Steve Gardner – IAWA Award of Merit
by Al Myers
One of the BIG AWARDS given over the course of the 2012 IAWA World Championships was the IAWA Award of Merit, awarded to Steve Gardner. This is the second time this award has been given to someone in the IAWA. The first Award of Merit went to Art Montini at the 2010 World Champs. The Award of Merit is a Presidential Award, meaning that it is selected and presented on behalf of the IAWA President. I made presenting this prestigious IAWA award to Steve my first “order of business” since assuming the IAWA Presidency, after Steve “stepped down” as the IAWA President after 12 years of service (3 terms) 2 days prior at the Annual World Council Meeting.
There is NO ONE more deserving of this award than Steve. Steve has given SO MUCH of his time and energy to IAWA over the years. It is also fitting that he be awarded this special award on the 25th World Meet anniversary. I was honored to give his award speech. For those interested in hearing it, and missed it the first time around, here it is: http://www.usawa.com/the-iawa-president-steve-gardner/ . Steve is the ONLY IAWA member who has attended every IAWA Championship over the 25 year history of the IAWA. He has always been a participant in some manner – lifter, official, announcer, or scorekeeper!! I have a story I would like to share about Steve and his attendance at the IAWA World Championships (this one I left out of my presentation speech). In 1990 when the championships were held in Scotland, the World Championships conflicted on the same weekend with Steve’s Tug of War team who were defending their first National Title. Steve drove through the night to be at (and help) with the meet on the second day. He then attended the banquet after the meet with NO SLEEP the night before!! That’s commitment to IAWA and the membership!!
In closing, I would like to share a few words Steve had to say after receiving the IAWA Award of Merit: “Al Myers took me by surprise when he presented me with the IAWA Award of Merit recognising my work with IAWA over the past 25 years. I thank Al and all of those involved very much. I have now ‘handed over the baton’ as IAWA International President to Al, after having first taken over from Howard Prechtel 12 years ago. I wish Al all the best and I am sure he will do a wonderful job for IAWA!”
IAWA has a rich history of leadership with past Presidents Howard Prechtel and Steve Gardner. I promise that I will “do my best” to continue what these two great leaders have accomplished.