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Police and fire departments give tours to Arc of Marshall County

T-R PHOTO BY ANNA SHEARER Marshalltown Police Department Lt. Rick Bellile tells Arc participants about what they will see during the Wednesday night tour.

The Marshalltown Police and Fire Departments opened its doors to Arc of Marshall County participants Wednesday night for tours of the new facilities that opened Aug. 29.

Lt. Rick Bellile and other officers guided participants through the evidence intake room, holding area, call center and other areas.

Alex Needham, a Marshalltown firefighter, took participants around the fire station. Arc members got to see fire trucks, where firefighters hang all their gear, which Needham said weighs between 60 and 75 pounds and the rooms they sleep in during their 24-hour shifts.

When participants noticed a map of Marshall County on the wall, Needham told them that firefighters have to know their towns well. They do not have the time to look up locations when there is an emergency.

“We have to memorize all the streets in town,” he said.

T-R PHOTOS BY ANNA SHEARER Alex Needham of the Marshalltown Fire Department shows participants features on one of the fire trucks sitting inside the joint police and fire department facility on Wednesday.

Arc of Marshall County has been assisting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities for 67 years. On average, between 100 and 160 people attend Arc events every week.

According to Jacey Stewart of Arc, the organization’s function is to make sure people with disabilities receive the support and opportunities they deserve.

“Marshalltown and the surrounding area has been a leader in developing programs and opportunities since its formation, and we work with individuals and other organizations in a collaborative fashion,” she said.

Arc hosts social events for adults throughout the year and for school age children during the summer.

Stewart believes the organization is unlike any other group in Iowa.

Skylar Smith, an Arc participant, looks at items on display in the Marshalltown Police and Fire Station.

“What is interesting is that all of these opportunities in Marshall County are unique,” Stewart said. “Nobody else in Iowa has so many all-encompassing opportunities for these individuals.”

Two organizations –Mid-Iowa Workshops, Inc. and Central Iowa Residential Services — branched off from Arc and offer specific services to people with disabilities. Mid-Iowa Workshops offers

employment opportunities, while CIRSI assists with housing.

Melissa Ritter, a member of Arc, said she has a lot of fun at events and wants to thank organizers for setting them up.

“I started going to Arc in 2006 when Jacey’s dad, Rod, was in charge,” she said.

For those who would like to support Arc of Marshall County, people can host or volunteer for events, donate items for events or make tax deductible donations.

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Contact Anna Shearer at 641-753-6611 or ashearer@timesrepublican.com

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