A little more than one week after the Nov. 8 general election, United States Congressman David Young visited Indianola’s Christian Opportunity Center on Friday for a guided tour of the facilities and a discussion of issues.
Congressman Young is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Iowa’s 3rd district.
COC Executive Director Rod Braun opened with a brief history of COC and updated Congressman Young on COC’s current services. Braun also presented COC’s federal legislative priorities, including H.R. 5902 (The Disability Community Act of 2016) and the potential for a federal block grant of Medicaid to the states.
The Disability Community Act of 2016 would provide a three-year targeted and temporary Medicaid funding increase to providers of disability services to comply with new Department of Labor rules in regards to overtime exempt employees effective Dec. 1, 2016. The temporary funding bill would provide states with the time to come up with additional funding to cover the costs of compliance with the new standards.
Braun asked Congressman Young to consider being a co-sponsor of H.R. 5902.
A federal block grant of Medicaid to the states would threaten the quality of COC’s supports and services. The Title XIX Block Grant would mean cost shifting to the states and local government. COC’s perspective is that strong federal government funding keeps services uniform from state to state, and that federal funding has been more dependable than state or local funding.
More than 20 COC staff, board members and parents of people supported attended the morning session, which ended with a time of question-and-answer and open forum.
The visit concluded with a guided tour from Regional Director Kim Koellner and Program Manager Bailey Eckerson, which enabled Congressman Young to interact with the people COC supports.
Founded in 1969, COC provides residential, spiritual and vocational support and services to more than 300 people with disabilities in Mahaska, Marion, Polk and Warren counties. For more information visit http://christianopportunity.org/ or connect with Christian Opportunity Center on Facebook.
The Pella Knights of Columbus added a business donation and telethon component to this year’s campaign for persons with intellectual disabilities, resulting in the group’s largest donation ever to Christian Opportunity Center.
Travis Eisenbarth and Joe Lickteig presented COC Executive Director Rod Braun with a check for $5,962.97, topping last year’s record donation by more than $500.
Mark Wiskus and the Wiskus Group, an estate and retirement income planning company, were instrumental in the business donation approach and inspired the Knights to expand the fundraiser.
This year’s fundraiser once again featured a competition between local Pella students’ teams and groups. The annual trophy will remain in the Pella Community High School trophy case, as the Dutch cross country team raised the most money, followed closely by the Pella Christian High School football team.
Rod Braun, Bob Fessler, Derek Sparks, Nicole Van Wyk, Lorri Grubb, and Dave and Bella Van Gorp were interviewed by Joe Lickteig and KNIA KRLS Pella News Director Andrew Schneider as part of the campaign, which raised money for both Pella Community High School and Pella Christian High School Special Education Programs, Iowa Special Olympics, and COC.
The campaign ran the final full week of August and was coordinated by Art Halstead, Travis Eisenbarth and Mike Linde, who managed 50 Knights, friends and families for seven days, resulting in 200 volunteer hours.
Since 1999, Pella Knights of Columbus donations total more than $50,000 in support of COC. Its 2015 donation of $5,413.30 was the largest prior to Thursday’s presentation. Last year, Pella Knights of Columbus were in the top 3% for dollars raised per Knight.
The Pella Knights of Columbus are part of the larger Iowa Knights of Columbus, whose tagline is “Go Make a Difference!” For more information visit http://iowakofc.org/ or connect with Pella Knights of Columbus #12334 on Facebook.
Founded in 1969, COC provides residential and vocational support and services to more than 300 people with disabilities in Marion, Mahaska, Polk, and Warren counties. For more information visit http://christianopportunity.org/ or connect with Christian Opportunity Center on Facebook.