Military & Veterans News
Deb & Jeff Hansen Foundation Cooks Up Support for Every Single Armed Services Member In Iowa PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Jen Sorenson   
Tuesday, 25 November 2014 15:17

Coupon packets for pork chops, ribs, and more, offers opportunity to bring families together

IOWA FALLS, Iowa (Nov. 25, 2014) — Iowa service members will have a little more on their plates this holiday season, quite literally, with an unprecedented donation of coupons good for free pork from the Deb & Jeff Hansen Foundation and Iowa Select Farms. Every single service member in Iowa is receiving $28 worth of coupons good for various pork products, including ribs and bacon, through their unit readiness coordinators. In total, more than 10,800 active duty and reserve service members will be receiving the coupons, totaling $302,400 in free pork.

“Providing support to military families in Iowa is the least we can do for those on active duty and those who dedicate their time to civilian duty and the Reserves,” says Jeff Hansen, president and CEO of Iowa Select Farms. “Supplying the resources for a home-cooked meal that brings their families together is our way of saying ‘thank you’ to the men and women who sacrifice so much of their time away from their families in order to protect our freedom.”

From ribs to bacon to fresh pork, the coupon packets are redeemable at any local grocery store and provide for many meals worth or product, no matter the brand or cut.  From bacon-wrapped turkey to pork loin with cranberry, there are an endless array of holiday recipes that will be made possible with these donations.

“I’m humbled and proud to be a recipient of this gift,” says SFC Larry Hingtgen, a member of Delta Company 1/133rd Infantry. “I know that I speak for most of the men and women in uniform all over the state in saying that this is hugely appreciated. From bacon breakfasts, to our holiday gatherings and tailgating, this is a practical and hugely helpful gift. The thoughtfulness of Iowans never ceases to amaze me.”

The foundation is also working on distributing the coupon packets to ROTC programs across the state. The coupons offer a great opportunity for service members to sit down with their families to share a meal during the fall months and over the holidays. On top of these coupon donations, the foundation will also continue the popular Hams for Heroes Program, which delivers fresh pork packs and smoked hams to select units and families.

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Governor and Lt. Governor Announce More Home Base Iowa Communities and Certified Higher Academic Military Partners PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Office of the Governor of the State of Iowa   
Monday, 24 November 2014 14:30

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry E. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds today announced Union County, Mitchell County, Dubuque County and the City of Marion have met the criteria to become designated as Home Base Iowa communities. Today they also announced all three Regents Institutions—University of Iowa, Iowa State University and University of Northern Iowa— Hawkeye Community College and University of Dubuque have become designated as Home Base Iowa Certified Higher Academic Military Partners (CHAMPs).

Union county, Mitchell County, Dubuque County and the City of Marion join the four existing communities – Greene County, Howard County, Clarke County and Floyd County – in becoming certified Home Base Iowa Communities. To become a Home Base Iowa Community, an area must meet the following criteria: 10% of its businesses sign on as Home Base Iowa Businesses; local government supports the effort; signage indicates the community is a Home Base Iowa Community and the community creates local incentives that offer additional benefits for Veterans and that complement those in the statewide Home Base Iowa Act.

“With almost 600 veterans hired through Home Base Iowa thus far, our Veterans jobs initiative is a growing success,” said Branstad. “As these additional communities, Union County, Mitchell County, Dubuque County and the City of Marion have demonstrated, Iowans are embracing this initiative to create communities that are attractive to Veterans and to provide transitioning military members with every opportunity for success.”

Five additional Home Base Iowa CHAMPS--the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, University of Northern Iowa, Hawkeye Community College and University of Dubuque—join the three existing HBI CHAMPs—Upper Iowa University, DMACC and Mount Mercy University. The Home Base Iowa CHAMP program allows Iowa colleges and universities to become certified for their ability to educate and assist veterans on campus. The certification will help attract veterans leaving the service to Iowa and help academic institutions market their campus as veteran friendly. To become a Home Base Iowa CHAMP campus, education institutions must meet criteria in each of the three categories: On-Campus Veteran Resources, Mindfulness of Service Member Transitions and Financial Considerations.

“Governor Branstad and I are pleased to see the continued support Home Base Iowa is receiving across the state,” said Reynolds. “Today’s announcement of additional Home Base Iowa Communities and Home Base Iowa Certified Higher Academic Military Partners ensures service members transitioning to civilian life have welcoming communities, educational resources and jobs—all here in Iowa.”

MORE INFORMATION ON EACH OF THE HOME BASE IOWA COMMUNITIES 

The Union County Home Base Iowa Taskforce created a “Veterans Support Fund” in which a qualifying veteran can receive up to $2,000 to reside in Union County and be employed by a Union County Home Base Iowa Business. Additionally, qualifying veterans may receive up to $5,000 through the Southern Iowa Council of Governments Housing Trust Fund Military Homeownership Program, leveraging the state-wide incentive package.  Media and the public are welcome to attend the formal announcement event on Thursday, December 11 at 10:00 a.m. at Greater Regional Medical Center MAP Conference Room, located at 1700 W. Townline St. in Creston. Questions on the local package should be addressed to the Union County Development Association.

Mitchell County is pleased that Home Base Iowa businesses in Mitchell County represent 1,149 jobs and 30% of the total employment base. These businesses provide fulltime employment opportunities with wages at or above the county – wide median and offer their employees extensive benefit programs. The Mitchell County Home Base Iowa Fund, with local support from our banking community, Shop On State, the Foundation for the Enhancement of Mitchell County and Mitchell County offers an additional $1,000 in down payment assistance toward the purchase of a new home for Veterans who choose to live and work in Mitchell County.  Questions on the local incentive package should be directed to the Mitchell County Economic Development Commission.

The Marion Economic Development Company was successful in partnering with over 60 Marion companies signing on to the Home Base Iowa initiative. The City of Marion is one of the fastest growing cities in Iowa. Considering itself particularly welcoming for families, its  incentive package includes vouchers and discounts to enjoy any of the municipal recreation opportunities in the community, and additional items to ensure a welcoming and seamless transition for military. Marion Economic Development Company should be contacted for additional information on local incentives.

Twenty-nine employers in Dubuque County signed on to become Home Base Iowa Businesses by pledging their commitment to hire Veterans. Dubuque County’s incentive package includes relocation, career and education assistance. Questions on the local incentive package should be directed to Greater Dubuque Development.

BACKGROUND ON THE HOME BASE IOWA ACT

Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds launched the Home Base Iowa initiative in November of 2013 at the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum at Camp Dodge. Branstad and Reynolds named Congressman Leonard Boswell and Casey’s CEO Bob Myers the co-chairs of the initiative.

The Home Base Iowa Act was signed into law on May 26, 2014. It passed the Iowa Senate 46-0 and the Iowa House 94-2. The Home Base Iowa initiative does the following:

  • Fully exempts military pensions from state income tax.
  • Gives veterans, their spouses and dependents in-state tuition at Iowa’s colleges and universities.
  • Allows Iowa’s licensing boards to adopt rules allowing credit for military training and experience in the licensing process.
  • Allows private-sector companies to follow the public sector’s lead by allowing a preference in hiring and promoting veterans.
  • Eliminates the special plate issuance fees charged for plates associated with military service.
  • Expands eligibility for the Military Homeownership Assistance Program, which provides $5,000 in down payment and closing cost assistance.  Additional funding for the program is provided in a separate appropriations bill.

In addition to the Home Base Iowa Act, Branstad also signed Senate File 2352 in 2014.

Senate File 2352 an Act relating to the additional homestead credit for certain disabled veterans and including effective date and applicability provisions.

For more information on Home Base Iowa, please visit www.HomeBaseIowa.org.

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Lt. Gov. Simon, Illinois Chamber of Commerce present findings of state’s first military economic impact study PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Ken Lowe   
Friday, 21 November 2014 09:48

Military bases support 150,000 jobs; pump billions into Illinois’ economy

SPRINGFIELD – Nov. 20, 2014. The military and defense industry supports 150,000 jobs and $13.3 billion in economic activity in Illinois, according to a new statewide economic impact study released today by the Lt. Governor Sheila Simon’s Office and the Illinois Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

The figures include employment and spending related to four categories: active military installations, Department of Defense contracts, National Guard facilities and payments to military-linked retirees and school districts.

The largest impact stems from the installations at Scott Air Force Base near Belleville, the Rock Island Arsenal in the Quad Cities, and the Naval Station Great Lakes. Those bases alone support 85,000 jobs, and contribute a total of $9.1 billion the state’s economy, the study shows. The study estimates the military and defense industry supports about 2 percent of the state’s gross domestic product.

Lt. Governor Sheila Simon was joined by Illinois Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Todd Maisch to announce the study’s findings. She said the new figures should help Illinois fight to retain and enhance military bases if Congress proceeds with sequestration or Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) in the next two years.

“We know that military installations are huge economic engines in their respective communities, but this study shows us exactly how crucial they are to our state’s economy as a whole,” said Simon. “I encourage all stakeholders to use this data as a foundation for efforts to preserve, promote and enhance our military assets going forward. Tens of thousands of jobs, billions in spending and our nation’s security are at stake.”

The study was commissioned by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce Foundation, in conjunction with the state’s Interagency Military Base Support and Economic Development Committee (IMBSEDC), which Simon chairs. The impact study falls under the committee’s statutory responsibilities regarding military base retention.

The analysis was conducted by the Center for Government Studies at Northern Illinois University. Researchers used a dynamic modeling tool to calculate the direct and indirect economic activity related to the military and defense industry and reported the figures by region, Congressional district and the state.

Researchers also conducted a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats or SWOT analysis that looked at quality of life factors, including a new law initiated by Simon that will ease military students’ transitions into and out of Illinois’ schools. The law also more closely aligns Illinois with similar laws in other states.

“This study is a first step toward educating Illinoisans about the importance of our military assets,” Simon said. “We want all stakeholders to understand what we have, what we have to lose and what there is to gain.”

The report outlines several areas that need further exploration and analysis, and recommends the following steps for the IMBSEDC going forward:

  • Closely monitor military-related developments at the federal, regional, state and local levels for their potential economic impact to the state
  • Look at strategic outreach, advocacy, and communications underway by other states that are promoting, preserving and enhancing their military and defense industry assets
  • Encourage military installations and communities to identify and implement shared service partnerships with the public and private sectors
  • Stress the importance of proactively engaging well in advance of another BRAC round

As chair of the IMBSEDC, Simon helped coordinate the state’s activities and communications relating to current and former military bases in Illinois. The study is the final action taken during her service as chair.

To read the study in its entirety, please visit the Lt. Governor’s website, or click here.

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Simon to release findings of statewide military economic impact study PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Ken Lowe   
Thursday, 20 November 2014 10:34

SPRINGFIELD – Lt. Governor Sheila Simon will be joined tomorrow by Illinois Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Todd Maisch to announce findings from a comprehensive study of the economic impact military bases and the defense industry has on Illinois’ economy. The first-of-its-kind study in Illinois will be available for use by advocates at the local, state and federal levels to take full advantage of changes in Defense Department (DoD) spending.

The study was produced by the Center for Governmental Studies at Northern Illinois University for the Illinois Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the Lt. Governor’s Office. It examined economic factors tied to Illinois’ three major, active military installations -- the Scott Air Force Base, the Rock Island Arsenal and the Naval Station Great Lakes – as well as DoD contracts, National Guard facilities and payments tied to military retirees and students.

 

DATE: Nov. 20

TIME: 9:30 a.m.

LOCATION: Blue Room, Illinois State Capitol, Springfield

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Specialized Illinois National Guard unit to mobilize for Afghanistan PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Illinois National Guard PAO   
Wednesday, 12 November 2014 15:52

SPRINGFIELD, IL (11/12/2014)(readMedia)-- A deployment ceremony is scheduled for five Soldiers who will deploy to Afghanistan as part of an embedded staff team. The ceremony for the Bilateral Embedded Staff Team (BEST) A14 will be Nov. 14 at 2 p.m. at Camp Lincoln, 1301 N. MacArthur Blvd. in Springfield, Illinois.

The Soldiers will train for a brief time at Fort Bliss, Texas, before deploying to Afghanistan. The unique mission allows Illinois Army National Guard Soldiers to train and deploy side-by-side with their Polish counterparts. The Soldiers are from various parts of Illinois and were selected for the mission based on their training and skills.

"Our 20-year partnership with Poland is the strongest National Guard State Partnership Program in the nation," said Daniel Krumrei of Springfield, Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard. "Illinois Soldiers and Airmen are instrumental in developing secure international relationships, while broadening their experiences and developing their military skills."

The team is expected to return to Illinois in spring 2015.

 
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