DES MOINES, Iowa — Wednesday would have been Governor Robert D. Ray’s 90th birthday … but it was the late governor supplying the surprises.
On Wednesday morning the World Food Prize used Ray’s birthday to announce the winners of the Robert D. Ray Humanitarian Award. The Award is given annually to Iowans who’ve followed in Governor Ray’s spirit of humanitarianism. 14 co-winners were named at Wednesday’s ceremony. They were all part of the Iowa SHARES program created in the 1970’s to send food aid to Cambodia.
After those 14 were announced, Scott Raecker, Director of the Robert D. and Billie Ray Center at Drake University, took the mic to make a special announcement.
“It is a real honor and privilege for me to announce today what I think probably is Governor Ray’s publicly impacting decision,” Raecker said, “At his direction and request, joining these 14 others, Ambassodor Ken Quinn will also be the recipient of the Robert D. Ray Iowa Shares Humanitarian Award … and well deserved.”
Quinn was taken back by the announcement and honor from his late friend.
“Only Governor Ray could have moments like this after he’s left us,” Quinn said, “There are no words. Everyone who works with me is laughing because they know I am not usually struggling for words. To have the governor’s last decision include me in this is as profound an honor as I can ever receive.”