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Shawn Johnson, Ashton & Demi

Shawn Johnson, Ashton & Demi

In June 2008, severe storms ripped through Iowa, leaving a trail of destruction. Many Iowans lost much of what they had spent their lives building. Homes were demolished; businesses were destroyed; people’s livelihoods were swept away. After the level of devastation was finally tallied, Mediacom, the University of Iowa, and the Big Ten Network joined forces to create a solution.

They launched a series of charity events. To encourage support and participation from those living in the state, the joint venture enlisted the help of three celebrities. Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson joined the effort with Ashton Kutcher and his wife, Demi Moore. Like Johnson, who hails from West Des Moines, Kutcher is an Iowa native. Together, they attended a recent basketball game on December 12th between the University of Iowa and Iowa State. After the game, Johnson, Kutcher, and Moore participated in a “meet the celebrities” session. Their aim was to encourage fans, residents, and business owners to pull together for the rebuilding of the affected communities.

Close Ties

Johnson still lives with her parents in Iowa and attends Valley High School in West Des Moines. Kutcher lived near the basketball stadium in Cedar Rapids until he was a teenager. Though he moved to another city, he still has family who live in the area and were affected by the destructive storms. At the Iowa-Iowa State men’s basketball game, Kutcher expressed that most people outside the state either don’t realize the extent of the storms’ damage or underestimate its severity.

A Heart For People

Those who know Johnson, Kutcher, and Moore won’t be surprised by their participation in this joint charity event effort. Each has strong familial ties within the state and their dedication to the residents and business owners is obvious. Due in part to their participation, Mediacom, the University of Iowa, and the Big Ten Network have managed to collect over $200,000 for flood relief in the local areas.

It began as a simple effort to raise awareness of the storms’ damage and attract financial support for those affected in the surrounding areas. But, it has quickly transformed into a powerful celebrity charity event. In their own uniquely personal way, Johnson, Kutcher, and Moore have each felt the impact of the storms’ devastation.


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