James Marone: Winnebago County veterans incentive recipient

James Marone: Winnebago County veterans incentive recipient Main Photo

1 Jul 2024

News, Blog

Forest City citizen James Marone is one the latest veterans to receive Winnebago County’s and Forest City’s veteran incentives, providing him and his family a $1,000 relocation grant amongst gym memberships and other certificates for utilities.

In 2023, Winnebago and Worth Counties partnered with Home Base Iowa and the State of Iowa to assist veterans in returning home and transitioning to civilian life, which includes a $1,000 grant to move to either Winnebago or Worth County.

“It made us feel more welcome,” Marone said. “... You’re newly transitioned, and you may not have a lot of money, so having a discount on your utilities and internet helps you get on your feet that way you can save up a little bit more money so you can try to unburden yourself,” said Marone.

Marone served in the United States Army for 10 years and was deployed four times before separating from the Army in October 2023 due to various injuries endured throughout his service. Marone was inspired to join the Army by his hero and father who served the country for 30 years. Marone left for basic training just two weeks after graduating high school.

Toward the end of his time there, he participated in the United States Army Career Skill Program. This opportunity allowed Marone to complete a seven-week trade school/certificate program that prepared him for a career in renewable energy technology after service.

Home Base Iowa helps many veterans such as Marone find jobs and transition into their homes in Iowa. Then-Governor Terry E. Brandstad signed the Home Base Iowa Act into law on Memorial Day, 2014, offering various incentives for veterans to call Iowa home. This includes a $5,000 grant toward the purchase of a home and an exemption from state income taxes on their military pensions.

“I grew up in Texas, and as far as I’m aware, Texas doesn’t really have anything quite like this,” Marone said. “Iowa has some incentives that not only entice you to move up here, and stay for a little bit, but it’s not a strong-arm kind of thing. It’s more like ‘Hey, this is our way of thanking you for moving here.’”

Currently, Forest City, Lake Mills and Northwood offer city incentives to veterans who desire to reside in their community. Lake Mills is the latest to become a Home Base Iowa community and is holding an open-to-the-public dedication ceremony on July 12 at noon at the Winn-Worth Betco office in Lake Mills.

“If you are considering coming up here and working in this pretty decent and quiet state, don’t be afraid to see if you qualify for it,” Marone said. “The worst they can say is no. If they say yes, it helps out. If they say no, it’s okay because we’re soldiers, marines, sailors, airmen. We’ll figure it out.”

By Kaylee Schuermann, Marketing Director at Winn-Worth Betco

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