Alumni Rising: Heartfelt messages reach Wisconsin vets

Think of heart-shaped concentric circles.

The effort to reach Wisconsin veterans with Valentines has expanded exponentially because of the kindness of Nancy Young.

Young joined Humana insurance in 2008, the same year she received her bachelor’s of interdisciplinary studies from UW-Green Bay. When she went to Humana, she brought with her paper, scissors and glue, and a passion for reaching those in need of a bit of cheer. In spring of 2009, she and her peers made 140 cards, sending them to the Wisconsin Veterans Home at King, near Waupaca, for distribution.

Left to right (clockwise): Young’s husband Gilbert, grandson David, daughter Michelle (also a UWGB grad), son-in-law Kevin (Nancy Young), grandson Owen.

In 2010, the effort expanded to 20-plus Humana associates, an afternoon of bowling and card-making resulted in 700 Valentines created for the King home and for William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital in Madison. The following year, with the help of 50-plus Humana associates making Valentines on their breaks and outside of work, 3,300 Valentines were sent to vets in Milwaukee, Madison, Tomah and Green Bay.

In 2012, Humana helped Young expand the effort again, with a Valentine-making day at the Humana campus in De Pere. More than 1,000 Valentines — from simple to elaborate — were made one Saturday in January when 80-90 employees and families (and a Girl Scout troop) dug into the pre-printed sentiments, stickers and other embellishments. Meanwhile, Humana associates were also working diligently at home and throughout the community to bring the total to 6,840 Valentines distributed to Veterans across the State.

It goes to show that matters of the heart perhaps do belong in the workplace.