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Donor Stories

Every day has 24 hours - 1,440 minutes - 86,400 seconds. Or does it? A short day is coming for all of us - a day when we will not reach the 86,400th second, and we will pass on to our final reward.

We may have lived a long and useful life, filled with great memories. First, the 'learning' years - youthful time spent in school with classmates. Second, the 'earning' years - starting that first job and building a career. Third, the 'retirement' years - the time to enjoy visits with all of your family and friends. Yet there is one more part of life - the chance, through your estate, to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those in need. 

We invite you to think about a 'living' legacy. A living legacy through your estate allows for your lifelong efforts of accumulation to continue to bear fruit in helping others. Many of our friends find great joy and satisfaction during life, knowing that their estate will someday make a great difference in the lives of others. You can read their stories below. 

The 'short day' may be coming soon or may be many years into the future, but your chance for the satisfaction of a legacy that touches many others can be here today. 

  • Finding just the right fit
    Finding just the right fit
    At age 97, Phyllis Markos has had enough life experiences to know when something "just feels right." That kind of fit is...
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  • Part of something bigger
    Part of something bigger
    For most of us, the workplace is an important influence on our lives. If we're lucky, a job is more than a means to earn a living, offering instead...
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  • Evelyn (Evie) and Connie Lee
    Evelyn (Evie) and Connie Lee
    Evelyn (Evie) and Connie Lee’s relationship with the Foundation began in the mid-eighties when Evie’s husband, Marvin, who had worked at Trane Company for 45 years, developed a heart condition that required open heart surgery.
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  • Trailblazer Creates a Pathway for Future Surgeons
    Trailblazer Creates a Pathway for Future Surgeons
    When it comes to choosing a career in the United States today, young girls generally have the same freedom of choice as young boys.
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  • A family inspired to “pay it forward”
    A family inspired to “pay it forward”
    In times of medical crisis, there is nothing more comforting than knowing a loved one is getting the best care available from a trusted team of medical professionals.
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  • Community Pride, Hometown Proud, Giving Back to Her Community
    Community Pride, Hometown Proud, Giving Back to Her Community
    Growing up in La Crosse, Dee Paqué felt she had many reasons to be thankful. She appreciated the area’s natural beauty and strong sense of community.
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  • A gift from the heart
    A gift from the heart
    Maryjane and Rod McMullin received their medical care at Gundersen Health System’s Sparta and La Crosse locations for 48 years.
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  • The evolving nature of philanthropy
    The evolving nature of philanthropy
    Kenna and Roger Christians of La Crosse are longtime supporters of Gundersen Medical Foundation. Their first gift (a memorial) was recorded in 1989; they have made regular annual gifts for 23 years...
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  • A Couple’s Lasting Commitment – to Research
    A Couple’s Lasting Commitment – to Research
    Cancer research is a cause that became close to the heart of Lorna Peterson and her late husband, Lyle. The disease was a part of their lives for many years —skin cancer for Lorna, colon cancer for Lyle. It didn’t slow them down.
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  • A proud farmer, a good friend and neighbor
    A proud farmer, a good friend and neighbor
    In 2008, Roger Schindler of rural Wilton sent a note to Gundersen Medical Foundation about the provisions of his will. He explained that his decision to make a legacy gift was for one simple reason...
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  • A legacy of pride and gratitude
    A legacy of pride and gratitude
    “For me, it is easy to give back to an institution that’s given me so much.” Kay Cimpl Wagner, who served as Gundersen Health Systems’ medical library director from 1985 to 1999,...
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  • In memory of a giving spirit
    In memory of a giving spirit
    When Arlene Baerwald passed away in September 2013, she had been a member of Gundersen Medical Foundation’s Heritage Society for 20 years.
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Gift Examples

  • Endowment Gift
    Pat and Shelly were recently married. They both had been dedicated volunteers at their favorite charity for many years.
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  • Sale and Unitrust
    Gene and Carol purchased stock in a small medical service company several years ago. The company has done well.
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  • The Retirement Unitrust
    Mary grew up on a farm. When her parents passed away, she and her husband Bill inherited the farm.
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  • Property Turns Into Income
    Miranda lived in the family home where she and her spouse had raised their three children. After her spouse passed away, Miranda found it increasingly difficult to care for her property.
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  • Flexible Deferred Gift Annuity
    Lewis is a 54-year-old executive at a large healthcare company. He purchased company stock during years when the stock price was low, and now the stock has grown substantially.
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  • Part Gift and Part Sale
    Susan and Kevin bought a vacant lot along Lake Michigan many years ago. They had planned to build a second home so that their family could spend their summers along the lake.
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  • Current Gifts
    As is the case with many families, there are times each year when Jim and Sharon focus their attention on gift giving.
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  • A Bequest to Further Good Work
    Nancy and David were dedicated volunteers. Over the years, they had seen many individuals helped by the good work of their favorite charity.
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  • Deferred Gift Annuity
    Several years ago, Larry and Allison invested $30,000 in what they believed to be an attractive stock.
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  • What Will You Do with Your Unspent Retirement Savings?
    Michael and Kelly were retired engineers with two adult children. They owned a home, some stocks, and IRAs.
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  • Gift Annuity for Real Estate
    Jonathan purchased his home many years ago for $80,000. The home is now worth $420,000. Jonathan wants to sell his home and buy a condo for $130,000.
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  • A Bequest to Save Taxes
    Thomas was a widower who had a great love for our organization. As an individual who had directly benefited from our work, Thomas wanted to thank us with a gift from his estate.
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  • Leading for the Future
    Luke and Cynthia spent many years volunteering and supporting their favorite charity. They wanted to give back in a way that would help fulfill its mission.
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  • Give it Twice Trust
    While visiting her favorite charity's website, June came across the idea of a give it twice trust. She contacted the charity for more information.
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  • Providing for Our Children's Future
    Ron and Kathy worked for many years building their nest egg for retirement.
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  • Bequest of Insurance
    Marla and Wayne purchased a life insurance policy many years ago to create security for their children's future.
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