Lillie and Carli

Vinton's Lillie Lamont (left) and Caroline Lang (right) before heading out to New Jersey for two months from April to June to help COVID-19 patients. 

DES MOINES: The Robert D. and Billie Ray Center at Drake University will recognize 12 Iowa individuals and groups with awards for exceptional character. The 2020 Iowa Character Awards celebration will broadcast on KDSM Fox 17 in Des Moines on Tuesday, August 4, 2020 at 8pm.

Lillie Lamont and Caroline Lang will receive the Citizen of Character Award. Lillie and Caroline are two outstanding seniors at Vinton-Shellsburg Community School District. They demonstrate the Six Pillars of Character by being kind and compassionate. Lamont and Lang both hold high academic honors and balance various extra-curricular activities in athletics and the arts. With a strong commitment to community service, both girls received their silver cords for graduation which are earned by amassing 100+ hours of community service. As registered CNAs at Vinton’s Virginia Gay Hospital, Lamont and Lang were compelled to help when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States. With the approval of their parents, they drove out to Newark, New Jersey in April to assist on the front lines in a facility treating multiple COVID-19 patients. Nominator Janet Woodhouse states, “they are very caring, responsible young women – I was not surprised to hear what they were doing.”

The Ray Center annually recognizes Iowans who show the Six Pillars of CHARACTER COUNTS!: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and good citizenship. Since 2005, the organization has recognized more than 150 Iowans for showing good character.

The 2020 Iowa Character Awards are presented by Hy-Vee, KDSM-TV, CJM Financial and The Des Moines Register. Additional partners include Iowa Farm Bureau and Alliant Energy. For a complete list of Iowa Character Award recipients, visit

The Robert D. and Billie Ray Center, Iowa’s home for the CHARACTER COUNTS! and Excellence with Integrity programs, provides character and leadership development strategies to improve civility and develop ethical leaders throughout the world.