Sunday’s prime rib luncheon at the Marnie Simons elementary and middle school in Hamburg recognized innovation driven through inspiration.
The catalyst the innovation at the school, without a doubt, has been Dr. Fred Ashler, a long time physician in Hamburg and a dedicated community driven volunteer who helped create an entirely new era and direction for the Hamburg Community School District.
Dr. Mike Wells, superintendent of the Hamburg school, gave an over view of the programs provided in the space that now bears the name of the man who inspired it.
The Dr. Fred Ashler Discovery Center was dedicated with a ribbon cutting after the luncheon on Sunday.
Through the Maker Space programs and the Farm School programs, the students at Hamburg are learning skills immediately applicable to their future.
Those lessons also inspire students toward a lifetime of learning.
Students learn while doing. They embroider, quilt, create with a laser (Computer Numerical Control Laser Cuter), design and build metal projects such as go carts, craft, learn about wood working, sharpen culinary skills, create pottery, screen print t-shirts, make books, create computer programs for virtual reality, explore media forms and  design graphics.
Within the classes, the students learn without boundaries. They dream it and then do it. They overcome obstacles and drive forward.
They’re inspired.
Dr. Wells said his experience working with Dr. Ashler has been nothing short of inspirational.
In working patiently with the kids, Dr. Wells said Dr. Ashler inspired them to find ways around problems and pushed students through adversity and toward their goals.
Through demonstrations of hard work, kindness and compassion, Dr. Wells said that he came to know the greatness of Dr. Ashler.
The community’s love for Dr. Ashler is without question.
That love and admiration is returned to the community.
Dr. Ashler’s comments to the assemblage on Sunday began with thanks to Dr. Wells and then extended to statements of gratitude for all the students and families who helped Hamburg establish itself as a unique learning institution in the state of Iowa.
This destination of accomplishment, Dr. Ashler noted, was not guaranteed.
“A few years ago, we went through a turbulent time with our school,” he said. “This man (Dr. Wells) came to our community. He is a visionary of the highest esteem
“He started working with all of us. We worked with him,” Dr. Ashler continued. “I want to say that I respect this man so much.”
Those who came to work alongside Dr. Wells and Dr. Ashler were just as important, the honoree said, in getting all the work done to establish innovative learning programs.
Willing students were led by great teachers and community members who stepped up.
“They worked tirelessly to teach these kids outside of school hours,” Dr. Ashler said. “It made us special in the state.”
Dr. Ashler said he felt great about being a part of the whole process and  added that he will continue to be involved until, “The good Lord calls me home.”
Faced with the outpouring of love on Sunday, Ashler said simply, “I feel very humbled.”
Following the meal, the crowd joined Dr. Wells in a toast of juice to honor the work of Dr. Ashler.
A dedication ceremony was then observed with Dr. Ashler cutting the ribbon  to commence an open house of the Dr. Fred Ashler Discovery Center.
The importance of the event, Dr. Wells noted in his comments was critical.
At times of achievement, the work of great individuals like Dr. Ashler may go unrecognized for years.
Dr. Wells said it was important to have an event which celebrated the accomplishments of Dr. Ashler as an honor instead of waiting for a period of unknown years before a posthumous honor.

Event Details:
The program welcome was given by Dr. Wells.
The prayer of dedication was recited by Melvin Hurst.
The prime rib meal was courtesy of Darin and Jodi Hendrickson.
Music was provided by Marty Mincer.
Dr. Tom Largen, a colleague of Dr. Ashler in a medical career dating back to 1959, provided remarks.