By Marsha Smith
Special to the Herald
This will be a hard column to write as my time here at the Convention & Visitors Bureau has been a great experience.
But as it has been said before “all good things come to an end” and that’s not always a bad thing.
As of the end of December, I will retire. I have had an association with this organization in one capacity or another for 20-plus years and look forward to continuing that association as a volunteer.
I started with the CVB as a board member 20-plus years ago never realizing that the journey would take me to this point.
The memories of the last 2½ years will always be a part of me as will all of the events, reunions, meetings, conventions that the CVB helped with in one way or another. Also, working with all of the volunteers who have never told me no. As I have said many times, the volunteers are what make this organization function. Without them, some of these events would never have gotten off the ground. So another thank you to all of the great volunteers.
The CVB Board…we have had some changes along the way but each and every board was very encouraging and helpful. Hopefully they all feel that way as well. So many great events…Corn on the Corner, Finally Friday…neither of those could have existed nor been as successful as they were without the tenacity of the board and all of their volunteer help. And while some of the events went by the wayside, we are pleased that the Jaycees stepped up and took Finally Friday at the River under their wing, so to speak, and will continue this great event for Clinton folks. Meeting at the riverfront for some relaxation on the second Friday evening of each month, visiting with friends, having a beverage and a sandwich, has almost become a tradition and one that should not be dropped. Kudos to the CVB team that put it together and also to the Jaycees for taking it over. I know that the present board and any future members will continue on with the work of the CVB in good fashion.
This past year was very busy. We filled out applications for events never dreaming that we would get Tractorcade, RAGBRAI and the Iowa High School Baseball Coaches All Star Games in one summer but it happened and we survived. They were all great groups to work with and again, not enough can be said about the volunteers not only from the CVB but from the community. The church groups, Police Academy folks and my new “best friend,” Capt. Klaes.
Not to be forgotten, all of the police department members who stepped right up and took the reins on RAGBRAI preparations. Mentioning all names would be out of the question because no one should be forgotten. Everyone played such a big part in making these events come off without a hitch (or at least none that anyone had the nerve to mention).
My final paragraph will be the tough one. While I know that the friends I have made here will remain just that, I will miss them all. This has been such a great group of people to work with and through all of my “fumbling” they have helped and stood by me. Mary Jo Kinkaid has been my mainstay and right and left hand. Mary Jo has been here 21 years and between Mary Jo and Karen Friis…they know everything. Mary Jo was my mentor, counsel and biggest helper and I can’t thank her enough for that. It will be tough to find a replacement for her with all of the knowledge that she has about the workings of this organization.
So thank you for supporting the CVB and please continue that support. The Convention & Visitors Bureau is the tourism arm of our city and needs to continue in that capacity for many years to come.
Marsha Smith is retiring as director of the Clinton Convention & Visitors Bureau.