Dubuque veterans receive generous donation from an unlikely sour - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque veterans receive generous donation from an unlikely source

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

When she graduated high school, Katalina Kutsch didn't want a party or money like most teenagers may want. Instead, she wanted to donate money to the Veterans Freedom Center in Dubuque.

The Veterans Freedom Center is an organization that exists solely as a place for veterans to get together and unwind.

An arts and crafts center, workshop area, pool table and a flat-screen TV are all at the Kerper Boulevard location to help vets relax. 

Kutsch first learned about the center two years ago, when a couple of Vietnam veterans from the center came to talk to her Hempstead High School class.

Wanting to learn more, she asked her teacher to get her in contact with the vets.Once she did, she became a regular visitor.

"She started coming down here during the school year, and she would kind of just sit and visit with the veterans. And they all liked it," said Jim Wagner, founder and president of the Veterans Freedom Center. "There's a lot of older veterans that we have come down, and just someone to talk to -- they really enjoy that,"

Forming close friendships with the veterans at the center, Kutsch decided she wanted to give back to them.

"My parents gave the option when I graduated to either have a party or $50, so I asked if I could donate the $50 to the Veterans Freedom Center because I love and support our country's veterans," Kutsch explains.

Kutsch's mother sent out letters in the mail and notified the school that she was asking for donations to the group for her graduation present.

The response resulted in a total of $1,315 in donations for the center.

The veterans couldn't be more thankful.

"It's her graduation money," Wagner said. "You know, a gal that young you think would want lots of stuff, and gonna go to college probably needs a lot of stuff, and in turn gives it to us. I just find it amazing. Brings tears to my eyes, actually."

Wagner says that the donation will help the center to continue providing services for the veterans.

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