Grant check

EMA/911 Administrator Jamey Robinson, CERT Deputy Chief Jim Walker, attorney Lynnette Lindgren, MidWestOne Market President Sandy Bailey, Andy Davis and Mahaska County Attorney Andrew Ritland participate in a check passing. The grant funds will be used for improvements to the EMA building. Not pictured is Robert Wersen.

OSKALOOSA — A $29,600 grant will go a long way for improvements at the Emergency Management Agency building.

Mahaska County Community Emergency Response Team Deputy Chief Jim Walker said EMA/911 Administrator Jamey Robinson and Mahaska County Attorney Andrew Ritland worked together to create a proposal to submit to the McQuiston Trust.

“[The proposal will] help us do the improvements for HVAC and a generator so that we can open up a heating and cooling center over at the old bus barn, which is now what we call “Area 51” or the EMA building,” he said. “This is what it’s all about. With the blessing of this check, it’s going to put in the generator and do the bathroom and some other little projects that’s within the proposal.”

The building is fitted with all air conditioners currently

“This way, we have a quieter place for more training and it will be a little bit more efficient because then we can set a thermostat instead of just letting them try to run all the time,” Walker said. “Between the trust fund, MidAmerica gave us some money to help with the HVAC system so with that and the bathrooms, it’s going to take care of that.”

The funds will be put to great use, Walker said. During weather extremes, the building has been opened up for people in need.

“During the hot season, we had that [building] open. And when we had that 30 below [weather], we had some people that wanted to come in there; we had opened that up,” he said. “This way, when we get the bathroom and the generator, if the power goes off we can still open and close.”

MidWestOne Market President Sandy Bailey said the bank is the trustee for the Walter McQuiston trust.

“Every year we submit to the county and the city for proposals for projects that we can help with. This year, the committee of Andrew Davis and Robert Wersen and myself selected this proposal,” she said. “It’s pretty amazing, in looking at the proposal, how many people [they] serve.”

Walker said over 600 individuals have been trained for CPR just this years.

“But then the sheriff’s department, the police department, the county attorney, Imagine the Possibilities, YMCA, all those people come for training in there,” he said, “and Crisis Intervention Services.”

The grant will make it so the building is ADA compliant and can be used by everybody, Walker said.

Lynette Lindgren, an attorney with McCoy, Faulkner and Broerman Law Office, serves as the attorney for MidWestOne Bank with regard to the McQuiston Trust.

“We’re part of the committee and I help draft all the official paperwork,” she said. “It’s a great pleasure to be part of the process so then that way we’re giving funds back to the community that everyone can benefit from. Jim’s been great to work with and I think that definitely the committee made a very wise decision.”

Managing Editor Angie Holland can be reached at and followed on Twitter @OskyAngie.

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