English River Outfitters was formed in May, 2008 by 23-year military veteran Chuck Geertz. He was joined on the Board of Directors by his brother Cyle, who also has over 23 years of military service, and Karen Fisher, a Gold Star wife whose husband served in the military for over 17 years. Their goal was to offer a quiet, relaxing recreation area for our veterans and their families, with a particular focus on accommodating disabled veterans and serving Blue Star, Silver Star, and Gold Star families.
During its first year, English River Outfitters hosted just 6 veterans. The property was a very primitive site with no buildings, electricity, indoor plumbing or water. However, during the next 5 years English River Outfitters experienced tremendous growth. The site now features a finished lodge that is 30 x 40 and can accommodate 10 veterans. In addition to having running water and electricity, the facility also has a deck and patio with a fire pit and fishing pond for families to enjoy. The grounds has numerous trails and woodlands for hunting and hiking. English River Outfitters has served over 1,200 veterans and their families.
Our vision for 2015-16 includes the following goals:
- Build an outdoor pavilion for families to enjoy together
- Add two additional cabins, furnished with plumbing and electricity
- Build an outdoor shower house to meet growing demands
- Expand our recreation plan to further incorporate the “Life Skills” program into scheduled activities
Beyond this, over the next 5 years, we will:
- Adapt our property to accommodate veterans with spinal cord injuries
- Continue to improve our facilities by adding a fishing dock and confidence course with zip line
- Build a new lodge to house large events, group meetings, and reunions
- Improve our infrastructure for long-term sustainability
English River Outfitters (ERO) filed its Articles of Incorporation with the State of Iowa and submitted its application for a 501 c (3) charitable, nonprofit to the Internal Revenue Service in May 2008.The Internal Revenue Service APPROVED its 501 c (3) application and granted it a Determination Letter dated July 30, 2009, with an effective date of May 22, 2008. English River Outfitters’ Public Charity Status is 170 (b) (1) (A) (vi).
Charles (Chuck) A. Geertz, Founder & President
Chuck is a native of Muscatine, Iowa. He enlisted into the United States Marine Corps in 1974 as an Infantryman. After attending basic training at MCRD, San Diego, CA, he attended Infantry School at Camp Pendleton, and then was stationed in Okinawa, Japan. He was honorably discharged in 1976. He enlisted into the Iowa Army National Guard, 224th Engineers in 1987 and then enlisted into the US Army in January 1989. He was stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., where he was deployed to Panama for “Just Cause” and then was deployed again to Saudi Arabia for “Operation Desert Shield/Storm.” He took an assignment in Germany for three years and then returned to Fort Benning until he was discharged in 1996. In 1997, he enlisted into the Iowa Army National Guard and accepted a position in the Active Guard and Reserve (AGR) program until he retired in 2009.
While with the Iowa Army National Guard, Geertz served five years as a Recruiter and served as a Readiness NCO. During this time, he also served as a Casualty Assistance Officer for five fallen soldiers.
His service schools include the Marine Corp Infantry School, Army Combat Engineer Course, Combat Lifesaver Course, Commercial and Residential Wiring Course, Advance Non-Commissioned Officers Course, and the US Army Combative Instructors Course.
His awards and badges include: 3 – Meritorious Service Medals, 3 – Army Commendation Medals, 7 – Army Achievement Medals, 5 – Army Good Conduct Medals, 1 – Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, 2 – National Defense Service Medals, 1- Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the South West Asia Service Medal w/ 2 Bronze Stars, 1 – Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, 2 – Humanitarian Service Medals, 1 – Overseas Ribbon, the Kuwait Liberation Medal and several Certificate of Achievements.