Annual Awards


Tune in February 17

featuring U.S. Paralympian Jessica Heims

Finalists have been announced for the 2022 Healthiest State Annual Awards. Iowans will be recognized for their efforts to improve the physical, social and emotional well-being of their students, colleagues and fellow community members during an online ceremony Feb. 17.

The finalists in the 10 categories include:

Healthy HometownSM Powered by Wellmark Community Award

  • Dallas Center
  • Guttenberg
  • Harlan
  • Iowa Great Lakes Region
  • Manning
  • New Hampton
  • Stanton
  • Waterloo

Individual, presented by Malvern Bank

  • Cory Arensdorf, Waterloo Schools
  • Daira Driftmier, Hy-Vee KidsFit
  • Jordan McCormick, Girls on the Run volunteer

Health Care, presented by the Iowa Medical Society

  • Cass Health (Atlantic)
  • UnityPoint Clinic Pediatrics – Walnut Creek (West Des Moines)

K-12 School, presented by HealthPartners UnityPoint Health 

  • Clay Elementary (Southeast Polk CSD)
  • Highland Elementary (Waterloo CSD)

Out-of-School Program, presented by the Iowa Department of Public Health

  • Girls on the Run of Central Iowa
  • YMCA of Greater Des Moines Before and After School Care



  • Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation (Grinnell)
  • North Iowa Area Council of Governments (Mason City)
  • Theodore's Academy Preschool & Childcare (Sioux City)


  • DLL Finance (Johnston)
  • Merchants Bonding Company (West Des Moines)
  • Kreg Tool (Ankeny)


  • Grinnell Mutual (Grinnell)
  • Optimae LifeServices (Des Moines)
  • Polk County Government (Des Moines)

Early Care, presented by the Iowa Department of Public Health


  • Little Fry’s Daycare (Council Bluffs)
  • Neverland Child Care (Sioux City)
  • Ms. Hollie's Preschool at The Big Red Barn (Huxley)


  • Adaptive Daycare Services Inc. (Tipton)
  • Children's Center (Council Bluffs)
  • Theodore's Academy Preschool & Childcare (Sioux City)

Iowans are invited to tune in to the 2022 Healthiest State Annual Award online ceremony on February 17 at 6 p.m. on the Healthiest State Initiative Facebook page and YouTube channel

Jessica Heims


Jessica is a Swisher, Iowa native who has found passion in life through a unique athletic journey. She was born with Amniotic Band Syndrome which caused her right leg to be amputated at the age of one. As she grew older, she found a love for the sport of track and field and learned to battle the difficulties that come with being an athlete with a disability.

heimsDuring high school she made the decision to compete on a global level and made Team USA for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Paralympic Games. Following her first Paralympic Games experience, Jessica climbed the competitive ranks in her track events, including setting a discus world record during the 2019 track season. She then competed in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games in discus where she placed 5th and set a new American record. 

Jessica graduated in 2021 from the University of Northern Iowa with a biology degree and a 4-year collegiate career on the university track team. Following Tokyo, Jessica became a professional athlete and continues to train as well as advocate for adaptive sports and the Paralympic movement.



Check in with our 2021 Healthiest State Award winners who were honored back in February. Each received a monetary award to continue their efforts to create healthier environments for their students, employees and fellow citizens. See how they spent their prize funds!

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