AMES, IA – The 6th Annual Iowa Rural Summit last week included a special recognition of “rural heroes” – and Kossuth/Palo Alto Economic Development Director Maureen Elbert was one of the seven individuals honored at a special reception at Iowa State University.

The Rural Summit brings together leaders from small towns across Iowa each year, and this year’s event included a special tribute to a group of individuals who have made a difference in their rural community or region. The event also recognized the contributions of Rand Fisher, the recently retired Iowa Area Development Group CEO.

The Rand Fisher Rural Leadership Award, sponsored by the IADG Community Foundation, recognized individuals in the rural economic and community development, philanthropy, the arts and utilities.

“Maureen was selected for her impact in Kossuth/Palo Alto and beyond, including her willingness to serve on many boards and commissions across the state and region,” said Mark Reinig, board chairman of the Iowa Rural Development Council (IRDC) which hosts the annual Rural Summit. “Her work shows how small towns can thrive through great leadership and innovative projects.”

With a crowd of more than 360 individuals from 70 different small towns (including Algona and Bancroft), the Iowa Rural Summit addressed issues ranging from ag tech innovation to arts and culture to entrepreneurship.