Iowa Senior America

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Ms. Iowa, Carol Olson CONGRATULATIONS to CAROL OLSON, Ms. Iowa 2019!

As the youngest of six kids born in 6 ˝ years, Carol grew up with ready playmates and boundless adventure on the family farm. Chores such as walking beans and feeding pigs were interspersed with family picnics, croquet games, pet raccoons and pigeons, card games and making candy. This upbringing cultivated a “can-do” attitude of creativity and resourcefulness that gave rise to bargain shopping and cooking or sewing from scratch.

Carol grew up singing with her mom and sisters, putting on programs at churches and nursing homes and Christmas caroling for neighbors. Performing together was part of life, a way towards teamwork and growth. Harmony was more than just a way to sing.

Marrying Lew, her 4-H sweetheart, Carol found her match in politics and in Scrabble. Together they pursued careers in politics, first in the Iowa State Capitol, then in our nation’s Capitol in Washington, D.C., and then back to the Iowa State Capitol. Carol has worked in the political arena as staff director in the Iowa State Senate, Deputy Secretary of State for Elections, and now as State Director for U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley. Her husband of 41 years also works in politics, spending most of his career as a legislative staffer in the State Capitol. Yes – they do talk politics 24/7!

Pageantry has also been a common current in Carol’s life. Along with her sister, they co-directed their hometown’s festival queen competition when they were just a few years out of high school. Many years later, what was to be a life-changing brochure appeared in Carol’s mailbox inviting her 7-year old daughter to participate in a pageant. That first competition was more than a challenge, but the following year her daughter wanted to compete again to prove to herself that she could improve. The rest, as they say, is history. Starting as a supportive “pageant mom” while her daughters competed in several systems, including her youngest daughter serving as Miss Iowa and competing for Miss America, pageantry and performance have taken the whole family not only across the state, but also across the country. Carol is now a volunteer local director in the Miss Iowa / Miss America program. From recruiting contestants to helping produce the pageant, from soliciting sponsors to mentoring titleholders, Carol loves the opportunity to help young women grow to their highest potential, helping them to understand self-improvement and self-motivation. Pageant friends are her second family!

Active in church, service to God and to others is Carol’s priority, followed by family and career. Therefore, Carol and her husband attend almost all the many family functions of their huge extended family. Combined with career and volunteer events, Carol and her husband do not spend much time at home. That lifestyle embodied for their daughters the sense that the security of “home” is with the people we love, not necessarily in four walls.

Carol is excited to take her turn as pageant contestant and is grateful to the Ms. Senior America organizers for making it possible.

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