Russ and Barb Danielsen have been named as Old Settlers of the Year for the annual celebration and reunion. The Danielsens have two kids, Curt and Katie Rose. They also have two grandkids, Jeff, 12, and Carrie, 10. The two met in Oskaloosa while attending William Penn University and were married in Corydon in November of 1970.
Russ and Barb own and operate the Southern Iowa Oil Company, formerly known as Conoco, or Corydon Oil Company.
While Barb has been a resident of Corydon for her whole life, Russ was raised in Davenport and had not spent much time in small town Iowa.
“I had never even heard of Corydon,” Russ says, describing his background in the city. He plans to talk about his experiences of moving from Davenport to Corydon.
The first time Russ visited Corydon to see Barb, he said he had no idea what to expect about the small town.
“I was in college and he came down here to meet me,” Barb says.
“Yeah, we were dating and I just came down here to spend a weekend and see where she lived,” he replies, “Of course, I didn’t know a thing about Corydon; I had never heard of it before I met her. I didn’t know what to expect.”
Russ says he was impressed that Corydon had a hospital, an elementary school, a high school and other amenities for being a small town. He also noticed how friendly the people were.
The Danielson’s like that Corydon is a community-oriented town and are involved in different groups such as The Corydon Lions Club and the United Methodist Church.
“We’ve talked about the things that are really special about the fact that you always felt your kids were protected,” Barb says, “Our kids could go anywhere. If they got lost, somebody would probably pick them up and bring them home.”
Barb then tells the story of their granddaughter who found her way out of her crib at about two years old, and wandered into the street. A minister saw her, figured out who she was and brought her home. The Danielsen’s say they might incorporate the story into their Old Settlers speech, to bring awareness and appreciation to the safety of Corydon.
Even though Russ was raised in the city, he has come to like the small town environment of being tight-knit, where everyone knows everybody. Russ feels that in small towns like Corydon, you can be friends with everyone in the community and get help with something if you ask.
The Danielsen’s enjoy seeing people who moved away returning for the Old Settlers celebration and hope their speech can show their appreciation for Corydon and the values it holds as a small town community.