Cedar Rapids Man Honored, Unsure Why

By Chris Earl, Reporter


By Eric Stidman

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Pressley Henningsen likes to spend his time outside of his job to work with younger people.

Yet, on Wednesday, a colleague called him up and offered congratulations for Henningsen getting his name in the paper.

“I received an email from one of the Washington coaches that he had seen my name in print. I didn’t know what it was for.”

Turns out Henningsen is one of the 56 Iowans recognized as a “citizen hero” to mark the first Heroes Game for the Iowa-Nebraska football game.

Of the nominees, Buena Vista County Sheriff Gary Launderville was named as the “Iowa Hero of the Year” for his work with foster children as well as actions on the job.

Henningsen, an attorney, said that he coaches youth athletic teams, especially in football and baseball, but has not been given a specific reason why he was among the nominees.

“I would have to believe it’s something that would have to do with coaching,” said Henningsen on Friday. “This year, we did a specific team travel for football and we tried to bring in money to bring in (kids) who, otherwise, wouldn’t be able to play.”

His puzzlement of the public praise came from his wife, Jill, who sent KCRG-TV9 an email on Thursday. She asked if we knew the reason behind why he was nominated or who chose to speak up about her husband’s actions.

Calls to the American Red Cross on Friday to establish who or the reason for Henningsen’s recognition were not returned.

“My wife is, perhaps, a little more curious than I am,” said Henningsen as he pointed to the hours he does spend coaching. “It takes a lot of time and she has to pick up a lot of that slack. They should’ve put her name in the paper.”

Whatever the reason for Henningsen’s nomination, he is in very good company. Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta, of Hiawatha, was also a nominee, just months removed from his award of the Medal of Honor.

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