DES MOINES, IOWA — Bob Brownell has been a public servant for the last four decades in Polk County. On Monday on the WHO 13 News at 4pm, Brownell announced that his career will come to an end next year as he moves on to the next stage of life following an emotional past few years.

Brownell and his wife, Jenna, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in the fall of 2021 in Hawaii. Jenna began experiencing hearing problems. Months later, the Brownells were shocked when doctor’s found the source of her hearing loss: Alzheimer’s disease. That diagnosis came in February 2022. Four months later, Jenna no longer recognized Bob – after five decades of marriage.

Jenna Brownell is now a long-term care resident, receiving the daily attention she needs. Bob Brownell says he thought he could handle caring for his wife himself, but the stress left him in need of rescue. He says his health suddenly took a turn for the worse as his wife’s condition and care wore on him. A friend had to intervene to save him, Brownell says.

In the wake of his wife’s diagnosis, Brownell said he took time to reevaluate his life and career – and decided that it was time to leave office. Brownell, who has held an elected office in Polk County continually since 1985, will not run for re-election in 2024, bringing an end to his political career.

Brownell wants to spend more time focusing on other families dealing with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis and he wants to remind caregivers that they can’t do it alone.

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