VOLUME 1 | NO. 2
Senior Connections HJ.COM
GRAB ONE -
Hutchinson couple spread joy with
According to Garey and Sherry Knudsen, volun-
teering for the Make-A-Wish Foundation is not just
a side hobby, but a position that brings joy to both
themselves and the people whose lives they touch.
Originally from southwest Iowa, the Knudsens
found themselves in Minnesota after Garey was of-
fered a job at Ridgewater College. The high school
sweethearts have now lived in the area for 45 years,
and are quite enjoying it, though Garey joked that
when they moved in, the busy neighborhood they live
in was mainly cornﬁ elds. They have three children,
and six grandchildren.
Now retired, Garey and Sherry both have plenty
of experience with younger people. Sherry was a day
care provider for 28 years, and Garey has a bachelor’s
degree in teaching and a master’s degree in guidance
Little did they know that their familiarity with
children would lend a hand in being Wish Granters
They ﬁ rst heard about Make-A-Wish when their
grandson, Jack, was diagnosed with a life-threaten-
ing illness and given a wish. The boy passed away,
but the Knudsens decided to volunteer for the orga-
nization that gave their grandson so much joy, in his
Nine years later, they work together as Wish Grant-
ers – people who work as the middlemen between the
Make-A-Wish Foundation and the families it serves.
“I contacted the Make-A-Wish headquarters in
Minneapolis and told them we were interested, and
they had a training session set up, so we went through
the training and thought it was very enlightening,
very enjoyable,” Garey explained.
They both recounted several fond memories from
their time with the program, from helping a little boy
with a Cochlear implant build a safe park, to having
a girl excuse herself to scream excit-
edly in her room when her wish was
The Knudsens said anyone who vol-
unteers gets far more out of it than they
Garey said one of the rewards for
volunteering is the gift of taking care
of things for the families and making
their lives a little easier.
For Sherry, what makes it all worth-
while is the happiness they give to the
children and their families.
The Knudsens said there aren’t
many volunteers for Make-A-Wish in
rural Minnesota. Whether it be a lack
of time, energy, or understanding, the
simple fact is that not many people vol-
Sherry and Garey Knudsen of Hutchinson have volunteered with Make-
“I think some people probably think A-Wish Minnesota for nine years.
it’s a little scary to go into families’
PHOTO BY EMILY BYWATERS
homes where the child has a life-threat-
tion, Make-A-Wish is the largest wish-granting char-
ening illness,” Garey suggested. “But we’ve never
ity in the world, with 62 chapters in the US and its
run into any issues at all . . . they’re very welcoming,
territories, and 39 afﬁ liates serving 50 countries.
open . . . it’s very exciting for the families to have
Make-A-Wish Minnesota was founded in 1982,
something good happen.”
and fulﬁ lls the wishes of children throughout the en-
“Sometimes I feel like it’s the real boost they need
in difﬁ cult times,” Sherry added.
With the help of donors and more than 800 volun-
However, wish granting isn’t the only way to vol-
teers, Make-A-Wish Minnesota grants a wish every
unteer. Volunteering for fundraisers, participating
27 minutes, and has granted more than 5,000 wishes
in walk-a-thons, helping out at one of the ofﬁ ces, or
since its inception.
sending off/welcoming back Make-A-Wish children
Children between the ages of 2-and-a-half and 18
at airports when they go on trips, are all much-need-
with a life-threatening medical condition are poten-
ed positions to be ﬁ lled.
tially eligible for a wish.
The Knudsens stressed that it’s a great volunteer
To learn more about volunteering for Make-A-Wish,
opportunity for all ages – young and old.
or the foundation in general, visit www.mn.wish.org,
or contact the Minneapolis ofﬁ ce at 612-767-9474.
According to materials provided by the organiza-
is distributed to:
Annandale | Buffalo | Cokato | Darwin | Dassel | Delano | Glencoe | Howard Lake | Hutchinson | Kimball | Lester Prairie
Litchﬁ eld | Loretto | Maple Lake | Maple Plain | Mayer | Montrose | Mound | New Germany | Norwood Young America
Rockford | Silver Lake | South Haven | St. Bonifacius | Waconia | Watertown | Waverly | Winsted