By John Butters, The JOURNAL
RIVERSIDE ? The Riverside Casino and Golf Resort was honored Friday with a visit by Governor Kim Reynolds in recognition of its award for community volunteerism.
Volunteer Iowa selected the business as a winner in its fourth annual Give Back Iowa Challenge, a campaign in which businesses encourage their employees to volunteer and log their hours as part of an eight-week challenge from April 1 to May 31, across the state of Iowa. The winners receive a visit from the Governor or Lt. Governor and a certificate of recognition.
The casino?s volunteers, named the Winning Hands, logged more than 4,000 hours of community service during the contest period. It is estimated the group will record more than 11,000 hours of community work in 2018.
Riverside Casino and Golf Resort General Manager Dan Franz said he was proud of his volunteers? effort. ?We initiated this employee volunteer program in 2011 and it has really grown. We have won our division twice and come in second twice,? he said.
The businesses are divided into four sizes for competition; micro, small, medium and large. The Riverside Casino is in the medium-sized business category. ?Volunteerism is part of our mission statement. We want to focus on the development of our communities and become involved in them. It is important for us to be out there serving their needs,? he said.
The company supports volunteerism in several ways, Franz said. It provides opportunities for service by sponsoring charitable events and sometimes hosting them. The company encourages its employees to work within the community and it provides a financial incentive for volunteer work.
?Last year, we contributed $5 for every volunteer hour. The volunteer could choose the charity and we wrote the check,? he said.
Last year, his business contributed more than $50,000 to local charities based on volunteer hours, he said.
In her remarks, Reynolds said the volunteers were an example of ?Iowa nice.?
?What is ?Iowa nice?? It?s caring for your friends and community. It represents a giving nature and a heart for family and neighbors. It?s what it means to be an Iowan,? she said.
Reynolds said the business sets an example for others and was a model for all Iowans. ?Volunteerism is the reason why Iowa is a great place to live and raise a family. It?s the reason we were awarded the No. 1 ranking by U.S. News and World Report,? Reynolds said.
She was referring to a ?Best States? ranking by the publication that found Iowa was No. 1 in the infrastructure category and the broadband access metric. The state also ranked high in health care (No. 3), opportunity (No. 4), education (No. 5) and quality of life (No. 9).
In conclusion, the governor thanked the volunteers and expressed a campaign wish.
?I hope I get to be here again next year for a third visit,? she said.