IF natives’ gift speaks volumes
BY SARA KONRAD BARANOWSKI email@example.com
Iowa Falls Times-Citizen 02/01/2012
The $5 million fundraising goal for a new Ellsworth Municipal Hospital may have seemed a little ambitious. Turns out it was conservative. But that’s thanks in large part to the Jeff and Deb Hansen family. The Hansens, who own Iowa Select Farms and New Modern Concepts, recently pledged $1.5 million toward construction of a new $30 million hospital in Iowa Falls. That, with hundreds of other donations and pledges, brings the fundraising total to $6.78 million. EMH CEO Cherelle Montanye said the Hansens’ donation was key to the success of the capital campaign. “We are incredibly grateful to Jeff and Deb Hansen and their family for this very generous gift towards our project,” Montanye said. “The Hansens’ gift of $1.5 million took us above and beyond our goal. On behalf of their generosity, we look f orward to sharing our plans for the future with them. It is our honor to have the Hansen family name tied to this project, which will keep health care in Hardin County for generations to come.”
Jeff and Deb Hansen, who were born four months apart at Ellsworth Municipal Hospital and grew up in the Iowa Falls area, are responsible for the establishment of two businesses in Iowa Falls. The first, New Modern Concepts, a livestock building company, got its start in the Scenic City in 1978. Today the company builds turnkey and custom barns across the Midwest.
In 1993 the couple started Iowa Select Farms, a pork production company. Today, it has grown into nearly 45 counties across the state and is the largest pork producer in Iowa. It also has the distinction of being the fifth largest pork producer in the United States.
Jeff Hansen, who is CEO of Iowa Select Farms, said the hospital project is exactly the kind of cause his family supports.
“We’re proud to partner with and support local and statewide projects that make our rural communities and state a better place to live, and the new hospital is a perfect example,” he said. “We’ve been able to build New Modern Concepts and Iowa Select Farms to what they are today thanks to hard-working people and the strength and quality of our community. For this reason, we want to give back in a meaningful way, especially to a project that provides high-quality rural health care, which is critical for Iowa Falls to maintain and grow.”
Hansen said the Iowa Falls community is strongly rooted in agriculture and the hospital is a “winning partnership between agriculture and the community.”
“As you look around at the businesses and the people, we are all in some way tied to the land, and have taken on the responsibility of producing food,” Jeff Hansen said. “Where agriculture and food production flourish, so do rural communities through the job creation and the economic contribution that farming makes.”
Iowa Select Farms employes nearly 1,000 people, 175 of whom live and work in and around Iowa Falls. The company reinvests in the community through the purchase of local products from small businesses.
Longtime Iowa Select Farms employee Gary Albrecht said he’s seen the Hansens offer their help to the community time after time.
“I’ve been with Iowa Select Farms for 17 years and know that the Hansens are always ready to lend a helping hand. This makes me very proud to be an Iowa Select Farms employee and proud of all that the Hansen family has done for this community,” Albrecht, a resident of Iowa Falls, said. “We’ve personally donated to the hospital because we feel it’s very important to Iowa Falls and the surrounding communities.” Local resident and Green Belt Bank & Trust Chairman Steve Afdahl said the Hansens are reinvesting in the community where they got their start.
“I have known Jeff and Deb for over 25 years. I have watched their companies grow from startups to major employers in the Iowa Falls area,” Afdahl said. “Their success is now coming back full circle to our community in the form of a generous contribution to our new hospital. It is heartwarming to see.”
Hospital officials said plans are under way for honoring project partners in the new facility through a wall display and a historical tribute to the history of the Iowa Falls hospital.
EMH is expected to sign off on final plans for the new facility this month.
The fundraising efforts have officially ended, but donations can still be made by contacting the EMH Foundation at (641) 648-7188, or online at www.myemh.org.