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  • Military & Veterans News
    Gov. Branstad orders flags lowered to half-staff in honor of Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day weekend PDF Print E-mail
    News Releases - Military & Veterans News
    Written by Office of the Governor of the State of Iowa   
    Thursday, 04 December 2014 17:01

    (DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry Branstad has ordered all flags in Iowa be flown at half-staff from 5 p.m. Friday, December 5, 2014, until 8 a.m. Monday, December 8, 2014, in honor of Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day weekend.

    Flags will be at half-staff on the State Capitol Building and on flag displays in the Capitol Complex, and upon all public buildings, grounds, and facilities throughout the state.  Individuals, businesses, schools, municipalities, counties and other government subdivisions are encouraged to fly the flag at half-staff for the same length of time as a sign of respect.

    # # #

    Veterans' Affairs Community Town Hall Meeting Invitation PDF Print E-mail
    News Releases - Military & Veterans News
    Written by Jon Pruett   
    Thursday, 04 December 2014 09:40

    You are cordially invited to attend a Community Town Hall Meeting at:

    December 11, 2014   10:00 – 11:30 a.m.

    Coralville Public Library – Schwab Room

    1401 5th St, Coralville, IA 52241 

    Open to all Veterans, their families and caregivers as well as to members of Congressional Offices, Veteran Service Organizations, and Media.

    ‘Listening Sessions’ Aim to Seek Feedback, Improve VA System

    IOWA CITY – Senior leaders from the Iowa City VA Health Care System and the Veterans Benefits Administration Regional Office will hold a Veterans’ Town Hall from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. on Dec 11 at the Coralville Public Library Schwab Room, in Coralville, IA.

    The town hall is designed to gain open and honest feedback from Veterans, their family members and other beneficiaries. VA also welcomes input from congressional stakeholders, Veteran service organizations, nongovernmental organizations and other community partners.

    VA facilities around the country are holding town hall meetings on a quarterly basis “to improve communication with, and hear directly from, Veterans nationwide.” “Caring for Veterans is a calling, and our first commitment is to provide Veterans and their families the timely, quality care and benefits they have earned and deserve through their service to our Nation,” said VA Secretary Robert McDonald. “As we seek continual improvement and to rebuild trust among Veterans, it is critical that we continue to listen and learn directly from those who use our system.”

    The library is located at: 1401 5th St, Coralville, IA 52241

    Why Does Every Care Package Count? PDF Print E-mail
    News Releases - Military & Veterans News
    Written by Carolyn Blashek   
    Tuesday, 25 November 2014 16:40
    Send a care package for $15

    Our mission is strong. It is strong because you honor the Military each day when you assemble packages, hand-make scarves and bracelets, organize collection drives and write letters from home.

    Our mission is important. It is important because-- together--we show our Troops that we remember and appreciate them.

    Our dedicated supporters, including YOU, have made a tremendous impact on the morale of our service members over the past 12 years.  Since March 2003, we have sent 1,155,198 Operation Gratitude Care Packages, touching countless lives.

    However, the need is still great.  Why?

    Because there are more than 150,000 American service members deployed far from home and loved ones, most in harm’s way.

    Because we are still sending packages to Iraq and Afghanistan.  We are sending to Liberia.  We are sending to Korea.  We are sending to ships throughout international waters.  Plus, we are sending packages to tens of thousands of Veterans and New Recruits here at home.

    All of our heroes need a reminder that the American people are thinking of them and appreciate their service.

    Whether you knit a warm scarf, write a letter, donate care package items, give $15 to send one package, $45 to send three packages, or send a package every month of the year for $180, we need your help.

    As we begin to celebrate the holiday season, I hope you will take this opportunity to visit www.OperationGratitude.com and support our continuing mission to serve those who serve.

    Thank you for your ongoing support of our brave men and women in uniform.


    Carolyn Blashek
    Founder, Operation Gratitude

    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.

    # # #

    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.”


    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.


    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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