Dear Publisher:

Madison County citizens live here because we value what surrounds us. Yet we each have suggestions for improvements or concerns for the future. How can our voices be heard?

A unique opportunity is available to express these suggestions and concerns through the Madison County Heart and Soul (H&S) project. This apolitical, grassroots initiative aims to reconnect people with what we love most about our community. The expected outcome is a collective description of who we are and what matters most to those who live here. Our city and county officials can use this information as a blueprint when making plans and setting priorities.

Heart and Soul strives to assure representative input from all locations and ages. Using surveys and easy conversations, H&S gathers these thoughts from a large number of people throughout Madison County. All responses are grouped together, themes are identified, and the results are given to our elected officials and to community groups for more informed decision-making.

To gather this information, a county-wide group has been formed along with several town teams. These groups will be spreading the word on how you can be sure your input is included. There is absolutely no cost for participating.

The basic way to collect your thoughts is through a 10-question anonymous survey. You may access it online through various Facebook posts or at the Heart and Soul web site: There you will find a big red “Start Survey Now” button. If you need a paper copy, contact Ester Mae Cox at 515-462-6798 or request one at The 10 questions ask you to write out your answers and may take you 15 minutes or more, depending on the length of your responses. Some anonymous demographic information is also asked to assure a wide representation of community voices.

Please share what matters most to you about Madison County and your home community. Heart and Soul believes that “All Voices Matter” and provides a method to make that happen. We want to hear all voices and share them so that decisions reflecting what matters most to our citizens can be made within our communities and across Madison County.

—Leadership Team Chairs, Madison County Heart and Soul