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Quilts of Valor presented to three in Garwin

PHOTOS BY MARGARET THOMSEN - Alan Kouba was presented with a Quilt of Valor during ceremonies at Garwin on July 1. The quilt for Kouba was created and made for him by his late Mother-in-law Helen Degner. On hand for the presentation were Kouba’s wife, JoAnn and State Rep. Dean Fisher.

GARWIN — Three Garwin area men were presented with a Quilt of Valor during ceremonies at the Garwin City Park. Alan Kouba, Robert Kienzle and Stephen Kienzle were honored. Marvis Drew, President of the Central Iowa Quilt Sew-ciety was on hand to help with the presentations, as was State Rep. Dean Fisher.

Drew explained that the Quilt of Valor is the brainchild of Blue Star Mom Catherine Roberts of Seaford, Del. Her son had been deployed to Iraq and she wanted to see the returning warriors welcomed home with the love and gratitude they deserved.

Since 2003, the Quilts of Valor has become a national grassroots community effort. The quilts are stitched with love, prayers and healing thoughts. To this date 251,138 quilts have been issued to servicemen and women.

Fisher and his wife Vicki made the two quilts given to Robert and Stephen Kienzle. The late Helen Degner created the quilt given to her son-in-law, Kouba.

Kouba graduated from Garwin High School in 1967. This was during the Viet Nam War and he was drafted into the service for three years. During the Viet Nam Combat he was wounded and received the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.

Stephen Kienzle, of Whittier, Calif., and Garwin, was presented a Quilt of Valor during a July 1 presentation in Garwin. Quilt of Valor representative, Marvis Drew, read a bio of Stephen’s military career. The quilt was made by State Rep. Dean Fisher and his wife Vicki. Pictured with the quilt are Stephen Kienzle, Rep. Fisher and Vicki Fisher.

Following his discharge from the Army, Kouba went to Drake University on the GI Bill. He met and married his wife, JoAnn Degner, while at Drake. Following college he returned to the family farm in the Garwin area in 1975.

The Kouba’s are parents to five children. Emily has four children and she and her husband farm near Toledo. Leah and her husband live in Edmundson, Canada. She stages real estate and has five children. Erin is a charge nurse at the Marshalltown Hospital and she and her husband have three children. Lesly is a Pastor in Minnesota and he and his wife have three children. Paul is deceased.

Robert Kienzle is a graduate of Garwin High School and joined the United State Marine Corp, serving in peace time from 1975 to 1978. His area was Electronic Intelligence Intercept Operator.

“I had a Top Secret Security clearance as my job was to spy on radio communications of other countries,” he said.

Bob moved a lot from San Diego to Pensacola and then Guam. He spent time on the DMZ between North and South Korea.

Robert Kienzle was presented a Quilt of Valor in a presentation on July 1 in Garwin. The quilt was made by State Rep. Dean Fisher and his wife, Vicki. The quilt was presented as President Marvis Drew of the Central Iowa Quilt Sew-ciety read Kienzle’s bio.

“I remember the hallways were a half mile long, but you could only go to your specific rooms and no others. I received an honorable discharge in 1981,” he said when at Ft. Meade, Md.

After service he returned home and bought a truck and spent the first few years driving. Kienzle married his wife, Jayne Upah, and went to work in steel wholesale and for Diamond Vogel Paint. In 2012, he joined the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office as a Correctional Officer, retiring in 2019. He continues to farm on the farm he grew up on.

Jayne and Bob have three children. Kayla is married and lives in the Minneapolis area and is an attorney. Kristine lives on the home farm and is employed by AEA in Marshalltown. Derek works for Corteva in Toledo and farms. There are four grandchildren.

Stephen Kienzle graduated from Garwin High School in 1975. He has an AA from Marshalltown Community College, a BA in Film and a Masters Creative Writing. He worked as an actor, then moved to the other side of the camera as Producer/Director/Writer.

His advice for young people is, “…. If you can cope, the military is a once in a lifetime opportunity to prove one’s metal and make lifelong relationships that no other occupation can match.”

Steve and his wife, Colleen Harcourt Kienzle, have been married 30 years and are parents to three sons. Keegan works in State Department in Washington DC; Kaden is a 1st LT. United States Marine Corp at Cherry Point, NC and Konner just graduated from Chapman University with a degree in Film. The family splits their time between Whittier, Calif. and Garwin.

“I thank God I was drafted. It showed me that I was not special, nor privileged. Due to an injury I suffered in Panama, I spent several weeks in the Long Beach Veteran’s Hospital. During recovery I was sent to a rehab class that was taught by a very beautiful, vibrant “California Cutie.” I married that gal and she has given me three sons and an anchor that I need in my life……I love this Country: truly the Home of the Free, because of the Brave,” he said.

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