Posing for a photo during a Home Base Iowa Community ceremony in Guthrie County on the lawn of the courthouse in Guthrie Center Friday are (from left) Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg, Governor Kim Reynolds, Everett Grasty, Bill Howell, Curtis McClellan and Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend. Guthrie County met the requirements for Home Base Iowa Designation and was honored in a formal ceremony Friday. Adair, Guthrie and Audubon were all recognized Friday. Governor Kim Reynolds congratulates Guthrie County for meeting the requirements for the Home Base iowa Designation during a ceremony on the courthouse lawn in Guthrie Center on Friday, July 6. Governor Kim Reynolds visits with Darcy Robson and Everett Grasty on the courthouse lawn in Guthrie Center Friday during a ceremony that recognized Guthrie County for meeting the requirements for Home Base Iowa Designation. Ray "Bubba" Sorensen, poses for a photo on the courthouse lawn in Guthrie Center Friday with (from left) Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg and Governor Kim Reynolds. Guthrie County met the requirements for Home Base Iowa Designation and was honored in a ceremony that morning. Sorensen is best known as the painter of The Freedom Rocks located around the state of Iowa-rocks that have patriotic themed paintings depicting the military history. Beth Townsend, Iowa Workforce Development Director, addressing the crowd at the Guthrie County courthouse lawn on Friday during a ceremony designating the county as a Home Base Iowa Community. Curtis McClellan of Guthrie Center represented veterans from Guthrie County during a ceremony held on the courthouse lawn in Guthrie Center Friday designating the county as a Home Base Iowa Community. Bill Howell, general manager of POET Biorefining in Coon Rapids, addresses the crowd at the Home Base Iowa designation in Guthrie Center on Friday, sharing his own story as a veteran who transitioned back into the community after service. Howell said it's important for communities to take the steps to help veterans return to Iowa.

Guthrie County becomes 84th Home Base Iowa Community

At a ceremony in Guthrie Center on Friday, July 6, Governor Kim Reynolds congratulated Guthrie County on achieving its Home Base Iowa Community designation. 

Guthrie County became the 84th county state-wide to secure this designation. Adair and Audubon counties were also recognized as Home Base Iowa Communities Friday. 

“Today is really a recognition of the culmination of your hard work and the collaboration that went into earning a Home Base Iowa designation,” Reynolds said. “It’s hard to believe that just over four years ago we launched Home Base Iowa to really attract and retain our retiring veterans to our state. Today, Home Base Iowa is bringing veterans to Iowa and we are considered one of the most veteran friendly states in America. Iowa is a great place to live, work and raise a family.” 

Home Base Iowa is a state program that seeks to get military veterans to return to Iowa after serving in the military, by matching them with jobs and providing other tax and financial incentives. 

Home Base Iowa designated communities serve as centers of opportunity for military veterans. To receive the designation from the state of Iowa, all Home Base Iowa communities must have 10 percent of the businesses in the area achieve Home Base Iowa Business status. Also, the community must develop its own incentive package for veterans and obtain a resolution of support from the appropriate governing body. 

“One of the biggest problems we have in our state is that we’ve got more jobs than we have people to fill them,” said Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg. “Veterans can help us solve that big problem. These are folks who are well trained, who are disciplined, who are reliable individuals. As a Home Base Iowa community, what you’ve done now is you’ve bumped yourself up on the radar for veterans to consider as a place to live and to have a great quality of life. I think that’s a smart, strategic move for your community, and the right thing too.” 

Bill Howell, the general manager of the POET Biorefining plant 3 miles east of Coon Rapids in Guthrie County thanked the more than 50 individuals in attendance for their work on the Home Base Iowa designation. 

Howell is a military veteran, having flown fighter aircraft and served in intelligence for the U.S. Air Force. 

“I stand in awe of those and advocate for fellow veterans as well as business leaders,” Howell said. “I still remember how difficult it was for my wife Katherine and I, and those who were there for our family.”

Howell, who today employs 100 veterans, shared his story and the challenges he and his family faced as he made the transition from the Air Force to a civilian years ago. 

“Veterans speak a different language and we have to help them translate,” he said, comparing his resume in the military to how a civilian reads it. “We need to continue to give them steps to return to Iowa.” 

In closing the ceremony Command Sergeant Major Curtis McLellan talked about the impact on Guthrie County as a Home Base Iowa Community for veterans. 

“Having been around Guthrie County for over 30 years, I know how well the county supports it’s veterans,” he said. “I’m honored to be part of this community, it’s a great place for veterans to become a member.” 


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