On Friday, April 8th I had the opportunity to see first-hand the many ways USDA Rural Development programs are improving the lives of rural Americans when I visited a variety of USDA-funded projects in Anita, Logan and Woodbine in western Iowa.
In Anita, I met Duane Murphy, the local fire chief and all-around community champion. He told me how the grant we are giving his community to assist with the purchase of a new fire truck will help keep the local residents safe. He also mentioned how his department will now be better equipped to provide rescue services to travelers along Interstate 80 and visitors to Lake Anita State Park.
While in Logan the local fire chief showed me their new four-wheel-drive fire truck that will assist greatly with fighting grass fires in the area. I also got a lesson on how to use their new hydraulic rescue tools. Rural Development funds were used to assist with the truck, bunker gear, automatic-lift cots, portable blood pressure monitor and extrication equipment.
The final stop of the day was in Woodbine. This community of 1,400 residents has much to celebrate. USDA Rural Development is pleased to be assisting the city with expansion plans for its fire station, as well as helping the fire department replace a 30-year-old fire truck.
Also, the community’s downtown area has recently undergone significant upgrades thanks, in part, to the Main Street Iowa program and assistance from USDA Rural Development.
For example, a local developer used our Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) to install an energy-saving geothermal heating and cooling system in two renovated buildings that now include a new restaurant, commercial and retail space.
While in Woodbine I also met with Jason Sherer from the neighboring Pisgah Fire Department. Jason told me how his department will now be able to better protect the Loess Hills State Forest thanks to a Rural Development grant to help purchase a new fire truck.
My Woodbine visit concluded with a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open a new medical clinic. More than 150 local residents were on hand to celebrate. The clinic, which is owned by the Woodbine Community Development and Betterment Association, was made possible, in part, by a loan and grant through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and administered by USDA Rural Development.
What a tremendous way to wrap up an exciting day.