Marshalltown's Iowa Veterans Home celebrated its 125th anniversary with tributes to the past, present and an eye to the future at a ceremony in the facility's Malloy Leisure Resource Center Saturday.
Residents, staff, volunteers and the public turned out for the program which combined festive and solemn tones.
Pictures of happy residents engaged in fellowship or recreation from an anniversary video produced by Craig Schwartz of Marshalltown to remarks by Gov. Terry Branstad about a funeral held Saturday in Algona for Sgt. Joseph Richardson, a 23-year old Iowa soldier killed in Afghanistan.
T-R PHOTO BY MIKE DONAHEY
Bill Eilers, left, and Ken Wilson, residents of Marshalltown’s Iowa Veterans Home, are shown looking at a book of Eilers’ cartoon on display as part of a facility historical exhibit near Malloy Leisure Resource Center Saturday morning. The mementos were exhibited to commemorate IVH’s 125th anniversary. Behind the men is a 1862 Civil War cannon which was once located on the IVH grounds.
"Sgt. Richardson's death reminds us all ... of the many sacrifices made by men and women throughout our country's history - sacrifices which have given us the opportunity to live in the U.S.A. and enjoy the many freedoms we have," Branstad said in his remarks as keynote speaker.
Commandant David Worley, appointed by former Gov. Chet Culver in June 2010 and the facility's 17th commandant, served as event emcee.
Rep. Mark Smith, of Marshalltown, and Dan Gannon, of Des Moines, member of Iowa Commission on Veterans Affairs also made remarks.
Worley said Smith was a "true patriot" whose care and concern for IVH residents was exemplary.
Smith thanked staff and volunteers, past and present, and noted the attendance of former Veterans of Foreign Wars state commanders Larry Arson and Laurel Phipp's of Marshalltown.
"The VFW and other groups have made numerous contributions to IVH which positively impacts the lives of residents on a daily basis," he said.
Gannon, a Vietnam veteran who was wounded in battle, said he was honored for the invitation to speak and cherished the initial appointment by Branstad years ago to serve on the state veterans commission.
Central to his remarks were that Iowans, statewide, acknowledge the importance of IVH.
"In honor of the anniversary, students at Crossroads and Fairmeadows Elementary Schools in Des Moines prepared cards for all of the IVH's more than 600 residents," he said.
"They were handmade and hand written from their hearts."
Gannon also recognized Des Moines residents Cheryl TanCreti and Patrick Daugherty who were in attendance, and for their efforts in making a replica of the Vietnam Memorial available for central Iowans.
Worley repeatedly gave examples of residents, staff and volunteers for their many contributions to IVH.
He also interjected historical data about IVH and personnel.
Floyd Teske, 106, was recognized by Worley for the honor of being IVH's oldest resident.
Conversely, Worley said two residents, each 44, were the facility's youngest.
In closing, Worley said it was his goal, and that of staff, to ensure that residents who are able will eventually be able to live in their own unit.
Historically, he noted all commandants had been men.
"I would hope one day a woman will hold the post I am honored to have now," he said. "Women have and continue to serve us honorably in the armed forces."
The future beckons, Worley said.
"We must be prepared," he said. "Since
9/11, 1.5 million men and women joined the Armed Forces.
Their needs must be meet when they call on us for help."
The anniversary program was well received by one resident.
"I especially liked the movie," said IVH resident Letha Foreman. "I've lived here 11 years ... and I'm very happy."
Fellow resident Marjorie Diggins was seen looking through items at a historic display before the ceremony began.
The life-long Marshalltown resident said she was looking through pictures in hopes of finding those featuring family or friends who had once worked at IVH.
"I moved in two weeks ago," Diggins said. "I like living here."