2017 Beef Days Cornerstone Grand Marshals

Anna and Duane McAtee have been chosen as this year’s Solon Beef Days Cornerstone Grand Marshals of the 2017 Celebration.  This special recognition is awarded to the McAtee’s for their involvement in community activities that have made a positive impact on the Solon community and surrounding area.

Duane was born in the Coggon area and raised in Solon and Anna grew up near Morse before moving into Solon.  Anna and Duane were married in 1974 at the Solon United Methodist Church and have two children; Ron who lives in Iowa City and Dusty (and wife Alissa have 2 children, Myla and Shane) lives in Stanwood.

After college, Anna went to work for the University of Iowa Hospital dietary department and spent 14 years there.  In 1993 Anna became involved with the senior dining program held at the Solon United Methodist Church, known today as Old Gold Dining.   Karen Stange was leading the lunch program and encouraged Anna to help with BINGO. Soon Anna became a member of the site council that oversees the program and still serves on the site council today. This branched into providing rides, helping with worship & BINGO at the Solon Retirement Village as well as serving as a board member there.

Duane, is currently the site council manager for Old Gold Dining and planning for his “retirement” at the end of July 2017 after serving several years in the position.   Prior to his work at with Old Gold Dining Duane spent 17 years as a credit manager for Vincent Metal, followed by 17 years at the University of Iowa Drug and Alcohol Center and another 9 years at the University of Iowa Dental College.

Anna and Duane have seen many changes to the lunch program over their years of involvement that once included subsidized funding from the county.  However, as funding and quality dwindled, a local collaboration with the Solon Nursing Care Center and City of Solon and Old Gold Dinner Site Council helped to transition the program into the thriving program of today that currently serves an average of 575 meals a month to Solon area senior citizens.  Old Gold Dining provides meals on weekdays at the church which also includes home meal delivery to those housebound.

After seeing additional needs in the Solon community for weekend and holidays meals, Duane and Anna’s church family at Our Lord’s Church, began a Saturday soup ministry which delivers soup to homes in the Solon and Ely area. Averaging 230 servings of soup per month, an impressive 23,854 servings of soup have been served since 2004.  Our Lord’s Church also started offering free Thanksgiving and Christmas meals that began with 25 people and has grown to over 100 people attending with 1500 Christmas dinners served to date.  Anna and Duane are proud to be part of their church ministries.

A volunteer spirit is in both of Duane and Anna’s hearts and they find joy in improving the lives of others.  This spirit has been passed on to their children and grandchildren who carry on a family tradition of volunteering at Camp Reece at the Lake Darling Youth Center, located in Brighton Iowa. The camp currently has over 100 campers a year and provides a safe outdoor camping experience to persons with disabilities ages 5 – 80 years of age for one week out of the year.

Fun also describes Anna and Duane as they seek to make volunteering creative and fun for themselves and those they are hoping to benefit.  They also enjoy going to movies, auctions and their grandchildren’s activities.