Waukee Mayor Courtney Clarke named community advocate and military veteran Reggie Bell as Waukee’s 2019 Citizen of the Year. The Citizen of the Year honor is given each year to an exemplary resident who represents the true spirit of community service.
Bell was selected as the 2019 Citizen of the Year in March; however, the acknowledgement process was delayed due to social distancing guidelines. He will be honored at the December WinterFest celebration and at the January 2021 Waukee Area Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Dinner. He will also be presented with a City of Waukee proclamation and plaque and will receive a local business prize package from the Chamber.
“When the selection committee and I reviewed award submissions, we were so impressed with the level of community service Reggie has provided to Waukee,” said Mayor Clarke. “Not only has he sacrificed in serving our country, but he initiates continual outreach to underserved groups in and around Waukee. We thank him greatly for showing us what can be achieved with selfless giving of one’s time and talents.”
Bell spent many of his formative years in Kansas City public housing. He then served in the U.S. Army for 22 years. He, his wife Sherry and their two daughters moved to Waukee in 2007. Since then, he has been busy inspiring other community members, such as Ellen Pieper, who nominated him for this award.
“Although Reggie is now 63, diabetic and has multiple artificial joints, he’s still constantly looking for and initiating activities to raise awareness of other people’s needs,” said Pieper. “Better yet, he follows through on these activities by providing necessary approvals, print materials, collection bins, eye-catching decorations, transportation and more.”
Many people know Bell from his volunteer and fundraising work with the Waukee American Legion, as a greeter at the Waukee Family YMCA or as a member of the Mu Omicron Chapter of Omega Psi Phi. He also assists with Cornerstone Church’s Hot Dog Ministry in Des Moines, which delivers hot dogs and snacks to homeless shelters and encampments. He supports the Single Parent Provision, leads socks and snacks drives for deployed members of the U.S. military, collects food and necessities for the homeless and low-income, opens his Thanksgiving table each year for those who are alone, and serves with local non-profits Garden Gate Ranch and Leading With Power.
“I’m truly humbled by my recognition as Waukee’s Citizen of the Year,” said Bell. “I have a heart for helping others. I grew up with a mother who always reached out to help the less fortunate, even when her own circumstances were not good. A quote that comes to me in these trying times was written by Charles Dickens: ‘No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.’”
Bell said he and his family found a safe, affordable community in moving to Waukee and that he loves all of the friendly people in town. “My family continues to thrive here, as do many people,” he said. “As Waukee becomes more diverse, we must embrace one another, love one another and respect one another.”
A fan of famous quotes, he added Coretta Scott King’s words of wisdom: “The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.”
The City of Waukee and the Waukee Area Chamber of Commerce collectively thank Reggie Bell for sharing his commitment to service, his smile and his compassion throughout Waukee and beyond.
The Waukee Citizen of the Year program is a joint effort between the City of Waukee and the Waukee Area Chamber of Commerce to recognize Waukee residents for dedicated volunteer efforts that lead to making Waukee a great place in which to live, work, play and learn. The selection committee consists of Waukee’s mayor and representatives from the Waukee Area Chamber of Commerce, Waukee Area Christian Services and the Waukee Family YMCA.