As far as she's concerned, there's nothing special about Ann Strong that makes her worthy of Waukee's Citizen of the Year title.
"Mayor Peard called me one evening and told me and my only word was, 'really?'," Strong said. " I don't know why they picked me."
Whether Strong, a lifelong resident of Waukee, believed it or not, others in Waukee thought she was more than worthy of the honor of being Waukee's 2011 Citizen of the Year.
At an April 16 meeting of the Waukee City Council, Mayor Bill Peard announced that Strong would be the city's 2011 recipient citing her more than 30 years working for the city of Waukee and her endless contribution to the Waukee Christmas Drive. According to Peard, she was a standout amongst the other candidates.
"She's been a long standing citizen of Waukee and has served the city well," Peard said at that meeting.
The Waukee Christmas Drive, Strong's pet project, started with one family 25 years ago and has grown to serve hundreds in the years since. Just last year, Strong said, 122 families benefited from the generosity of others with food, presents and essentials donated through the Christmas Drive.
"Why was I chosen? I don’t know," said Strong. "The only thing I can figure is that I have been with Waukee Chirtsmas Drive for 25 years. I kind of coordinate it now but it’s not just me. It’s everyone who helps and contributes and donates and adopts families. Without those people, we wouldn't be able to do that."
On a side note, Strong is carrying on a bit of a tradition with the honor. Her mother, Marguerite Jordan, was Waukee's 2008 Citizen of the Year. As the 2011 Citizen of the Year, Strong will be presented with a key to the city and will ride in Waukee’s 4th of July and WaukeeFest parades.
"I’m very honored, very humbled," Strong said. "Of course, I’m excited but a little nervous. I know they're going to want me to get up and say something. I can talk to anyone. I don't like talking in front of a bunch of people."