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Nom the Mom 2012: Meet the finalists!  by Tara


Oh my word! We were overwhelmed by the response we got for our second annual Nom the Mom contest (want to see the pics of some of our nominees? Go here!). I wish that we could have selected ALL of those that were nominated! But *sigh* it just isn’t possible.

So once again, I asked for a volunteer committee of five Linn Area employees to each separately review each entry and then submit their top 3 moms to me. A BIG thank you goes out to Jess (Finance), Liz (Fraud Specialist), Kathy (Collections), Amy (Collections) and Matt (Compliance)! I complied their votes and the top 3 moms emerged to become your finalists in the Nom the Mom contest!

Now YOU have the toughest job of them all – CHOOSING the deserving mom who will win the City Looks Salon & Spa Day of Beauty (info on HOW to vote is right after the three stories).

Are you ready for this? You might want to grab some kleenex first. Okay, I warned you! Here they are, in alphabetical order:

The Mom: Karen Brenneman

Nominated by: Greg (her son)

My mother’s name is Karen Brenneman.  She is the mother of two young men, Greg (24) and Grant (21).  She has been married to my father, Scott, for the past 31 years.  She is a trustworthy, faithful, loving, compassionate, strong willed, dedicated, and most of all patient mother.  She displays all these qualities day in and day out.  Her and my father have worked together nearly their whole lives.  She was born in Cedar Rapids and was moved around as a child.  She was an Kindergarten Teacher for a few years before going into business with my father.  She has been involved in me and my brothers lives tremendously between school and sports.  She loves a good glass of wine and time with friends.

My mother deserves to be nominated because of all her qualities she displays.  She goes to church every sunday and participates in small groups (small group leader), she also helps be the host at are church every 4th Month.  She is a faithful follower of Christ.  As listed about my mother has numerous qualities that stand out but there is one thing my mother is dealing with that a guarantee no other mother is dealing with.  My mother has a medical condition called “Frozen Shoulder.”  It is exactly what it sounds like.  Her shoulder has frozen and she literally can’t completely use her arm.  Her arm is constantly at her side 24 hours a day and has been this way since December.  This condition can last up to 2 years.  She has been going to physical therapy but have not seen any progress yet.  My mother does all the things that mothers typically do.  She cooks, cleans, works, runs errands and mothers the family like a loving mother should.  The best part is she does with one arm.  Her arm will not extend or even go up more than a few degrees.  Her hand its self can’t get much higher than her waist.  Try doing laundry or cooking or trying to carry in groceries.  Even the easiest things like closing your car door has become a chore.  The pain for me and my family is emotional because I can see the pain in my mothers eyes.  There are days she just breaks down due to the frustration of not being able to enjoy life.  She randomly gets shooting pain from her shoulder in her arm and she has to stop everything she is doing till it goes away.  The pain is so intense it brings tears to her eyes and just kills me to see her going through this.

Personally I believe my mother needs a day of rest, relaxation and beauty from her ongoing struggle with her frozen shoulder.  She is a very strong women but after these last 5 months she is due for a little “Women Time.”  Please nominate my mother for this years Mother of the Year … She truly deserves every minute of it.

The Mom: Judy Brewer

Nominated by: Elizabeth (her daughter)

I love my mother as the trees love water and sunshine – she helps me grow, prosper, and reach great heights.  ~Terri Guillemets

For all my life I knew I wanted to be a mother.  A mother has an everlasting place in their children’s heart and soul.  For this I am sure because this is where my mother is.  She is always with me; in my heart telling me that she loves me; in my soul telling me to be the strong woman she knows I can be; in my ear telling me over the phone everyday how much she misses me; in my mind reminding me to always be the best person I can be; and next to me holding my hand.

My mother lost her parent’s by the age of­­ 20.  I have never heard her complain or become discouraged.  All I hear are great reminders of how amazing her parents were and how proud they would be of the family she has made.  Her parents molded her into the strong woman she has become, and my mother is still molding me into the woman that I am and the woman I want to be.

No matter the stresses and hardships I put my mother through, she cries with me, picks me up, straightens me out, smiles with me, and puts me on the right path.  Most parents can’t wait to have their children move out of the house.  I am 22, finishing college, and living with my parents.  Every single day my mother tells me how God has blessed her with keeping me with her, if just for a few more months.

When the time comes for me to start my career and move away, this will be the time when she will show her true strength.  She will cry.  She will smile.  She will beg for me to stay just one more day.  But she will give me a big hug and a kiss, and slip some money in my hand as I walk away.  She will want me to stay, but she will also encourage me to start the new chapter in my life.  Her heart and words will stay with me as I move on, but she will let me go and grow as an adult and continue to grow until I can be the wife and mother I know her to be.

As I begin the next chapter of my life, I will always remember the words my mother taught me.  To always be kind, helpful, graceful, and loving. Every night as I went to sleep as a child she would whisper in my ear, “I love you forever. I like you for always. As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be”. I will always remember these words and they will shape me into the mother I will some day become. I could only hope and pray to become half the woman I know her to be.

The Mom: Helen Girard

Nominated by: Shirley Girard (her daughter)

I would like to nominate my mom, Helen Girard, for the Mother’s Day contest. Why, you ask? Here goes:

My mom, although married for 20 years of her time being a mom, has spent the majority those years as a single parent. My older brother is Autistic, learning disabled, and has a nerve disorder, among other developmental issues. He was diagnosed at age 5 &has had a rough road since then. She spends a considerable amount of her life making sure he is alright. This includes meetings with his supervised living staff, taking him to and from places (he can’t drive), & just making sure he has what he needs.

Growing up, I used to get frustrated sometimes because several of my friends would call the house, my mom would answer, & I wasn’t given the phone until they chatted for several minutes. A few times, they actually called to talk to her. I have several friends who still feel that she was like a mom to them growing up because she cared for them so & was often there for them when even their own family wasn’t. She wasn’t in the best situation at the time but she made the best of it & did what she could.

I too am a single parent. When times get tough, my mom is always there. She has been a very integral part of my life & my son’s life. She took care of him when he was a baby while I worked & went to school full time. Later, she let us move in with her while I finished my education. After living with her for almost 3 years, my son & I were able to get a brand new place of our own, which would have never been possible without her. When I had minor surgery 19 months ago, she stayed at my house for 3 days to take care of my son and to make sure I was taken care of as well. She helps my son with homework, communicates with his teachers to relieve me a bit and strives to make my life & his as great as they can be. She’s always loved me for me, no matter what, & made sure I knew that at all times.

In the recent past, I was unemployed for 4 months & she made sure that I knew she was there to help out in any way she could. In addition to all of the above, she taught for 20+ years in the Cedar Rapids Community Schools where she had a daily impact on children. Even though she’s been retired for 2 years now, she gets graduation invitations & hugs from former students she runs into.

She volunteers on a committee for the Linn County Child Development Center, volunteers at Truman Elementary & Prairie Point. She takes an older friend in poor health to appointments & shopping.

My mom has dealt with a lot throughout the years & often I wonder how she’s done it. She deserves an award for being such an incredibly strong, caring, loving, all around amazing person. As crazy as she makes me sometimes, I’m very proud to call her mom.

Now it’s YOUR turn! We need you to VOTE for the mom you think is the most deserving of the City Looks Salon & Spa Day of Beauty prize.

To vote, leave a comment on this blog post telling us the name of the mom you are voting for and make sure to include WHY you think they deserve to get pampered. (Psst… to vote this way, you have to give us your name and a valid email addy – but no worries! Your email address will not be displayed on the comment and we won’t email you!)

**UPDATE: You have to scroll to the bottom of the blog, waaaay down past everyone else’s comments before the box appears where you can cast your vote!**

Only one vote per person, please! (And, yes, we will be watching IP addresses – so play fair!)

Voting goes until 12:00pm (noon) CST on Thursday, May 10th. The Nom the Mom winner will be announced right here on our blog on Friday, May 11th – just in time for Mother’s Day!

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at! (Want to see some of the other nominees? Just go here!)

Let the voting begin!
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  • Tracy

    My vote is for Judy Brewer.

  • Michele Moore

    I’m voting for Karen Brenneman. I met her almost 20 years ago at church. She is everything Greg said and more. She should take great pride in the young men she raised. They have always been a pleasure to be around. Congrats Karen.

  • Grant

    I am voting for Karen Brenneman also. As her second son, I appreciate everything she has done for me. She has been a constant rock in my life and I appreciate all the support she has given me. You’re the best mom!

  • Matt

    I am voting for Karen Brenneman because she not only is able to put up with her two sons Grant and Greg and husband Scott who I know but she has always been there for everyone she knows and always was there to support everyone. She also is always trying to brighten everyone’s day who she runs into.

  • Jamie

    I vote for Karen Brenneman. Wonderful woman she raised a great son!

  • Eric

    My vote goes to Karen Brenneman.

  • Lonni

    Greg, I’m voting for your Mom because she must be a great lady to have raised you to be such a loving, caring son. Very nice letter for her to cherish.

  • Becky Howlett

    I am voting for Judy Brewer because she is like a second mom to me! I literally cannot recall her without a smile. She is one of the most welcoming, loving and accepting people I know. She most certainly deserves a day of relaxation!

  • Cara Ayers

    Karen Brenneman sounds like a great mother, wife, and support system! She should be nominated for the mother of the year award hands down :)
    Im a massage Therapist here in Cedar Rapids so if she is picked I would love to work on that frozen shoulder!!

    ~Good Luck Momma Karen~

  • Beth

    My vote is for Karen Brenneman because she is GREAT mother and SHE HAS AN AMAZING SON GREG! :)

  • Kyley Wiebel

    Karen Brenneman- sounds like a great mom!

  • Scott Griffin

    Karen Brenneman has my vote! Good luck!

  • Josh

    Mrs. Brenneman!!! She was always an awesome person to be around and putting up with Grant, Greg, and especially Scott has to be a burden. Always made it a point to say hello when hanging with her sons. Hopefully see you soon Mrs. B!!

  • Spencer

    Judy Brewer all the way!!! She’s raised the coolest kids I know! And I’m sure that was no easy task!

  • Christine

    Judy Brewer should win. She is one of the sweetest people I have ever met, and has raised some wonderful children.

  • Kathy

    My vote is for Judy Brewer, she is such a strong and sweet mother!

  • Keri

    Judy Brewer-she deserves it!

  • Kate Horvat

    I vote Judy Brewer because over the 17 years that I have known her, I have seen no bounds to her love. She is a caring, affectionate, funny, kind woman who has raised (along with Big Doug) 3 beautiful human beings. (Doug, Elizabeth, and Andrew.) She is such a hard worker, giving everything she has to provide and be there for her family. This woman deserves a day at the spa !!

  • Jody Skogen

    My vote is for Karen Brenneman! :) She is such a sweet person – caring, kind, passionate! As a young mom, she’s someone that I look up to! :)

  • Amanda

    My vote is for Karen Brenneman. I have known Karen since I was a little first grader. I am now graduating college and Karen has alway been apart of my life. She is always a joy to run into, puts her family first and consistantly goes out of her way to benefit the lives of others. A day of pampering for herself is something that she has rightfully deserves. Hope you win Karen!

  • Jane Boyer

    I vote for Karen Brenneman. I have known her for 20 plus years and our children have grown up together. She deserves this recognition, love and honor. I am proud to call her my friend:)
    Best wishes to her always.

  • Adam Rice

    Kate Brenemen!

  • Lauren

    My vote is for Karen Brenneman. She has raised a wonderful son!

  • Scott Studt

    I vote for Karen Brenneman. Her kids are polite and respectful. She has done a great job.

  • shelby marsh

    Karen Brenneman is who my vote is for!!

  • Shirley

    My vote, of course, is for Helen Girard.

  • Maria Teresa Fahy

    Karen Brenneman is who my vote is, she really deserved it.

  • Scott Brenneman

    My vote is for this amazing women – who 31 years ago became my wife – for life! Anyone who knows Karen knows that she is very caring, fun loving and loves her family AND her friends!!!!

  • Lea Wilkins

    I vote for Judy Brewer. She is a model of motherhood and her success is mirrored in the results of her parenting.

  • Dawn

    My vote is for Judy Brewer. She is a great woman!

  • Leia Nelson

    My vote is for Judy Brewer. I know her personally and she is truly an inspiration.

  • Mikala Bruno

    Hands down Judy Brewer. Not only is she an incredible mother to her children, exuding a positive and strong soul, she is a women who lives out the phrase “it takes a village to raise a child”. She has been like a second mother to me and my brother and sister, and I see her share that same loving spirit with all the kids we grew up with. She is the perfect mother to receive this gift on mother’s day.

  • Christine Wagner

    I vote for Judy Brewer! I have to agree with her daughter in that I always hear her thankfullness.

  • Erin Chase

    I wold like to vote fo Helen Girard. I know her an speak to the fact that she is a shining example of a mother.

  • Christina Hunt

    Helen Girard deserves to win the day of pampering! What an amazing lady and its fantastic to know she is still so willing to give of herself! Happy Mother’s Day!

  • Laurel

    I’m voting for Karen Brenneman. I’ve known her since I was 8 years old and have always loved seeing her. Greg and Grant are two upstanding young men and she should be very proud to have raised them with Scott. <3

  • Carolin Kauten

    I vote for Helen Girard, who in my experience most definitely deserved to win. She is one of the most generous, kind mothers I know. Happy mother’s day Helen!

  • Shannon Salmon

    I vote for Helen Girard–she is an exceptional woman!

  • Julie Edwards

    I vote: Judy Brewer – Her daughter’s story brought tears to my eyes. I know Judy, and she’s truly a wonderful Mother!

  • Denise Hamlett

    I vote for Judy Brewer! Elizabeth’s tribute exemplifies the wonderful mother Judy is to her chlidren and the wonderful people they are because they’ve been blessed with a mother that loves them and cares. Judy is one of the most giving and caring people I know.

  • Linda J

    Judy Brewer!!!! I’m honored that I work with this amazing woman. She gets emotional just talking about her children, how proud she is of them. This is a reflection of herself, afterall, they learned from simply.. the BEST!

  • Barb Yeeariys

    I am voting for Judy Brewer! She is the greatest person. She always has a smile on her face.

  • Melissa Olson

    My vote goes to Helen Girard for being such a strong, wonderful and loving mom!

  • Patti Goede

    My vote goes to my wonderful aunt Helen Girard. She is the most amazing woman I know. She got her degree in education and taught children many years because of the love she has for children. She is a great advocate for special needs children and I love, respect and adore this woman. I have an autistic grandchild and when we talk, we laugh, we cry and most of all we love the family values. She is a wonderful mother and deserves to be pampered. Happy Mothers Day

  • Paul Carter

    Helen Girard came into our lives through our sons, students at Taft Middle School. We had not been in Iowa long when our oldest entered Taft. From the start, Helen was engaged with our kids. They both contine to relive stories from Taft, starring “Funny Ms Girard”. We feel extremely lucky to have our sons in her class as the life leasons learned continue to be applied on a daily basis.

    Helen Girard deserves this recognition to acknowledge her years of selfless service to the CRCS and countless students whose lives are better because of a caring invloved Teacher. And also a GREAT MOM !!!

  • erica kauten

    I vote for Amazing Helen Girard. Everything her daughter wrote about her is the unvarnished truth. She’s a true model of dedication and love and devotion. Well deserving of this award!

    erica kauten

  • Nicole

    I vote for Karen Brenneman! She really has raised some fine young men.

  • Megan Sherwood

    Karen Brenneman sounds like an amazing mom! Best of luck, you deserve it!

  • Tyler

    I’m Voting for Karen Brennenman. I think she deserves this award Because shes a hard working individual that doesn’t just care about taking care of her self, she cares about making everyone happy!

  • Kyle Slaymaker

    I vote Karen! The Brenneman’s are a great family and I have known Grant since middle school. Every time I see Karen she is cheerful and great to be around. Along with that, she raised two great kids!

  • Amy

    My vote is for Karen Brenneman!

  • Jessica Evans

    Karen Brenneman! She is an awesome woman who truly deserves honorary title!

  • Arcadia Beery

    I can’t think of anyone who deserves this more than Judy Brewer!!

  • Josh Ernst

    I vote for Karen Brenneman! Good luck.

  • kristen hahn

    I vote for Karen brenneman because i am a friend of Greg and grant and they are both great guys. Takes a great mother to raise two boys haha :)

  • Shannon G

    My vote is for Karen Brenneman

  • grayson t.


  • Brianna S

    My vote is for Karen Brenneman!

  • Charles

    I am voting for Judy Brewer!!!

  • Libby

    YAY JUDY BREWER!!! I vote for her! She has awesome kids!! :D

  • April

    My vote is to Helen!! Good luck ladies you all deserve a spa day… way to set an example and shine in the lives of all your children and others.

  • Amy Hull

    100% Judy Brewer. I’m reminded of a quote: “naked or clothed, he carried himself with a grace that comes only from being cherished.” That’s what I’ve seen Judy give her children. That’s what I’ve seen Judy give everyone that spends any amount of time in her presence.

  • Stacey Carter

    I vote for Karen Brenneman

  • Joannie

    Karen Brenneman!

  • Tina

    My vote: Karen Brenneman – she deserves something special :)

  • CJ

    Karen Brenneman!

  • Tyler Sievertsen

    My vote is for Karen Brenneman, I met her son Grant playing football in high school and she was always there for all of us and raised two very hard working sons!

  • Pam M

    Helen Girard. What a strong and devoted mother!

  • Leslie

    My vote is for Karen. She has raised awesome kids, who truly are kind and considerate. She has passed down great morals and values to her kids! Go Karen!

  • Patricia

    My vote is for Karen Brenneman! I have had the pleasure of first babysitting the boys when they were very young. Karen’s faith and influence has always been positive, as witness to Greg’s words. Way to go Karen!

  • Rachael Spring

    Karen Brennerman!

  • Brad

    I’m voting for Karen Brenneman

  • Nicole

    I vote Karen Brenneman! She related to my mother :)

  • Kimber

    Karen Brenneman

  • Karlene

    I vote for Karen Brenneman. She has 2 adoring sons that think the world of her.

  • Stacy

    Helen Girard

  • Danielle

    My vote goes to Karen Brenneman!
    I am proud to call her family! <3 She is an all around great person! She is very loved by many, and deserves this very much!

  • Ben O’Connor

    Karen Brenneman, because she has raised 2 GREAT sons with honor and integrity

  • Kassi

    Karen Brenneman

  • Jake Nelson

    Vote: Karen Brenneman. It takes someone special to raise a person that is willing to put his life on the line for people he may not even know. Takes an even more special preson to support that kind of commitment and dedication.

  • Darrin Hayes

    Karen Brenneman

  • Greg

    Karen Brenneman, because she gives me the strength to know that everything will work out one way or another. Love you Mom!

  • Jenny

    Karen Brenneman. She’s an unbelievable cook, especially desserts, and a very hardworking, kind woman.

  • Emily

    Karen Brenneman

  • Elisa

    Karen Brenneman!

  • Amy

    Helen G, but truthfully all three of these ladies sound very deserving. They should all be very proud of themselves and the life lessons they have shared with others.

  • Lisa

    Happy to vote for Karen Brenneman!

  • Lori Koberg

    My vote is for Karen Brenneman! We belong to the same church and is our neighbor. Her family is her life and her boys are respectable young men! I can only hope my sons turn out like them!

  • Alex

    Karen Brenneman– all the women on here sound amazing but I believe Karen deserves this the most

  • Elise


  • TinaCoppess

    I vote for Helen Girard!!

  • Pam Rausch

    I vote for Karen Brenneman. I worked for Karen about 10years ago, and she is everything that Greg said and more. She always puts herself before anyone and is absolutly an amazing women.

  • Andrew Brewer

    My Mother has worked hard her whole life to become the wonderful person she is today. I dont know how she put up with us or how she became so wonderful. My Vote is for Judy Brewer

  • Megan

    I vote for Karen Brenneman!

  • Jodee Sanny

    I vote for Karen Brenneman because she has raised two awesome young men!

  • Jade


  • Doug Brewer

    I vote for my wife every time. Judy Brewer!

  • suzy

    i vote for judy brewer

  • Heather

    my vote is for karen brenneman!

  • Holly

    My vote is for Karen Brennaman! Awesome MoM!!

  • Michaela

    Judy Brewer! Her house is constantly filled with teenagers hanging out with her children and that takes an amazing amount of patience and she always does it with a smile!

  • Nathan

    I vote for Judy Brewer

  • Julie Hensch

    I vote for Karen Brenneman..
    She is a wonderful mother, a beautiful one deserves it more. My own mom, suffered from frozen shoulder..she is now 100% well–please let me know if I can share any information to help Karen to good health once again. Karen has a huge support system in her sweet sons!!

  • katie

    I vote for karen brenneman

  • Jessica

    Karen Brenneman!

  • Janae

    I’m voting for Karen Brenneman!!! :)

  • Donna Hobson

    I vote for Karen Brenneman.

  • Therese Horvat

    I vote for great mom, Judy Brewer.

  • Ghislaine

    Karen Brenneman! I have known her for 2 years now and she has always been kind and loving towards others. She’s one of the sweetest people I know.

  • kearsten

    voting for Karen brenneman

  • Katie

    I vote for Karen Brenneman. She sounds like an amazing mother and very deserving of a day for herself.

  • Mike Wilwol

    I’m voting for Helen Girard! If you read the bio posted by Shirley, I was one of the kids she referenced about when Helen took an interest in my life while my own family struggled through a very difficult time. At age 13 my parents got divorced, I went from a full house with 7 people to literally no one over night. My sisters had moved out and got married, my parents got divorced, and it was a daily battle to get out of bed and get to school. Helen was my guiding angel, she took me under her wings and pushed me to stay in school, and loved me like her own son at a time when I really needed it. I couldn’t have done it without her, she deserves so much respect for her unselfish lifestyle of giving to those who need a helping hand. Thank you Helen for not giving up on me!

    • Tara


      That’s an amazing story! Thank you for sharing it with us!

      Marketing Specialist
      Linn Area Credit Union

  • Jasmine Wu

    My vote is for Helen Girard. She is everything her daughter says. Her generosity and kindness are beyond measure. She gives 200% of herself when she is asked to do something. All three candidates are deserving but my vote is definitely for Helen.

  • Betty McGuigan

    My vote is for Helen Girard. She is an incredible person in so many ways, too many to mention here. I have only know her for 49 years!! She is the kind of woman and mom we all aspire to be. Win or not this contest, Helen is always a winner in my book. All the best.

  • Karla Richard


    My vote goes out to your mother Karen Brenneman, she is such a kind-hearted individual and I am lucky to have met her, as she has made an impact on my life and I am sure all of those around her!!

    She is a very special lady and sounds like an amazing mother!!

  • Bailey Davison

    My vote is for Judy Brewer! She’s raised an amazing young man and woman! Go Judy!

  • Barb Lehman

    My vote is for Helen Girard. I had the pleasure of working with the AMAZING HELEN GIRARD. She made sure that every student had what they needed both emotional and educational. She deserves this 100%.

  • Chris Carman

    I vote for Helen Girard. She’s such a caring and giving person. After retiring from teaching, she’s still spending most of her time doing positive things for others.

  • Rosie Howlett

    Vote goes to Judy Brewer. She is an amazing wife, mother, and woman.

  • Nathan Schmitz

    I vote for Karen Brenneman. To continue to do things for her family even when she has been hit with a difficult situation.. Most people would give up and quit but she fights through her pain. She is a true inspiration to anyone who is struggling with physical pain. Thank Karen for being a role model and not giving up.

  • Jeanne Miller

    My wonderful Aunt Helen Girard is where my vote goes. I love her so much and believe she is so deserving to win this award! She always thinks of others before herself. She is very giving and kind and her children are as well.

  • Jessica Hart

    I vote for Karen Brenneman.

    I have 2 sons myself and I think it is so sweet that they are thinking of their mother.

    Linn Area CU

  • Payt Bergert

    Helen is worthy because she exudes so many positive characteristics and uses all of those mom skills to help her family AND so many others!

  • Bernadette

    My vote goes to Judy Brewer.

  • Bobbie

    My vote for Helen Girard, what a strong unselfish women

  • Kathy Johnson

    I vote for Karen Brenneman. But really it seems all three of these ladies are deserving of being recognized as great Moms!

  • Adam Reitemeier

    Judy Brewer is a mom to more than just her biological children. She took me, a newcomer to Iowa, into her home as I started my new job in the Corridor three years ago. She helped me get to know the area, gave me guidance in my decision to find a permanent residence, provided great advice for life’s little curveballs, and frequently invited me over for dinner long after I moved out. I’m still in close touch with her wonderful family to this day. Even though we’re not related by blood, she’s MY mom too, and she deserves this!

  • Zach Chapman

    See that photo for Hlen Girard, i’m that kid in the blue. Man, that trip was way back and now i’m 14 and voting for my most favorite and only grandmother in the world, Helen. Either having a grandmother or a teacher being the best, she was both and I will love her forever. She was what made my first and only year at Taft the best, and I still miss ya all, teachers and friends of mine. All of them know she will be missed and sad she retired. Again I mention, Helen Girard has my vote.

  • JAN


  • Peter

    My vote is for Karen Brenneman. She has raised two upstanding men in Greg and Grant. They are two of the nicest people you will meet in your life. They would give you the shirt off their back if you needed, and I guarantee everybody reading, Karen is no different!

  • amber mccaw

    I vote for Karen Brenneman!!!! Strong, loving and beautiful lady!! Very deserving of this!

  • Jamie Armstrong

    I am voting for Helen Girard. I met her when I became friends with her daughter Shirley in kindergarten. She was like a mom to me. She always took me under her wing. I didn’t have the greatest upbringing and she never made me feel less than because of it. She is an amazing women. She helped shape me into the adult that I am today. Before my daughter was born in 2001 she gave me the single most important piece of parenting advice I have ever received and that is to “pick your battles.” That has helped me so much as a parent over the last 11 years and I will always be grateful to her for that simple advice and for all she has ever done for me. And even more importantly she is my hero. I watched over the years of growing up how she loved her children, it showed in how she talked to them, how she cared for them, and in how she showed them unconditional love- No matter what. She allowed them to become who they were meant to be simply by loving them and letting this love show by not only her words but, also her kind actions. I have never known anyone more loving, thoughtful, kind, or deserving as Helen is and always has been.
    Best of luck, Jamie

  • Ralph Kauten

    I vote for Helen Girard. It is always interesting to see how much a person will invest in or give to themselves versus how much this same person will invest in or give to others. Helen is one who gives so much to others (her family, her students, her friends, her colleagues). She gives of herself immensely showing true service to others.
    You go, Helen.

  • Jodie H

    I would like to vote for Karen. Good luck!

  • Father Time

    I vote for Judy Brewer, I’ve known her for about 8 years now, and she is a wonderful mother!

  • Erika

    I vote for Karen Brenneman because every mom he deserves a day at the spa!

  • Matt Anderson

    I vote for Judy Brewer! She’s the greatest!

  • David Koch

    I don’t know Judy Brewer personally but know her son Andrew, and any woman that can raise such a great young man gets my vote.

  • Barb Gehrke

    I vote for Helen Girard. She has been a very devoted Mother to her children. She has always been very caring and sharing. She deserves some special time just for herself.

  • Bill M

    Sounds like Karen Brenneman deserves to win this one!

  • Abigail K

    Judy Brewer! She’s the mother of a friend of mine and she’s a sweet woman!

  • Andrea M

    I vote for Judy Brewer! I haven’t known her too long, but her daughter is my best friend. Judy is always giving and I think a spa day is something that would be something just for her and she would really enjoy it.

  • Judy Neumayer

    I would like to vote for Helen Girard. I have known Helen for 49 years. She is a very good friend and a WONDERFUL Mom who cares deeply for her children as well as others. She deserves some pampering. :) God bless.
    Judy Neumayer

  • Michelle W

    I definitely vote for Judy Brewer. She’s such an amazing woman. She makes anyone that comes into her home feel welcomed and happy. She’s one of the sweetest, funniest, most awesome women I know.

  • Staci Jirouch

    I have known Ms. Girard for about 3 years now since I have become close friends with her daughter Shirley. From the moment I met her she acted as if we had known one another for a long time. She is a very charasmatic, strong woman who will stand up for her beliefs and care for those in need. She supports her daughter in a way that is over and above what she actually needs to do and it is all because she is “mom” and that is what moms always should do for their children/grandchildren no matter what age and no matter what the cost. Ms. Girard continuously discusses her many years as a teacher and talks of her prior students often as if they were a part of her family. She loved teaching and to this day loves supporting our community. I wish I had been taught by Ms. Girard because she is a great mentor for young children, something this world needs right now. In conclusion, no matter what, Ms. Girard has put her needs, aches and pains, and worries all on hold so she can help others succeed and grow to the best of their ability. GO HELEN!! YOU ARE SO SPECIAL!!

  • Alex

    Judy Brewer!!

  • Tammy S

    Judy! I really admire her as a fellow mother. : )

  • Amanda J

    I vote for Judy Brewer! She deserves it, and has raised a wonderful daughter!

  • Beth Smith

    You must seriously consider Judy Brewer for this honor. She is by far the best E-car mom we have ever had. She donates time and money to the team. Feeding us at Electric Car events and supporting our efforts. Judy is a devoted mother to her children and their friends. I would love to have her around everyday, her positive attitude is contagious!

  • Becky H

    Judy Brewer! Best Mom in the world and Best friend.

  • Judy

    I vote for Judy Brewer

  • Ronda

    I vote for Helen Girard. What an amazing person, mother, teacher and inspiration to many more than she may ever know!

  • Val K.

    I vote for Judy Brewer.

  • Katie Sullivan

    I vote for Helen Girard.

  • Karen B

    Helen Girard has the most awesome daughter so I know she is an awesome mom!

  • Tricia

    My vote is for Helen Girard. She is one of the most giving, loving patient women I know! She takes such good care of others she deserves to be pampered for a day!

  • Ellen

    Wow, all three of these are FANTASTIC! Happy Mother’s Day to *all* of you.

    My vote is for Helen Girard.

  • Kelly Schulte

    Helen Girard. She is so dedicated to everyone else. We should show our appreciation to her!

  • Andrew Hilliard

    I vote for Helen Girard. She’s proven selflessly to be extremely deserving of this honor. Way to go Helen!

  • Erin Wilson

    I vote for Helen Girard. She sounds like an incredible mother and an all around great person.

  • Karrie

    My vote is for Helen Girard.

  • Ellen Hull

    I’ve known Helen for years as a volunteer at Linn Area Child Development Center. She’s raised her children and grandchildren, always willing to lend a helping hand, even though she’s had the personal challenge of raising a disabled son. She’s been a wonderful teacher and mentor to many, and, since having a Spa treatment would be the last thing she would ever do for herself, I think for once in her life she should get the opportunity to have the experience of being pampered!

  • Margene Howard

    I want to vote for Helen Girard. She is a fantastic lady, very kind and considerate of all. She is always there for her family and has great pride in her family. She is very involved with helping other families in need of help. She will help make sure families have a thanksgiving dinner or a special Christmas gift. Helen’s family is the light in her eye and her grandson is her pride and joy. She has always been there for her kids and her grandson and will continue to be there as long as possible. She doesn’t do special things for herself so this award would be fantastic for her.

  • Alice Hagerman

    Wow! Reading those wonderful stories and heartfelt comments was a 4 kleenex event for me. You are all such wonderful women and I am honored to have you as part of my Linn Area Credit Union family! After reading all the comments I have to vote for Helen Girard. Now… have to go put my mascara back on!

  • Alice Kauten

    I vote for Helen Girard without a doubt. She is a wonderful mother and grandmother, always giving without ever expecting anything in return. She takes so little time for herself. She is so deserving of this.

  • Julie Coleson

    I vote for Helen Girard, she’s spent her entire life being a mentor…its time we take care of her!

  • Lori Kramer

    Vote for Helen Girard! Shirley- that was a great bio on your mother, what an amazing person!! Love you guys!

  • jenny dennis

    My vote is for Helen Girard :)

  • Rose Wilwol

    Helen Girard- For helping out our family, thank you thank you!!


    I vote for Helen Girard – excellent write-up, Shirley. You have an amazing mother!

  • Deann Ongie

    I vote for Helen Girard!

  • melissa newhard

    My vote is Helen Girard, I became best friends with her daughter Shirley years ago when I lived in Iowa. Shirley and Helen both became my family while I was so far away from my own family, always making me feel welcome as part of there group!!! She raised and amazing daughter and grandson!!! She deserves this!!! Miss you Helen!! Sending you love from Texas!!!!!

  • Melissa Schechinger

    Although all of the nominees clearly are exceptional, my vote is for Helen Girard – I was childhood friends with Shirley and can attest that Helen raised a caring, beautiful daughter.

  • Trish

    Voting for Helen Girard

  • Erin McIntire

    I vote Helen Gerard

  • marrie mcintyre

    Helen Girard!!

  • hattie hawkins

    I vote for Helen Girard

  • Renee (Jellings) Voshell

    I am voting for Helen Girard. She and I started kindergarten together and went all the way into high school at Fayette Community School. We had sleep overs with each other, and her large family was a Joy to be around. Helen is a hard working woman with a heart that cares for everyone, and especially children and her family. Dedication is one of her special attrobutes. Her up bring, taught her these qualities, along with enduring faith and devotion to all she holds dear. Helen is a GEM and she gets my vote.
    A classmate friend………..Renee

  • Kyle Clabby

    I vote for Helen Girard

  • Teresa

    I vote for Helen Girard. Helen is a very kind and generous person who is always putting everyone else ahead of herself. She never hesitates to be there when a family member, friend or acquaintance is in need. Family is very important to Helen and she will do anything for them. Helen, as a single parent, has done an exceptional job raising her children. She can be proud of a job well done! She is so deserving of this gift…certainly something she would NEVER do for herself. Good luck, Helen. Love you.

  • Sandra Almgren

    I am voting for Helen Girard. Being with Helen in college showed me that she has a heart as big as all outdoors! She is all about concern and compassion, followed up with action! She absolutely deserves this!

  • Nate Williams

    My vote’s for Helen Girard.

  • Amanda

    Judy Brewer…because her daughter is awesome

  • mkp

    I vote for Helen Girard — she is a great mother!

  • Josh

    judy brewer

  • sam

    judy brewer

  • Jennifer Gilchrist

    Judy Brewer

  • Andrew McSorley

    Judy Brewer

  • Tony

    Judy Brewer

  • Alicia

    Judy Brewer. Her daughter is soooo smart :)

  • Sandy

    Judy Brewer has raised a nice young lady!

  • Gwen

    Judy Brewer!

  • Tony k

    I vote for Helen Gerard!!!

  • Ryan Eivins

    Add another vote for Helen Girard!!!!

  • Brandie Gallardo

    Helen Girard~
    I know her daughter, and through everything- mom was there! It’s nice to give notice to someone that sets a great example for her family personally, but also the community~ blessings

  • Linda Anderson

    Helen was an excellent teacher and motivator…always positive, always caring, always funny. She always put everyone first! It’s long overdue that she should be first! Bravo Helen!!!

  • Matt

    I would like to vote for Karen Brenneman, but think all the candidates sound very deserving of recognition for their hard work and commitment!

  • Mary Jackson

    I vote for Helen Girard. She was an excellent teacher and friend.

  • Bonnie

    I am casting my vote for Karen Brenneman

  • Bonnie S

    I vote for Helen Girard, but you all sound wonderful!
    Happy Mothers Day.

  • Lori Riha

    Helen Girard

  • Grace

    My vote is for Karen Brenneman

  • Andrea

    i would like to vote for Karen Brenneman

  • Stacie Wilson

    Voting for Karen Brenneman

  • JoAnn

    All wonderful Moms but I vote for Helen Girard

  • Jane

    My vote is for Helen Girard

  • Andrew Ward

    My vote is for Karen Brenneman

  • Hannah

    My vote goes to Karen Brenneman!

  • Marsha OConnell

    I vote for Helen Girard. She is awesome!!

  • Kayleen

    My vote is for Helen Girard. She was a motherly teacher to my older children.

  • Michelle

    My vote goes to Helen Girard! Helen is such a wonderful woman, she deserves it!

  • Sandra Lighthall

    I am voting for Helen Girard, she is the best of the best Moms ever

  • Machelle Enright

    I am voting for Helen Girard

  • Richard

    My vote is for Helen Girard. She is a wonderful, caring and giving person.

  • kbunnie

    She is a very good mom and friend.

  • Liz

    They all sound extraordinary. Since I can only vote for one my vote goes to Karen. She seems like an amazing women who raised a great family and reamined positive even under difficult circumstances.

  • Lisa

    My vote is for Helen Girard. When my son was in her homeroom class, she noticed his handwriting wasn’t the best. We thought he was just being sloppy. We agreed to have him evaluated and learned he has a mild writing disability. Since it is now documented, he is able to do many assignments on the computer and when it is SAT time, that on the computer too.

  • Ericka Maynard

    What touching stories! How wonderful! My vote has to go for Helen Girard. She has raised an amazing daughter and has helped so many people. I have met so many people over the years who know Helen and have either been touched by her generous heart and hand, or they know of those whom Helen has helped. She is truly an inspiration.

  • Mitch

    Judy Brewer

  • Ed

    If I could vote three times, I’d always vote for “Judy, Judy, Judy!”

  • Susan

    I vote for Judy Brewer. She is not only a great mom, but also a terrific friend and Scrabble player. She certainly deserves a day at the spa.

  • Greg Nicholson

    Mrs. Brenneman gets my vote, just on her eldest son’s name value!

  • Chris

    I vote for Karen Brenneman!

  • KJ

    I vote for Karen Brenneman.

  • Nick B

    My vote is for Helen Girard.

  • Troy

    My vote is for Karen Brenneman

  • Amy

    Karen Brenneman

  • Jessica

    Karen Brenneman

  • Julia

    Hands down, Karen Brenneman!

  • Leon

    I would like to vote for Karen Brenneman

  • Tim Lavenz

    My vote goes to Karen B because it sounds like she needs a day of rest and for raising such good sons!

  • Billy

    I vote for Karen Brenneman! I wish she was my mom!

  • Adam

    I vote for Karen Brenneman. She is an amazing person who has raised great kids and she is always a pleasure to be around.

  • Billy

    I vote for Karen Brenneman! I wish she was my mom lol

  • Olivia

    I vote for Karen Brenneman.

  • Adam Hartig

    I vote for Karen Brenneman. Working with Greg and knowing what a good guy he is reflects all the traits he elaborated in his description.

  • jen hejda

    I vote for karen brenneman! She is a wonderful mother!

  • Spencer

    Karen Brenneman is a wonderful person and totally deserves this! Nice work, Greg!

  • Dani S.

    My vote is for Helen Girard

  • Adam

    Karen B. Great woman!

  • John

    Karen for the Win!!

  • Amy

    My vote is for Helen Girard. Sounds very deserving.

  • Mia

    My vote is for Helen Girard

  • Bond Harman

    Voting for Karen Brenneman, she’s an amazing mother and deserves it!

  • Kendal

    Tears when reading all 3. My vote is for Helen Girard

  • Joe

    I vote for Helen Girard.