"Utterly shocked" Cliff Havens said was his reaction when Tama firefighters showed up at his house on Thursday night, May 10, to notify him of his selection as the 2012 Tama Citizen of the Year.
"My wife (Jody) said, "She had never seen me speechless before," " Cliff said.
Havens was chosen from nominees received for the honor which has been presented annually since 1982 by the Tama Firefighters Association.
2012 Tama Citizen of the Year
Each year, a Tama resident who has contributed to the city through volunteer efforts is recognized.
A reception for Cliff will be held tonight (Friday, May 18) at 7 p.m. during the Lincoln Highway Bridge Festival entertainment at the Tama Fire Station.
"There's got to be a lot more people who deserve this more than me, but I feel extremely honored," Cliff said.
Cliff and Jody Havens have lived in Tama for 30 years, since he assumed duties as manager of the Pamida Store in Toledo on Valentine's Day, 1982.
Over those years he has been involved in a wide variety of community activities. Especially while the couple's two daughters were attending South Tama schools, he found himself involved in a number of activities including 20-year stints in the concession stand at football games and helping at after-prom. He also served as a church youth group leader.
He has served on the Relay for Life Committee, was a member of the morning T-T Kiwanis and was a member of the Care Review Committee for the Tama County Home when it was in operation as a county-operated facility.
He received the Iowa Governor's Award for Volunteer Service presented by Gov. Terry Branstad in 1993 for his work with residents of the county care facility.
He also has been an active member of the Tama-Toledo Area Chamber of Commerce.
He volunteered for the Iowa Juvenile Home in serving as a chaperone for off-campus activities and supervising students working at the Pamida store.
Through the Pamida Foundation, Cliff has been a part of the ongoing funding support for Tama and Toledo public libraries, the South Tama Food Pantry and the Iowa Juvenile Home-State Training School for Girls.
A native of Des Moines, Cliff is a graduate of Des Moines Hoover High. A member of the Boy Scouts, he attained the rank of Eagle Scout. He graduated from Iowa State University, Ames, with degrees in Sociology and Physical Education. He began work for Pamida at Muscatine in 1977.
His wife, Jody, retired two years ago following a 23-year career as a vocational instructor at the Iowa Juvenile Home / State Training School for Girls.
They have two children, Michelle Zimmerman and Jenna Gochanour and four grandchildren with a fifth on the way.
Cliff's other interest include fishing and cooking, especially grilling.
And, even as an Iowa State graduate, he admits to being a "die-hard" Hawkeye fan having held season tickets at Kinnick Stadium for the past 21 years.