Cedar Rapids Freedom Festival Announces Its 2022 Heroes
The 2022 Cedar Rapids Freedom Festival begins in just a couple of weeks and today this year's festival Heroes were revealed.
The first 2022 honoree is Willie Fairley.
Anyone who lives in eastern Iowa is familiar with his work in the community. The owner of Willie Ray's Q Shack barbecue restaurant, Willie helped feed the community after the August 2020 derecho.
Fairley's help of others hasn't just been a "local" thing. He's been recognized nationally, on several different occasions. He assisted Texans in the winter of 2021 when the state was hit by a massive snowstorm. Fairley and his band of Iowa helpers also were there for Kentuckians after a tornado.
In the Freedom Festival's press release, they state his nomination included this: "Willie Ray Fairley is not only a hero in Cedar Rapids, but he is making a name across the country as a good Samaritan. After the Derecho, Willie Ray rolled up his sleeves and brought his BBQ to those in need. He continues to provide food for those affected by natural disasters.”
The next honoree is Bridgette Robinson (on right below).
Bridgette and her husband (in the photo above) have been running the Bridge Under the Bridge since the awful storm in August 2020. It has provided countless hot meals on cold days to members of our community. After being under the bridge at 8th Avenue SW, they recently moved to 1030 5th Ave SE Suite 1500.
Bridge Under the Bridge has also received national acclaim and a wonderful gift from ABC's Good Morning America.
Bridgette's nomination included "They are the true spirit of that is good of a person. No matter poverty, race, or conditions unknown they open their arms and hearts to those in need and give them an outlet for even a moment or a meal, to feel good.”
Unfortunately, no photo is available of the final honoree, Robert Feiereisen.
While likely not as well known throughout the community, Bob's work is every single bit as important. His nomination read, in part, "Bob is currently involved in the veteran community as a post commander, 40&8 member, 40&8 secretary, and member of Cedar Rapids Metro Council. He is also known for his creation of the Flags for First Graders program and has handed out over 1500 Mini American Flags.”
Congratulations to all three of you on all of your work and this much-deserved recognition. They will be honored at the Tribute to Heroes Dinner Friday, June 17 at the Kirkwood Hotel. A cocktail hour and silent auction begins at 6 with the program starting at 7. Clarissa Chun, the University of Iowa's Head Women Wrestling Coach, will be the featured speaker. Tickets are available here.
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