Pearl of Muscatine: Frank Iliff
by Margaret Hurlbert
March 07, 2020

As an eight-year-old boy, Frank Iliff learned to build out of necessity. A child from a large family, Iliff kept his littlest sister entertained by building her playhouses out of whatever materials he could find.

As an adult, Iliff moved to Muscatine to take a job at Bayer (then Monsanto) more than thirty years ago. When Bayer’s Community Relations Co-Chair asked him if he could help repair a porch for an eighty-nine-year-old man they brought Meals on Wheels to to Iliff gladly volunteered.

After seeing the profound impact replacing the man’s porch had on his wellbeing, Iliff wanted to do more. “There’s something to this—I enjoy it,” he said.

One day while watching Paula Sands Live, Iliff’s wife heard about Rebuilding Together Quad Cities, a regional branch of a non-profit organization dedicated to helping low-income families make home repairs. Intrigued, Iliff contacted the head of the Quad Cities group and learned how to apply for a local Muscatine County chapter. In 2007, Rebuilding Together Muscatine County opened its doors with Iliff as its executive director.

Over the last thirteen years, Iliff, with the help of many volunteers, has completed 115 projects in Atalissa, Muscatine, and West Liberty. From mending roofs, to building ramps, to putting in easy entry bathtubs, to even raising a foundation with the help of Stanley Consultants, Rebuilding Muscatine County has benefited many area residents in meaningful ways.

This February, Iliff took on a new challenge, working with Rebuilding Together Muscatine County volunteers to completely refurbish a house. The organization received a vacant property at the corner of Mulberry and Seventh Street from the city and remodeled every inch of it. Within two weeks of going on the market, Rebuilding Muscatine County found a buyer, making their first home sale.

Rebuilding Muscatine County’s first whole home refurbishment.

In the future, Iliff looks forward to refurbishing more houses and helping the community he calls home. “I love this old river town. It’s so interesting to me what went on in its early days.” Through his care and compassion, Iliff and Rebuilding Together Muscatine County will continue to keep up Muscatine and allow residents to keep making history.

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