9 Who Care: Marla Schiess dedicated to helping Camp Courageous

Published: Feb. 21, 2022 at 3:33 PM CST
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MANCHESTER, Iowa (KCRG) -For 30 years, Marla Schiess has been a dedicated, driving force behind the Camp Courageous Manchester Garage Sale.

She can be found there volunteering nearly every day, sorting through donations and organizing every afternoon after her morning shift working at Rockwell Collins.

But the garage sale looks very different than when Marla first started. “They had a little storefront. They had a few tables that they started. Everybody that works here, and like I said the community has been so much help to us,” says Schiess, “We kept with it every summer. We would open back up and close it down in the fall. And it was always kind of sad when we’d close it down in the fall.”

By 2021, the garage sale had moved into its largest location yet, and opened year-round. It’s the largest fundraiser for Camp Courageous.

“I’ve known Marla for decades. I’ve been with Camp Courageous for 42 years. I remember when the garage sale was still in somebody’s basement,” says Charlie Becker, CEO of Camp Courageous, who nominated Schiess for the 9 Who Care award. “A good person of great integrity over that many years,”

She’s no stranger to hard work, growing up on her family’s farm. ”We just last summer went down to the state fair and got the 150 heritage award for the farm. My great-grandfather came from Germany, and you grow up with history like that. I grew up in a small community where everybody helped out each other, small country church,” says Schiess.

It’s that history, compassion, and character that friends say make her stand out.

“I think she’s just so dedicated so hardworking. And every day is isn’t a perfect day, it could be a bad day here and she just pops right back. You can’t knock her down. She’s like the energizer bunny. Go go go go,” says Becker.

Aside from working full time and volunteering at the garage sale, Marla worked at the Good Neighbor Home, saying “I was part fill in there as a CNA, and I really liked doing that too, I liked working with the elderly and helping them do things.” She earned recognition there for helping her neighbor and friend Jackie Snyder- the woman who got her involved in the garage sale. “Towards the last few years there, she got macular. So she needed my help a lot too, and it just makes you feel good when you can help somebody out,” says Schiess.

It’s been a lifetime of hard work helping others, and Marla has no plans of stopping anytime soon. “A lot of our volunteers have gone into their 90′s, so I got a few years left,” says Schiess. “That’s just what you do, you help out people.”

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