As someone with first-hand experience in the medical profession, Laurie Tigges, owner of the Big Blue Bed and Breakfast in Adel, started a House the Heroes project at the beginning of April.

The bed and breakfast, which had previously closed in order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, was first offered the opportunity to help travel nurses and other medical staff through sites such as Airbnb. However, Tigges realized that many of her local community members were currently experiencing the fear of where to stay and how to keep their families safe if they were exposed.

“Many of my friends still work in the ER and other hospitals and I wanted to make sure they knew there was somewhere they could go. And they shouldn’t have to worry about paying for it,” Tigges said.

Tigges’ “first responder” house originally served as the bed and breakfast’s overflow house for work crews needing a rental with a kitchen. The house is located in Adel not far from the bed and breakfast, itself, and contains four bedrooms, two and half bathrooms, a full kitchen, laundry and WiFi. Tigges has also stocked the house with groceries and continues to work with many of the local businesses in order to help coordinate food deliveries for the first responders.

“So far we have had several requests and have several medical personnel getting ready to stay,” Tigges said. “The community has been so supportive and is ready to help as soon as we have a need.”

Harmony Hall on Riverside has since partnered with The Big Blue Bed and Breakfast in order to help provide housing to first responders. The hall is typically available at this time of year for events, workshops, weddings and more but owner Angela Schrad said that now more than ever, current times call for them to join community forces.

“Laurie from Big Blue reached out to me. The two of us collaborate on occasion with guests and weddings so it seemed logical to join forces for a worthy cause. House the Heroes is a perfect way for us to utilize our building for the good of Dallas County,” Schrad said. “We work very closely with businesses in Adel already and it is just one more example of a community of like-minded small business owners coming together to help our city fight this war against COVID so we can come back stronger than ever.”

Big Al’s BBQ in Adel and the Adel Family Fun Center have also offered to help provide meals as part of the House the Heroes Project. Adel Family Fun Center owner Bryce Smith said that they are proud to step up and not just donate but also help others in any way that they can.

“This is a great opportunity for our community to help those who are helping us. Many of these individuals working on the frontlines of COVID, are oftentimes the last to ask for help. We are glad to partner and offer the help needed to keep them and their families safe as well as helping them financially,” Smith said.

Both first responders in need of housing or those interested in donating to the House the Heroes Project can text Tigges at 515-745-3969.