About Us

Origins of the Project

In the summer of 2021, Natalie Woodhurst, Coordinator, Saint Ambrose University Office of Veterans Recruitment and Services, Dr. Dale Blesz and Dr. Edwin Ubeda, School of Education, and Dr. Daniel LaCorte, Department of History, responded to a request for proposal from the Veterans Legacy Program, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, to further memorialize veterans interred at the nearby Rock Island National Cemetery.  Saint Ambrose University students from the School of Education, as well as from other departments across the University, were hired to engage in research and to write biographies of featured veterans.  Additionally, individuals from the community played an integral part in contributing biographies. 


We would like to recognize the work of Geoff Lampe, Justin Nichols, Cindy Whiteman, Jessica Holmes and Micah Mosher from Twin State Technical Services, whose dedication and commitment to the project far exceeded our expectations.

Brian Amelang, Art Director, whose thoughtful engagement and creative ability gave life to the project beyond what we could have imagined.

The following individuals provided the very foundation for the project, serving as research interns, and authoring the biographies of our featured veterans:

Dale Blesz Jevon Boley
Makenzie Ciner
Payton Clauson
Carol Cook
Sam Curry
Sherri DeVrieze
Elizabeth Eberhardt
Julie Evans-Morin
Josh Fenske
Donald Grant
Hannah Martens
Nancy Morris
Reece Powell
Edwin Reiter
William Reynolds
Courtnie Ridgway
Andrew Sichling
Eric Sipes
Hope Stropes
Natalie Woodhurst

We especially wish to convey our gratitude to Jevon Boley, Edwin Reiter, and Sherri DeVrieze, for their tireless commitment to the project. We could not have completed this without them.

Special thanks goes out to Gloria Dzekunskas, Matt Tomes, and Dan Baltisberger from the Rock Island National Cemetery and Sue Nan-Jehlen, for all of your guidance and assistance throughout this project.

We very much want to thank Fr. Robert “Bud” Grant for suggesting the “baseball card” concept in the early stages of the project.

Our appreciation also goes out to the advisory panel for the project which included Shari Ruehling from Eastern Iowa Community Colleges, Curtis Williams from Western Illinois University, Tom Reagan from Black Hawk College, and our veteran student advisor Andrew Sichling.

Again, we are eternally grateful to all whose heart, mind, and soul brought this project to fruition.

And a very special thanks to the families of veterans who shared their heartfelt thoughts, invaluable guidance, and inspired us in this labor of love.

N.W. & D.B.