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Condons honored as ELC Champions in Education

September 28, 2011
By Michael Tidemann - Staff Writer , Estherville Daily News

Tony and Jody Condon were honored as the 2011 Estherville Lincoln Central Champions in Education at the Estherville Elks Lodge Tuesday night.

"Two more genuine people you won't find in any region of the country than Tony and Jody," said Mike Clarken, emcee.

Clarken recounted how Tony started fundraisers in 1984, something that evolved into Woody's Charities in 1998, a nonprofit organization which to date has raised over $250,000 to assist people with expenses due to degenerative illnesses.

Article Photos

Mike Clarken presented the Champions in Education award to Tony and Jody Condon.
EDN photo by Michael Tidemann

Clarken noted Jody's dedication as a counselor at Demoney Elementary. He also noted Tony's six years of service to the ELC Board of Education, including his tenure as president. Clarken said Tony also served for six years as chairman of the church board at United Methodist.

Tony thanked the ELC Foundation for the award.

"My wife's response was why. There should be so many other people in the community who deserve it."

He then told who his and his wife's champions were.

Their families, he named first, including their parents.

"They inspired me to work hard at a career that I still enjoy today," Tony said. "Our families are the real champions."

He also acknowledged teachers that he and Jody had were an inspiration - even, maybe especially, those who were not totally positive.

Tony said one teacher told him he would never amount to anything because he didn't go out for sports.

Of course, he proved him wrong.

Another teacher told Jody that she would never be a counselor because she wasn't smart enough and her family didn't have money for college.

That, too, was wrong.

Last winter when their daughter, Josie, was introduced to that same teacher who had said those things to her mother, Josie asked the teacher if she had ever been mean to her mother.

"What do you think?" the teacher said.

Then said Josie in all the candor and courage of which only the young are capable, "Yes, I think you were mean."

Tony also thanked his children, Tony II and Amy, who were 5 and 6 when they lost their mother to cancer. Tony Jr. went on to receive his pilot's license before he was 18 and Amy graduated from Iowa Lakes Community College one week before graduating from ELC.

Drew and Josie, Tony and Jody's children, are champions to the Condons as well. Drew excels as a cross-country runner as does Josie in her dedication to the ELC girls basketball team, filling water bottles and videotaping. The girls insisted she be allowed come along to the state championship game. One of the players, Alyssa Johnson, continues to shoot hoops with Josie.

"A champion owes everybody something," said Tony.



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