Pella Chronicle

CNHI/Southeast Iowa

September 4, 2013

Indian Hills Community College presents annual awards

OTTUMWA — The Indian Hills Community College Foundation presented awards to five people Thursday as the college is beginning a new academic year.  Each year, members of the Indian Hills staff nominate and select an outstanding IHCC alumnus, IHCC retiree, lay citizen and two current employees.

Daren Relph, chief executive officer of Wayne County Hospital, was recognized as the Outstanding Alumnus.  In the early 90's, he worked as an EMT and housekeeper for Wayne County Hospital and began taking arts and sciences courses and continuing education credit for paramedic certification at Indian Hills.  From 1996 to 2000, he worked for investment firms then returned to the health care field becoming a staff paramedic.  In 2005, he became the associate administrator of Wayne County Hospital providing senior-level leadership and strategic vision to the 25-bed critical access hospital and was involved in all facets of a $7.3 million hospital renovation project.  In 2010, he was named the hospital's CEO.  During his tenure, the organization has grown to include the county-wide clinic system, has expanded from 169 to 251 employees and has increased from $25 million to $40 million in projected revenues for 2013-14.

Ron Oswalt was selected as this year's Outstanding Retiree.  Retiring in 2004, he has been a member of the Indian Hills family for more than 30 years.  In retirement, Oswalt has continued his commitment and loyalty to Indian Hills as he always did as a student, instructor, coach and administrator.  He is one of the "go-to" guys that can be counted on when the college needs assistance.  He is a respected member of the Ottumwa community and has served many consecutive terms on the Ottumwa Community School Board.  In that role, he brings a perspective that is supportive of what is good for kids; he has been key to the collective efforts of Ottumwa High School and Indian Hills to enhance opportunities for students.

Bob Perkins was chosen as the recipient of the Outstanding Lay Citizen award.  He volunteers his time and gives generously to Ottumwa organizations including the Bridge View Center, Hy-Noon Kiwanis, Ottumwa YMCA and the former Ottumwa Regional Health Foundation.  He has been an especially strong supporter of the Indian Hills Foundation and funds 11 annual scholarships; four for students enrolled in culinary arts, four for students enrolled in a medical field, two for students participating in athletics and one for veterans.  He also established two perpetual awards that assist international students or students enrolled in international studies.  He became a member of the Foundation Board in 2011 and is actively involved in the various special events.  He devotes much of his time, talent and financial resources to improving the lives of others and does so while remaining humble, quiet and reserved.     

Roxanne Denner, aviation programs secretary, and Shelle Harvey, secretary to the vice president of academic affairs, were presented with the Outstanding Service Awards given annually to current Indian Hills employees.  

Denner has had a 16-year career at Indian Hills.  Her work history verifies that she is well grounded in what makes Indian Hills tick and that she possesses strong work and people skills.  Her peers describe her as "dedicated, hardworking, precise and personable."

What sets Denner apart is her "soft skills."  One of her nominations said that "students, co-workers, visitors, faculty, administrators and trustees all get the same respect, friendly response and assistance from her because that's who she is.î  She is so upbeat and positive that you never leave a conversation with her without feeling better yourself.

Harvey began her career at Indian Hills in 2000.  She is described as "a detail-oriented, efficient and organized employee."  She works closely with many different departments and individuals to maintain accuracy and functionality of both the electronic and people systems that maintain courses, schedules, course fees and grades for all students.  Harvey was instrumental in serving on a statewide committee that selected and implemented statewide curriculum software and served as a trainer and coach for all faculty.

She takes the initiative to get things done and to solve problems.  For example, when the college's homegrown system used for student perceptions crashed, Harvey researched various options, contacted companies for references and then worked with the academic departments to implement the system.  

She also volunteers countless hours at the college's athletic events, fundraisers and community activities through the year.

Since 1979, 164 people have received these special awards at Indian Hills.

 

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