When Webster County Crime Stoppers was founded more than 30 years ago, its members wanted to make a difference in the community by helping law enforcement keep the community safe.
One of those original members was John Bruner, who is still actively involved in Crime Stoppers today.
Bruner said he joined Crime Stoppers after being invited by then-Fort Dodge Mayor Herb Conlon.
-Messenger photo by Peter Kaspari
John Bruner looks over the monthly Crime Stoppers most wanted list and newsletter. A member of Crime Stoppers since its inception in 1982, Bruner said he has remained a part of the group as a way of giving back to the community.
"Herb came to my office and told me what was going on," Bruner said. "He told me, 'You're going to be on my board.'"
Bruner, who said he also decided to join because of his friendship with Conlon, said he liked the idea.
"I was intrigued by the possibilities of what a citizens' organization participating with the local law enforcement could do," he said. "I'm still amazed by it. It's a terrific organization."
At Your Service
A weekly look at area residents who have chosen a life of public service
Position: Membership chair for Webster County Crime Stoppers
Town: Fort Dodge
Hours worked: Varies
How to reach him: 955-1909
While Crime Stoppers has seen members come and go over the years, Bruner is one of several who has been with the group for all 31 years of its existence.
"I've stuck around because it's been very exciting," he said. "It's exciting to see how it's grown and how we work directly with all the law enforcement in Webster County."
Over the years, Bruner said he's seen Crime Stoppers become bigger.
"That's thanks to citizen participation," he said. "It's growing and becoming more powerful and more effective all the time."
That work has been recognized by law enforcement as well.
"People in law enforcement have seen the importance of citizens participating," he said. "They're also extremely active as advisers on our board, and it's been a great partnership."
In his time with Crime Stoppers, Bruner said he believes the greatest accomplishment has been the addition of the monthly most-wanted list in 2000.
"Because of that most-wanted effort, law enforcement captures about 80 percent of those people whose pictures appear on that most-wanted bulletin," he said. "I'm proud of Crime Stoppers for that."
Still, Bruner said it's more about the organization than his work.
"It really isn't about me," he said. "It's about the organization."
Bruner said what he enjoys most about being in Crime Stoppers is the ability to give back to the community.
"So much has been given to us through the schools and churches and businesses and even law enforcement," Bruner said. "We're just taking time to give back, and we like it. This is where we plan to spend the rest of our lives."
Bruner said he and his family have lived in Webster County since 1968 and have become involved in other community activities besides Crime Stoppers.
"I'm involved on the church board and I have a full-blown practice in the financial services business," he said.
In addition, Bruner has also become a published author over the past few years.
"I've found a little bit of time to write three books about growing up in the '50s and '60s in small town Iowa," he said. "A lot of people in Fort Dodge have bought them."
Bruner said he enjoys all that he's involved with in town.
"I volunteer with Crime Stoppers and I go to work every day," he said. "I do that and I love my profession."