Hanna honored for 50 years at Hawkeye Boys State
By Molly Moser
Guttenberg resident Dennis Hanna was honored last week during the American Legion of Iowa’s annual convention for 50 years of service in the Hawkeye Boys State program. Hanna entered the program in 1962 as a counselor, and has been the Hawkeye Boys State Director for 16 years.
“His experience, not only as a former educator, but as a military veteran, instills a sense of commitment and pride to all he comes in contact with,” says Kathy Nees, Department (State) Programs Director of the American Legion of Iowa. She sees that lessons in real life, patriotism, and education are Hanna’s priorities.
Education is certainly a priority for Hanna, who taught band to all ages in Guttenberg for 33 years (plus many additional years as a substitute in various school districts). He also started the Guttenberg German Band and has taken the group on two trips to Germany.
“I had a ball as the county counselor,” Hanna remembers of his first experience at Boys State. He came back for a second year, expecting to do the same. “The band director didn’t show up, so they said, 'You’re it,'” laughs Hanna. He was ‘it’ for 35 years, successfully directing the Boys State band each summer for over three decades. Hanna also served as assistant director of staff before becoming director in 1997.
The formation of The American Legion Boys State program is credited to two members of The American Legion of Illinois. The program was created in response to the Fascist inspired Young Pioneer Camps of the 1930s, to develop leadership and pride in American citizenship and promote an interest in the democratic form of government. Boys State programs now exist in 49 states.
Continued in the pages of The Guttenberg Press