Delania Halter remembers the year her gifts from Santa included tags that read, “Girl, age 7, “Boy, age 9” and “Boy, age 5.” When she asked her mother why their names weren’t on the tags, her mother said that given how many deliveries he had to make, Santa had to take some shortcuts.
“As I got older, and wise to Mom’s ways, I understood those were gifts of love from people who didn’t even know us — donated through the church, Mid-Iowa Community Action, or just out of the spirit of giving,” Delania said. “I cannot think of a better way to celebrate a blessed life than to seek ways to give back to the community today. I loved those purple moon boots, by the way.”
Delania’s mom instilled in her a spirit of generosity even when there is not much to share. “We didn’t have much, but Mom always made sure to share what we did have with friends, family, and neighbors less fortunate. There was not a soul within miles that would go hungry.”
In 2014, Delania worked for an EPC contractor leading safety, contracts, quality, and engineering project support for construction of the Marshalltown Generating Station, Alliant Energy’s 706-megawatt capacity generating station. “Working to help align safety practices between 86 subcontractors and Alliant Energy was a huge undertaking and one I’m so proud of.”
Even then, Delania was known for her focus on safety – for herself, her colleagues, her family and even strangers. She also engaged in community initiatives throughout construction, helping contractors locate housing and supporting local business growth. The more involved she became in leading safety initiatives and community engagement, the more she learned about Alliant Energy’s company culture and values. She decided to join the company in 2016, embracing new challenges and learning opportunities. “Seeing the power plant project from the client perspective and contractor viewpoint was so unique and educational.”
Today and every day, Delania takes safety personally and finds ways to connect in the community. “Connecting with people and helping others brings me joy.”
These days, though, Delania is the one providing the gifts — and organizing ways for other people to give as well. One especially memorable holiday season came just a few years ago, after Delania reached out to the student counselor at the nearby middle school and learned of a 12-year-old girl who had shared her struggles. “Her heart hurt every day seeing her single father of five girls work so hard and barely cover the bills. She wanted to bring joy to her father somehow that Christmas.”
Delania spread the word around Alliant Energy, and the gifts and donations came pouring in.
“We had so much fun shopping for the girls and finding special gifts for Dad, including new work boots and winter clothing,” Delania said. “We also shared gift cards for groceries to help provide a nice meal for the holidays. We surprised the young girl with all the thoughtful gifts and donations. She was so happy, and in turn was able to surprise her family. It was the perfect double surprise.”
Delania regularly shares her energy wherever she finds a need for it. She is active in fundraising and in organizing community events with Tama County Conservation. “It’s a wonderful way to connect and build new relationships in a meaningful way and make an impact.” Delania is organizing local student groups to take part in native prairie seed collection at the Marshalltown Generating Station to support prairie management and help educate students on prairie development. A recent project she helped coordinate was the planting of trees at Timmons Grove in Marshalltown. Delania, alongside several of her colleagues, community volunteers, and Marshall County Conservation, planted 80 trees. “We’re planting numerous trees that our children and our children’s children will someday be shaded by,” she said. “How cool is that?”
How do you use your energy? Fill out this simple form to tell us more about how you or someone you know makes your community better. We may feature your story and work in the future.
Photo caption: Delania Halter (far right) and her team helped plant 65 trees at Sand Lake, alongside the Marshall County Conservation workers, in an effort to restore trees damaged during the 2021 derecho.