New tax credit helps volunteer firefighters across the state - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

New tax credit helps volunteer firefighters across the state

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EVANSDALE (KWWL) -

A new law in Iowa is aimed at recognizing thousands of men and women who put their lives at risk every day as volunteer firefighters.

Friday, Governor Terry Branstad signed Senate File 2322 into law which would extend a $50 tax credit to every volunteer firefighter and EMS worker in the state.

Senator Jeff Danielson, one of the bill's sponsors, says it's a step in the right direction in honoring the dedication of more than 15,000 Iowans each year.

"I had looked at a career department, considered it, but this way I kind of got to do a couple things I love to do," said Justin Smock, Evansdale Asst. Fire Chief.

Firefighters in Evansdale are on call six or seven days each week.  Add to that, the regular training exercises and meetings they attend every month, and it can be daunting.

"It's really hard to keep people on volunteer departments. It's a lot of commitment that you gotta do,"  said Bob Bailey, Evansdale Asst. Fire Chief.  

"It's kind of like another full time job. But definitely one we signed up for," Bailey added.

A new law offers them, and thousands of other Iowa firefighters, a small show of gratitude for their sacrifice.

"It's wonderful to see the state government has really given recognition to that. And realize the state runs on volunteer fire departments,"  said Smock.

The men say, the $50 tax credit is helpful, but what's more, they're being recognized for their time and their efforts to save lives every day. 

"It's the feeling of helping somebody. That's the main reason I do it. I don't do it for the money," said Bailey

"Those are the types of cases that get to you, that reaffirm why we chose to do this, whether we're paid or not," said Smock.

Evansdale Fire Chief Kent Smock says the tax credit will go a long way to help them recruit and retain volunteers in the future.

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