Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of stories about the men and women selected as this year’s Heroes of the Heartland for the Southern Prairie chapter of the American Red Cross. An awards breakfast and program will be held May 3 at the Bridge View Center in Ottumwa.
CEDAR — Don Kirchner has a simple philosophy: "Everyone has value."
And that means every person, regardless of their station in life, deserves to be treated with respect and dignity.
Kirchner certainly exemplifies that message of caring and love. His work to help those with drug and alcohol addiction, his service in the U.S. Marines during Vietnam, membership with the Christian Motorcycle Association, his work as chaplain of the Patriot Guard Riders in Des Moines, co-founder of the Brother Keeper Ministries and more, is evidence of his compassion.
His work has yielded him being named one of this year's Red Cross Heroes of the Heartland.
Formerly of Ottumwa and now living in Cedar, Kirchner's work means coming into contact with a variety of folks from all walks of life.
He worked on equality and fairness issues when he served on the Ottumwa Human Rights Commission and is as comfortable with those he supports with the "Once Lost Now Found" program at First Pentecostal Church in Ottumwa, as well as those struggling with drug and alcohol addiction at the Camel Club.
It should also be mentioned that Kirchner is not alone in his efforts. His wife, Darlene, helps her husband at the Camel Club and is just as dedicated to the aide of those seeking a life without the addictive hold of drugs and alcohol.
Kirchner's efforts are non-judgmental, as they are supportive and caring attempts at making the lives of the people around him healthier and more fulfilling. And for that, we can all be thankful for his heroism.