Discovering the Heart of a Giver

The Community Foundation serves rural Iowa through six affiliate foundations in Allamakee, Clayton, Delaware, Jackson and Jones counties and the Dyersville area. This occasional feature is a glimpse inside the lives of people inspired to build stronger small towns.

As spring awakens across the Iowa countryside, Wendy Kuhse and other friends of Vietnam veterans are sending checks to the community foundation to finance the delivery of The Moving Wall to Clayton County for the 2016 Fourth of July celebration. Hundreds of kids will accompany their parents and grandparents to the exhibit and learn more about the 1960's conflict in southeast Asia. Their fingers will touch the wall at the place where the names of the fallen are inscribed.

Wendy Kuhse is a nurse. She works for the state, driving around Iowa to help ensure high health care standards in accredited facilities. On weekends, she opens the Corner Shoppe, a brick building on Main Street in Garnavillo where neighbors and friends gather for coffee and a warm pastry or fresh piece of pie. In her free time, she sews Quilts of Valor and delivers them to veterans.

Wendy’s husband Lanny served in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Vietnam era. Together, they have donated dollars as well as time to The Moving Wall project by volunteering to organize logistics and raise funds. At the end of the day, when her nursing shift ends, the shop is closed, and the light is turned off over her sewing machine, Wendy turns her attention to The Moving Wall project. She starts a grant application to the utility company, then proofs a mailing list
of donors.

“I admire young men who, from as early as the Civil War, left homes and families to fight for what they believed,” reflects Wendy. “All gave of themselves so future generations unknown to them could enjoy an easier and free life. On a very personal note, I had difficulty understanding why my then-boyfriend/now-husband Lanny would enlist during war time and ultimately volunteer for Vietnam service. Ultimately, I think the motto of the 50th commemoration of The Moving Wall says it best: ‘We are a grateful nation.’”

This story originally appeared in the 2016 Spring Giving Matters (pdf).


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About Us
The Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque envisions a vibrant and inclusive Dubuque region where everyone can thrive. Since 2002, we have inspired people to give back to their community, and we turn this generosity into lasting change across our region, increasing access to resources and opportunities that help all people succeed. 

Connect with us to learn about the many ways we are building a strong, thriving Greater Dubuque for all.