer for O! Pride, Resilient Communities, Make Ottumwa Shine, and Halloweenapalooza. She served as an adjunct professor at both William Penn University and Indian Hills Community College between 2014 and 2021. She currently serves as the Executive Director for Rippling Waters in Ottumwa.
Outside of her daily job, she is a true champion for our city. Her tireless efforts have shown in her countless hours working on projects that, even incrementally, improve the quality of life for those around her. She selflessly gives her talents to help others whenever they are needed. Even in areas that aren’t necessarily her main interests, in her passion for Ottumwa, she demonstrates the true heart of a volunteer. Holly is the youngest recipient of the Gene Shultz Community Service Award and is a glowing example of youth professionalism and volunteerism.