Cedar Rapids man honored at Jefferson Awards for inspiring young fathers

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WASHINGTON (GrayDC) A local Cedar Rapids man is celebrated in Washington, D.C. for helping his community in Iowa. He was honored at the 47th Jefferson Awards which recognizes selfless acts of community service.

Iowa's Jim Brown gives a speech during a Jefferson Awards Welcome Breakfast to a room full of local winners. (Source: Gray DC)

"I like to think I'm making an impact," Jim Brown told the room of Jefferson Awards winners at the welcome breakfast.

Brown is a Local Jefferson Award winner.

"It's exciting and overwhelming all at the same time," he said, in reacting to the honor.

The Jefferson Awards honor dedication to community service.

Brown is among a group of more than 150 passionate honorees who are giving their life to changing the world.

"I guess it makes you feel pretty humble," he said.

But this humble Iowa man is doing big things in his hometown.

He founded the organization Wrestling for Life to help low-income students get the equipment they need to succeed in the sport.

"The response is so good we limit it to 10 pairs of shoes per school per year," Brown explained.

Brown knows he is making an impact on each of these kids' lives.

"I get a surprising number of thank you notes...it's quite inspiring," he said.

But his nonprofit is not all he's doing in Cedar Rapids.

Brown is also helping troubled fathers be better role models for their kids.

"American families are in crisis right now. Every year, more children are raised without the presence of a father in their lives. They're more likely to drop out of school...abuse alcohol...commit suicide," he said.

Since 2010, Brown has facilitated a parenting class for fathers with the Young Parents Network Dad's Group.

Brown said he is so inspired by all the honorees he will be heading back to Cedar Rapids on a mission. He tells me he wants to recruit more fathers to join the Young Parents Network.

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