‘Iowan for the Day’
By KRISS NELSON
DES MOINES – Parking and just getting around the fair can be quite the task at times, but not if you have been given the honor of “Iowan of the Day” at the Iowa State Fair.
Mary Maybee, of Boone, was the recipient of that honor on Aug. 14 and said she loved every minute of it.
Maybee was nominated by Carol Robinson, her friend and secretary of the Boone Chamber of Commerce.
“I admire her fight against cancer and her continuation of the support of raising money for cancer,” Robinson said. “She was the first person that came to mind to nominate.”
For the last six years, Maybee has headed the local efforts for Daffodil Days and raises funds for the American Cancer Society.
Surviving three cancer diagnoses herself and losing family members to the disease, makes raising money towards finding a cure a personal battle for Maybee.
“I have always worked to volunteer to help find a cure,” said Maybee. “I have been volunteering for all sorts of stuff all of my life, but raising money to fight cancer is my focus.”
Maybee puts a lot of effort in to her fundraising, but also admits she has a lot of fun at it.
“You can have fun raising money for something bad and I have a blast,” she said.
Volunteering has played a huge role in Maybee’s life, it was a way for her to get out of the house and meet new people.
Through the years, her husband, George Maybee, due to his employment with the Chicago/Northwestern railroad, moved his family often and Mary Maybee found that volunteering was the easiest way to meet new people. So she fought her overwhelming shyness and put herself out there to help others.
In addition to volunteering as a Girl Scout leader for 25 years, Maybee was a part of getting Pufferbilly Days started in Boone and began one of the town’s largest fundraising efforts.
“I started selling T-shirts and coffee mugs on a card table in front of the jewelry store and now it’s turned into a major fundraiser for the chamber,” she said.
All of that volunteering led her to a seat on the council on volunteerism under Gov. Robert Ray, which continued under Gov. Terry Branstad.
“Volunteering is really astounding. I’ve always been doing what I want to do and meeting people,” said Maybee. “It’s a blast and it’s fun to get involved, you don’t have to get paid to do something, just do something fun and volunteer.”
Maybee is the co-president of the Boone Women’s Club; president of the Boone Golf and Country Club; works with the United Way, Daughters of American Revolution and is chairwoman for church events and programs.
She also helped start the Boone Community Theatre and originated the Boone Summer Theatre workshop. She continues to help plan the Pufferbilly Days celebration and is involved with Relay for Life, Community Betterment, Boone Jaycess, Boone County YMCA board and State of Iowa Advisory Council.
Maybee said the Iowa State Fair is something she and her family has always enjoyed, but since getting around has gotten a little tougher this year, she and George had decided to skip the fair.
Being awarded “Iowan of the Day” changed those plans. As the Auig. 14 honoree, Maybee had daylong use a golf cart and VIP parking, making it easy to get around the fairgrounds.
Three out of four of the Maybees’ children were in attendance at the Iowa State Fair to see their mother honored. Maybee said she was looking forward mostly to spending time with them and enjoying the livestock, especially the horses.
“I love the fair,” Maybee said. “Especially going into the horse barns and watching the horse shows.”
In the past the Maybees have worked at the Boone County Chamber booth in the Varied Industries Building, so that was their first stop.
Maybee was shocked to see a banner honoring her for “Iowan of the Day” at the booth.
She was greeted by Judy Murphy and Fenner Stevenson, who were manning the booth.
“This is such a great day, there is no one more deserving of this,” said Stevenson. “What she has done in Boone is nothing short of a miracle and she is promoting Boone all of the time.”
“There is no one that deserves the award more than Mary,” said Murphy. “Thanks to her, Boone is a better place to all of us.”
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