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This Week in the Corridor
Finding grace at my son's graduation
There is a fact of my childhood that folks who have only known me as an adult sometimes struggle to believe. I was a bad kid.

The principal at Lincoln Elementary School in Mount Pleasant, Iowa told my poor mom that I was the worst discipline problem he had encountered in 30 years of education. He then told her that she needed to attend parent-teacher-principal conferences … EVERY WEEK!

Problems continued through junior high (30+ detentions in 7th grade pre-Algebra), high school (I once glued my own shoes to the wall in French class), and, although I was not necessarily disruptive in the classroom, college. (Yes, Dad, I am finally ready to admit that you did not get full value from those tuition dollars.)

I find nothing constructive—or even mildly funny—in my behavior. It was a waste of time, opportunity, and a pretty good brain. I am just thankful for a praying mom, a wife who somehow saw through the stupidity to the possibility, and the US Army, which gave me four years to grow up while getting paid.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this subject lately because my son, Caleb, is finishing high school. He’s got plenty of credits and has decided enough is enough. He, his sister, and his brother will spend Spring camping the American West. Then, well, maybe the military, maybe college, maybe a job. He’ll figure it out.

Caleb and I have struggled because Caleb is a reincarnation of me. Perhaps he never acted quite as badly, but there were plenty of teachers in his past who recognized the talent imprisoned by his attitude and thought, what a loss.

And I, the dad who should have coached him through his struggles, instead saw him risking so much potential and got wildly, dangerously angry.

In the last six months, though, all has changed. Caleb has become more forgiving, more tolerant, more disciplined. It’s not as if I’m doing better as a father. Nor have his siblings or teachers radically evolved. (His mom has always been perfect.) Caleb just got wiser.

I know it has not been easy. He still grinds his teeth at petty irritations. He still has the perfect joke at just the wrong time. And he still struggles to direct his mental and physical energies; he could solve nuclear fusion if not for the distractions of hip hop, and anime, and sports, and squirrels.

To have seen Caleb race against himself for three years of high school only to take an insurmountable lead as a senior makes my chest ache.

Forgiveness has gone out of favor in our country. Prison overcrowding. Cancel culture. Everybody’s worst moments looped on YouTube. Success seems reserved for those who were born right and never waivered.

If we are to be the Land of Opportunity of our most aspirational myths, we must provide room for all potential to flourish.

At Christmastime, we are reminded of mercy and of grace. It has been said that justice is getting what you deserve, mercy is not getting what you deserve, and grace is getting what you could never earn. If people truly were bound by the mistakes of their past, then I, the kid who shot a spit wad down his buddy’s earhole and committed other wrongs much less funny and far more hurtful, could not be the President and CEO of the Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation.

Thankfully, there is grace, which I witness not just in the nativity scene, but everyday in my 17-year-old son.
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Location: 1710 Central Ave.
Estherville, IA 51334

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Around the Corridor
BVRMC receives 2021 Women's Choice Obstetrics Award for third straight year

Women's Choice Award named the Buena Vista Regional Medical Center (BVRMC) one of America's Best Hospitals for Obstetrics for 2021, the third year in a row BVRMC has been recognized.

Learn more about the award.
Entire community honored as Spencer's 'Honorary Citizens of the Year'

In an unprecedented year, the Citizen of the Year award in Spencer is anything but traditional. Rather than honoring just one or two people for outstanding service to the community in 2020, all citizens of Spencer are being honored!

Read more about the 2020 Honorary Citizens of the Year Award.
Iowa Great Lakes announces Business of the Year awards

The Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce held their annual meeting virtually this year, and recently announced the Small and Large Business of the Year Award Winners.

Read about the winners.
Investor Spotlight
Each week we want to feature and thank the businesses and individuals that have committed to economic development and growth in our communities. To learn more about these investors and others, visit our Business Directory!
The State Bank
Sector: Financial & Insurance Services
Location: Spirit Lake
Description: The State Bank of Terril was chartered on October 13, 1928, when the bank building was purchased from the trustee of the closed First National Bank. The bank charter was moved to Spirit Lake in 1965, and a branch was retained in Terril. The name was changed to The State Bank recognizing that the bank serves two communities. The 1928 charter is the oldest continuous charter in Dickinson County.
Tyson Foods
Sector: Manufacturing
Location: Storm Lake
Description: Tyson Foods, Inc., founded in 1935 with headquarters in Springdale, Arkansas, is one of the world's largest processors and marketers of chicken, beef and pork, as well as prepared foods. The company provides products and services to customers throughout the United States and more than 90 countries. Tyson employs 115,000 Team Members at more than 400 facilities and offices in the U.S. and around the world.
US Bank
Sector: Financial & Insurance Services
Location: Spencer
Description: U.S. Bancorp, with $321 billion in assets, is the parent company of U.S. Bank, the 5th largest commercial bank in the United States. The company operates 3,086 banking offices and 5,086 ATMs, and provides a comprehensive line of banking, brokerage, insurance, investment, mortgage, trust and payment services products to consumers, businesses and institutions.
Jobs in the Iowa Lakes Corridor
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See current job openings here.
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