Two with longtime connections to Mason City Chamber honored as Band Festival Grand Marshals

MASON CITY — Two women with longtime connections to the Mason City Chamber of Commerce are being honored as this year’s North Iowa Band Festival Grand Marshals.

Ruth Miller served as the first female executive director of a chamber of commerce west of the Mississippi River in a town larger than 2500 people, while the late Rosie Hussey worked for the Mason City Chamber and went on to work as the executive director of the Girl Scout Council of North Iowa and served as the president of the Iowa State Board of Education.

Miller says while she’s happy to be honored, she wishes that Hussey was here to be a part of the festivities.  “I have to say I’m really saddened that Rosie won’t be by my side. It would make the whole event so much more fun, and she will be sorely missed…but I felt humbled and honored and very thankful that they remembered the work we had done on Band Festival for all those years.”

Miller says every Band Festival she’s worked at has been a memorable one.   “I think all the Band Festivals were absolutely wonderful. Something we could do with lots of people, remember it took lots of volunteers who we appreciated to no end, they are amazing. They are what makes the event happen. And the crowds. There’s nothing like seeing the joy on those kids’ faces and their parents when they go by, it’s amazing.”

Hussey’s daughter Abigail Lee says Rosie was committed to her service to the community.  “Whatever she could do to make our town, our state better. I’m just really proud that she is being recognized along with Ruth. I can’t imagine it any other way, and I’m just proud to be representing her.”

Also being honored this year is the City of Mason City’s Operations and Maintenance Manager Bill Stangler, who is the recipient of the Dan Klempnauer Award, recognizing an individual who has made a significant contribution to the development, history or success of the Band Festival. Stangler and his crew every year ensure things are organized for each year’s event.