RUTH                                     OTTO

   Ruth Otto was born in Willmar, MN, but shortly after that her family moved to California. Her father was a pastor, so they moved around a lot. “This is the 27th set of walls I’ve lived in,” Otto says, “that includes college dorms and seminary in addition to homes.”  
   Otto graduated high school in California and her first two years of college were spent at Modesto Junior College (near Sacramento). Her third year
was spent at Central College in Pella and after which she took a break to marry and raise a family.
   “When my youngest (of four children) was in kindergarten, I went back to school and finished at Drake University in 1967,” Otto said. She then taught
music at the old Grimes Elementary School, “where
we had only one class for each grade!” 
   Many people began asking her about piano lessons, so she decided to give piano lessons at home instead of teaching at school. “I now have about 40 students,” Otto says, “and my favorites are the adults because they really want to learn.”
   In 1984, Otto returned to school, attending Western Seminary in Holland Michigan. After graduation from seminary, she worked as Christian Education Director at a church in Des Moines for three years, after which she went back to piano lessons
    “I’ve played organ or piano in churches since I was 14,” she said. “I usually joined a church where I played and I can count about 20 churches where I’ve played including St. Peter Lutheran here in Grimes where I currently play.”
   Another part of her life happened in 1978 when she answered a call to write church related material. “I was one of 220 people who went to Madison, WI for training and testing,” Otto said. “We were there for one month and every day we had an assignment that had to be turned in before midnight each day.” She was one of 60 people chosen and has been published several times.
Harley came into her life and they married in 1990 and now have a well-blended family of nine children, eight boys and one girl.
“I think one reason I became involved in GVSS was because of the way I was raised. In the family I grew up in we learned early on that our responsibility was not only to ourselves, but to others as well, and this organization struck a chord in me. AND it was kinda’ hard to ignore this when Jay and Harley sat in our garage day after day planning how to get this off the ground after Pastor Percy Kvitne planted the seed.”
October 2011
Ruth was a charter board member in May of 2010.

                         Don                                  hart

    Although Don grew up in Des Moines, he knew where Grimes was because his folks used to bring him out to Grimes for haircuts. After graduating from North High School in Des Moines, Don attended Iowa State University with a degree in forest management. Don married Joyce Harmon following graduation, and they built a home on part of the farmland of Joyce’s family. “We lived in ‘lapland’ – with a Granger address, Grimes phone and Johnston School district.     Don was drafted in the Army in 1968 and served three years as a baker. (Baking had only been a hobby of his before that).When he returned to civilian life, he began working for Dahl’s Grocery Store and worked his way up to manager and supervisor of Dahl’s baking department.   He suffered a heart attack in 1997, and then retired in 1998. He now enjoys time with his family, especially his three granddaughters, 3, 6 & 8 years old. He is also interested photography, mostly landscape and outdoor photos, and he plays guitar.     Don got involved with GVSS when Jay Brewer contacted his pastor at the Presbyterian Church with a request for someone to come on board with GVSS. “It seemed like a pretty good idea to me,” Don said, “we don’t have Des Moines taxi service out here, and sometimes people feel isolated, especially if a person does not drive. So now we can provide this much needed service for our Grimes residents.”
September 2011

Don joined  the board on January 18, 2013 and and has served as Secretary since.



    Marie Hutcheson was a member of the Board of Directors of Grimes Volunteer Support Services, (GVSS) for one year. “Harley and Ruth Otto asked me to attend one of the first meetings,’ she said, “ and when a person attends a meeting, somehow you get caught.”     Hutcheson is the consummate volunteer. She began her life as a volunteer after she left her job as City Clerk of Grimes in 1994. She is a 59 year member of the American Legion Auxiliary, locally in the Grimes unit, as well as a member of  Polk County American Legion and the Sixth District group; She is a member of the Grimes Heritage Club, the Victoria Lodge and was involved in the establishment of the Grimes Chamber of Commerce in 1994, and now is a board member of GVSS.    Hutcheson grew up in Grimes, and graduated from the original Grimes High School in 1945. She met her future husband, Jim, and after a whirlwind courtship of three months, married him. She has three children, Rick, Vickie and Mick.    After high school she worked briefly for theGrimes Telephone Company and then went to work for the Beaver Valley Canning Company from 1946 to 1970. She worked part time as city clerk of Grimes from 1957, and went full time as clerk from 1977 to 1994.    Hutcheson said of the GVSS, “I think it is something needed for our community – it’s a worthwhile cause.”    July 2011

Marie served on the board until December 31, 2012.



 Gus Henrici was born and raised in Somerset West, South Africa. He studied three years for his diploma in agriculture sciences, and then worked with small farmers in Zambia. He went back to school to earn his degree in Theology. He met his future wife in Africa where she was a missionary intern from Iowa. Henrici came to Iowa in 2001 where the couple was married. They returned after one year to Mozambique to the mission field, but because of family reasons, they came back to America in 2010 and settled in Grimes. 
T​he Henrici’s began attending Crossroads Community Church, and after a few
months Gus was offered the position of Associate Pastor. Henrici became interested in GVSS (Grimes Volunteer Support Services), when President JayBrewer visited his church to talk about the organization being developed, and subsequently was made a member of the Board of Directors. “Community is important,” Henrici says, “serving the community, and doing for each other is important. We tend to think that there is great need for serving in the mission field, but there are needs everywhere, even here in Grimes.” June  2011

Gus served on the board from Dec. 14, 2010 until Dec. 31, 2013 and continues to actively volunteer.





Jerry Nicklos grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, and moved to Iowa when her husband’s job brought them to Ogden, Iowa. She worked as a sub at the Ogden Post Office for eight years before becoming a full time postal worker for 13 years. Her husband died in 1999. She retired in 2002 and moved to Grimes in 2008. 

When asked how she got involved in GVSS she replied. “I went to a senior luncheon at St. Peter Lutheran Church and heard Jay Brewer’s talk on this new organization he was starting up, GVSS,” Nicklos said. “It sounded like something I’d be interested in so I ‘went for it,’” She became a board member and then was elected secretary in 2011. Nicklos raised three children, a daughter who lives in Grimes and two sons, one in State Center and the other in Ogden. She has four grandchildren. Nicklos has a variety of interests and said “I’ll try anything once,” May 2011

Jerry has served as secretary of the Board and is the current GVSS Vice President.  She was honored in January 2014 as the Grimes Chamber and Economic Development 2013 Citizen of the Year.  Feb. 2014

​Jerry joined the board on June 15, 2010 and served one year as secretary. She served as Vice President 2014-2018.

Harley Otto is recognized as our first volunteer.  He was providing transportation to Rev. Percy Kvitne, a retired Lutheran pastor who came up with the idea for what became GVSS.  Harley was instrumental in spreading the word and recruiting others to the idea.



    Harley Otto was born and raised in Nebraska. After graduating high school, he went into construction work, dry walling and carpentry.

 Harley married Ruth 21 years ago and between them they have 9 children, scattered around the country.    Several years ago Harley began transporting his friend, retired Pastor Kvitne, to appointments and errands. “When Pastor Kvitne said we ought to do something like this for our church members, (St. Peter Lutheran Church in Grimes), I said why not make it something for the entire community.”  Jay Brewer was invited to get on board and then the men asked the other churches for their support.    From that beginning, as they say, the rest is history, and GVSS was formed, incorporated, and off the ground.    “I feel there is a real need for this type of service in our community. You never know, it might be me who needs this service, so I’m willing to do what I can – when I can." April 2011

    (Harley went to a better volunteer assignment Feb. 2013)

Maxine Grove

Q.    Tell me about your growing up years. A.    I lived in St. Joseph, Missouri until the 7th grade.  When our family moved to Des Moines, I attended Callahan Junior High and Roosevelt High School.  Because I lacked the finances to enroll in college, I went to work at Younkers and Northwestern Bell Co. In 1947 I was married and have lived in Des Moines and Clive. Q.    You are a great example of a woman with a volunteer spirit.  What organizations have you served? A.    I have been and still am a life time member of the Girl Scouts.  For 15 years I volunteered than for 11 years I was a professional staff member.  I’ve been a Boy Scout Den Mother and a PTA member and President.  My Girl Scout position ended with I was asked to go to work for the Little Brownies Bakers.  (The company who baked the Girl Scout Cookies.)  I traveled all over the United States, calling on Girl Scout Councils. Q.     Were there other women doing this job? A.    I was the 2nd woman to be hired by the bakery as a sales person.  Because flights were more plenteous, I moved to Minnesota.  This is one of my favorite memories:  When I flew on the small commuter planes, the pilot would pull back the curtain and cheerfully speak out his every flight greeting to the 15-20 passengers.  “Good morning, Gentlemen and Lady.  When I left the cookies company I moved to Grimes and retired the first time…. For three months. Q.    What brought you out of your lengthy retirement? A.    I was offered the opportunity to be a newspaper correspondent for the Northeast Dallas County Record.  My job was to report who had lunch with whom and what babies were born.  AT the same time I began working part time for the Grimes United Methodist Church.  Later came the offer to work for the Dallas County News as a full-time reporter.  I did that.. and the retired the second time. I came back to work at the church. Q.    So you’ve gone full circle? A.    Yes, I still sit in the church office as an Administrative Assistant. Q.    What are some of your favorite things? A.    I like to read and listen to music.  A food treat for me is sea food. Q.    What would people be surprised to learn about you? A.    That I played a trumpet in marching band. Q.    What historical days do you remember? A.    I remember riding the car with my family and hearing this announcement: “Today the Japanese have bombed Pearl Harbor”.  My second strong memory came when I was at home, planning a Girl Scout campout and the TV announcer said, “John F. Kennedy has been shot”. Q.    Do you have a goal you’d like to reach? A.         Well, yes, I would like to go back to Alaska.  My brother took me on a cruise a few years ago.  It was a wonderful experience. I’d love to do it again.

​November 2011.

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