IMPACT
04/05/2012 12:35 pm ET

Woman, 85, Honored For Rebuilding Iowa Town

Betty Hill-Swander will tell you that as a single mother back in the 1970s, she wasn't trying to change the world, or even her little portion of Iowa. She was just trying to provide for her daughter, and her best idea was to buy up property in Valley Junction, then a downtrodden slice of West Des Moines.

But Hill-Swander is, perhaps, the unwitting matriarch of Valley Junction and more responsible than anyone for its turnaround, which Monday made it a Great American Street Award winner with four other communities.

Read more on West Des Moines Patch

Subscribe to Must Reads.
The internet's best stories, and interviews with their authors.

CONVERSATIONS