First Recipient For Community “Marty Hall” Award Chosen In KHS’s Rita Zirkel

Written by on September 3, 2020

Keokuk, IA – The first recipient of “The Marty Award” has been chosen and rewarded to Keokuk High School’s own Rita Zirkel. Surprise came over the face of Mrs. Zirkel today when Hal and Mandy Hall, Marc Johnson of Lucky’s and Leah Jones of Radio Keokuk arrived today to honor her with the award.

Jones said, “That is why Rita is the perfect recipient of “The Marty Award”. She never asked for or considered being given an award or recognition in all the many ways that she helps others around her at KHS and her community, just like Marty. I am so honored to be a part of giving her this very deserved award”.

Nominated by colleague Rex Muston, he spoke of Mrs. Zirkel’s continuous dedication to those in need: “As the secretary in the guidance department at KHS, Rita Zirkel wears numerous hats over the course of the year. She helps with distribution of food to students who are in need. Rita has assisted kids needing alterations for dresses for formal dances over the years. She has played a big part in the canned food drives we have had at KHS. Rita literally bleeds for KHS when there are blood drives, and has been a major part of our concession booth excellence at sporting events. The volunteer group Konnections is one of the most outstanding philanthropic organizations at KHS. Rita has run Konnections, and helped kids in setting up and recording all their time they have spent helping others. Rita Zirkel is a modern day angel, content with flying below the radar”.

When Marty Hall passed away on February 2nd, 2019, the outpouring of community grief was instant in the town of Keokuk. When a celebration of life for the beloved Keokuk High School teacher was held in Wright Fieldhouse, there was not an empty seat to be had. There were also many stories to be told. Stories from family, from friends, from students and community members. It was clear to see that Marty touched many lives in his short time here and that what he gave to others had made its mark.

It was that mark that inspired Leah Jones and Marc Johnson of Keokuk to keep the spirit of Marty alive in the community. Working together Mr. Johnson and Ms. Jones have brought their organizations together to present “The Marty Award”. The award will be given monthly to nominated members of the tri-state area, nominations began on August 3rd, 2020. The September award nominations are now open to the public. The winning recipients will be based on an individual’s contribution to the lives of others and service to the community.

To nominate an individual for The Marty Award you can visit the link here or reach out to either Marc Johnson at or Leah Jones at

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