Immigrant Champion Award Renamed to the Karen Evans Award

Karen Louse Evans

Karen Evans was born on November 28th. 1939, in Des Moines, Iowa. She graduated from Des Moines Tech. High School in June 1958. While Karen received her education she was active in church and school actives. In 1959, Karen married her husband Neal Evans. They located in San Diego, California. One achievement Karen accomplished during those years she helped organized, home based, Women Bible Study Groups in the community. Job related moves took Karen, Neal and children (Wade & Wanda) to places such as Indianapolis, IN, Akron, HO. Chicago, IL. Returning to Iowa in 1991.

Since retuning to Iowa Karen became politically active. She first worked for Senator Grassley’s 1992 Senate Campaign for reelection. Then Gregg Ganske’s 1994 Campaign for the US House of Representatives. Also assisted in Ganske’s 1996 reelection and Grassley’s 1998 reelection campaigns.


Through the experiences in California, the Evans family developed a love for Mexican Food. So one of the goals in each relocation was to find Good Mexican Food. That quest led us to Tequila Restaurante and Cantina. There Karen met Antonio and May Soto, the owners of the Restaurant, and made a very close and lasting friendship. Through out Karen’s life, she encouraged several Mexican families to obtain their legal status in the U.S.  For instance, would share her home with the immigrant; walk them through the application process; and patiently explain the procedures to them. Among the first, Karla Deleon, a Mexican waitress working at Tequila Restaurant, stood out. Karen encountered Karla while visiting Tequila. Karla is a very hard worker and is an asset to the Restaurant.

Karla expressed her dream of becoming a U.S. Citizen, but was unsure about the process. After an in-depth conversation with Karla, Karen decided to step in. Karen worked with Karla through out all of the necessary steps to complete the application and then assisted Karla in the educational details necessary to pass the exam. With Karen’s relentless backstage assistance, Karla finally made her dream come true. Currently Karla is the mother of 3 children. Karla, her husband, Nicolas and family are living the American Dream. “Karen was like my other mom,” Karla said. “She was gifted,” Neal, her husband, explained in one of the interviews “Karen had the ability to identify what others’ true needs were.” Karen never would step out in front of the room, but always worked hard encouraging and exhorting  to bring out the best in everyone she encountered.

Karen embodied the love and sprit of  regular folks here in the U.S. to folks who are new to this country. To see them prosper was her joy. Karen was a God loving individual and saw people of all nations as through the eyes of God.