Mom and Dad of the Year recognized during Family Weekend
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Rich and Patti Schmitz of Waterloo, Iowa, were honored as the University of Iowa’s Dad of the Year and Mom of the Year, respectively, during the UI’s annual Family Weekend, Nov. 9-11.
The couple was nominated by their daughter Anna Schmitz, a third-year medical student. In separate essays, Schmitz praised each of her parents, describing how they provided stability and hope when their community—including their home—was hit by a tornado in 2002 and then again in 2007.
“The community was there to support us, but my mom redirected volunteers to other places in the area that needed more help than we did,” she wrote. “When family and friends gave my parents monetary donations, they turned around and wrote a check for that amount to a fund for other tornado victims.”
Both parents, she wrote, have led by example, through their volunteer work and by helping neighbors. Rich Schmitz, who recently retired after 25 years of working as a company electrician at John Deere and 15 years as a program manager at Hawkeye Community College, has volunteered with the John Deere division of Habitat for Humanity and helped rebuild the local high school softball diamond. Patti Schmitz, who recently retired from John Deere after 25 years of working as a computer programmer, was involved her children’s high school booster clubs and still volunteers with the local homeless shelter, the Salvation Army, and the Meals on Wheels program.
Mom and Dad of the Year are sponsored by the UI Parents Association, with support from the UI Athletics Department and University Bookstore. Honorees are chosen by two student honors societies, Mortar Board and Omicron Delta Kappa, based on personal achievements and dedication to family. Any student can nominate a parent for an award.