Guardians of Northeast Iowa shares its mission with Winneshiek County Supervisors

By Zach Jensen,

Northeast Iowa adults with disabilities have a source of assistance. Guardians of Northeast Iowa (GNI) founder Anna Stamat presented information about the organization during Monday’s regular meeting of the Winneshiek County Board of Supervisors. 

According to a GNI pamphlet, the nonprofit organization provides “care and support for individuals in need”, including adults with disabilities, mental illness and/or drug addiction, the elderly, Veterans and juveniles aging out of the foster care system. The organization’s pamphlet says it was founded in 2016, and since then, it has experienced “remarkable growth” — from an original group of 12 assisted people to more than 200 “protected people” around the state of Iowa today.

“We provide awesome services for individuals,” Stamat told the supervisors. “We help them make good, healthy decisions for themselves, we oversee their cases and make sure they’re living places that are healthy and safe. We make sure they’re receiving medical services, any type of psychological services that might be needed and therapy services.”

GNI’s Accounting Manager Sherri Carolan, who accompanied Stamat in her presentation, said GNI also manages their clients’ financials. 

“We might have one individual that is intellectually disabled, that is able to work a part-time job, a simple job . . . and we’ll make sure he’s getting his bills paid,” Carolan said.

Carolan added that there’s a significant waiting list to get assistance from GNI. The waiting list for GNI services is approximately one year. But, Carolan also said the organization does a lot of pro bono (volunteer) work.

The accounting manager added that without the funding the organization receives to provide support for people, its clients would likely not have anywhere else to go for help. 

“Years ago, a lot of the intellectually disabled would automatically be sent to a facility, the state’s paying for them, and they’re kind of forgotten about” Carolan said. “We’re able to have these people living in the community. One of my gentlemen, who is intellectually disabled, he is so proud of the 10 hours a week that he works. Without all this . . . society’s going to pay for this somehow.”

The supervisors thanked Stamat and Carolan for sharing the information about Guardians of Northeast Iowa and invited them to make presentations at each of the county’s city council meetings.

Other business

• County Engineer Michael Kueny suggested formalizing the county’s dust control resolution. He said the county has followed an informal dust control policy for years. The supervisors unanimously approved a resolution officializing the county’s dust control policy. 

• County Auditor Ben Steines reported that the county successfully negotiated a pay increase of an additional $1.50 per hour above the originally-agreed-upon pay rate for Winneshiek County Sheriff’s Office deputies. After a brief discussion, the supervisors unanimously approved an amendment for the deputies’ pay increase. The new pay increase will go into effect July 1.

• A public hearing for the Freeport property sale will be held at 10:30 a.m., March 18, in the courthouse annex.

• A public hearing on the proposed property tax levies will be held at 11 a.m., March 25.

The next meeting of the Winneshiek County Board of Supervisors will be held at 9:30 a.m., Monday, March 11, in the courthouse annex.

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