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.”