By Katie Dahlstrom
Herald Staff Writer
Clinton residents Bill and Lois Hall have been chosen to represent Iowa as citizen heroes as Iowa plays Nebraska in the second annual “Heroes Game” football contest on Friday.
To the couple, however, it’s their dogs that deserve the recognition.
For more than 15 years, the Halls have used their dogs for search and rescue missions in different communities through their nonprofit and served as reserve deputies with the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office. They currently own three trained dogs: Hawk, a 9-year-old German Shepherd; Deker, an 8-year-old Collie; and Strider, a 2-year-old German Shepherd.
Two of the Halls’ dogs, Hawk and Deker, are also therapy dogs. The Halls’ dogs have provided 25 years of service for therapy visits to local schools and hospitals. They also are active in the Clinton Police Department’s Citizen Police Academy.
“To call us heroes doesn’t seem to match up for us,” Bill said. “From our perspective, our dogs are the heroes. We made the conscious decision to do this for our community, they do it because we asked them to. We are honored.”
The Halls started working with seeing eye dogs when they lived in Delaware before coming to Clinton.
“It’s really the dogs that have brought us to what we do,” Lois said.
The Halls were nominated because they provide more than 1,500 hours a year volunteering their specially trained K-9’s through the search and rescue and therapy work.
Clinton County Sherriff Rick Lincoln during a press conference on Wednesday morning said he nominated the Halls because of the amount of time they give to helping the community.
“In addition to all the hours they volunteer to Clinton County, we realize all of the other activities they volunteer their time with in the community,” Lincoln said. “This is a perfect opportunity to show them some true appreciation not just from the Sherriff’s office but from everyone for all the hours they’re willing to donate for free.”
The Halls were one of 58 nominations from Iowa and Nebraska received by Hy-Vee stores and the Red Cross for two committees of Red Cross leaders to make the selection from.
“You guys have really exemplified what it means to be a local hero,” Executive Director of the Gateway Area Chapter of the Red Cross Amber Wood said, “You make a difference to us.”
Even after being praised, the Halls remained humble.
“We just do it because it’s the right thing to do,” Bill said.
The couple will be recognized on the field during the sold out Iowa versus Nebraska game Friday in Iowa City.