Editor’s note: This is the first of three in a series.


Business and cookies are among the passions of Casie Powell, one of three Newton Area Women of the Year award winners.


The Newton Woman of the Year Committee since 1956 has been honoring area "women who give freely of their time and talents to make our community a better place to live."


Powell is the owner of Krueger Insurance of Newton and also the race director of the annual Newton Cookie Daze 5K Run, a fundraiser for the Caring Hands Humane Society and Safehope, which "provides support and services for victims and their families of domestic violence and sexual assault at no charge."


Powell also serves as secretary of the Newton Area Chamber of Commerce, where she also serves on the executive council.


"I was a little surprised by even getting the award," Powell said. "I just found out some people nominated me for it. … I just try to do whatever I can to help people out. I try to be very active and involved. I guess they felt like that was enough."


Powell has owned Krueger Insurance since 2017. The agency also operates a local franchise of Hertz Rent-A-Car.


The Cookie Daze 5K has been held annually for the past nine years. The next edition is scheduled for June 20. Participants must eat three cookies at each water station (competitive runners may opt out of this requirement). Cookies are also available for the runners and race workers at the end of the race.


Last year’s event had 144 runners compete.


"This will be the 10th year for the race," Powell said. "It was just something we started to benefit the two organizations — Caring Hands and Safehope. We just felt like they were really good organizations that needed a little bit of extra money. We call it the Cookie Daze because we have incorporated cookies into the race. We have cookies at the water stations and cookies at the post-race food tables. We give away cookie dough as door prizes. We try to make it a fun run with a unique focus on it."


Powell said that last year her office sustained a fire but was able to overcome the setback and continue operating.


"In February of 2019, we had a fire that basically totaled the whole building," Powell said. "We had to have the whole thing gutted and completely redone. I feel like, especially my staff and husband who nominated me, they focused on that. I had to make a lot of quick decisions to get the business up and running without loss of business. It could have been really bad."


Powell will be honored at the Newton Women of the Year Brunch, originally scheduled for May, later this year.