Lt. Gov. Gregg visits IVH

T-R PHOTO BY MIKE DONAHEY Physical therapist Amanda Kalinay of the Iowa Veterans Home explains operations and equipment in the facility’s gym to Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg, right, while IVH Commandant Tim Oujiri looks on. Shortly afterwards, Gregg, Oujiri, and supervisors presented service awards to several IVH employees. Gregg and staff were at IVH Wednesday for a tour.

Iowa Veterans Home Commandant Tim Oujiri proved Wednesday it was possible to give a one hour tour of the historic 150-acre facility.

Guests were Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg and staff, and they received red carpet treatment from Oujiri and team of administrators.

They took Gregg and aides to key IVH facilities such as its dental and medical units, all in a fast-paced style to respect Gregg’s tight schedule. Regardless, questions posed by the Lt. Gov. were quickly answered and information given about the facility which admitted its first resident, Civil War veteran Ambrose Fox, in 1887.

“15,000 veterans have been served by IVH since it opened,” Oujiri said.

Despite the pace, Gregg took time to talk with numerous employees, and learned IVH was originally known as the “Old Soldiers Home,” a moniker still used by some Marshalltownians.

Fast forward, and currently the stately IVH campus in Marshalltown’s northwest quadrant is home to one of the largest and most modern veterans homes in the United States.

It counts 502 residents receiving a wide variety of care suited to meet their individual needs.

Basic admission standards require one to be an honarably discharged veteran and an Iowa resident. Spouses of veterans who are non-veterans may be admitted.

Approximately 900 employees, a combination of state and contracted workers are joined by Oujiri’s administrative team to ensure “Iowa Forgets Not the Defenders of the Union.”

Oujiri was appointed by former Gov. Terry Branstand earlier this year and replaced Commandant Jodi Tymeson.

She had received a new appointment to another state position from Branstad.

Oujiri’s first day on the job was May 22, just four days after a strong wind storm severely damaged several IVH buildings — including major destruction to the Scheeler Building’s roof.

“We have $2.6 million in work going on now,” Oujiri said. “Some of it is wind storm related and other was scheduled.”

Oujiri, a veteran, had worked at Hy-Vee Inc., helping the Iowa-based company hire fellow veterans before receiving the IVH appointment.

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Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or mdonahey@timesrepublican.com