Maryville woman honored for giving back to local veterans

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MARYVILLE (WATE) – A Maryville woman and retired school teacher has been honored with the VFW Distinguished Service Award for giving back to America’s heroes. Kathy Kaun turned a hobby into a charity by donating several handmade quilts to Blount County veterans.

“They’re in nursing homes and assisted livings and are laying in bed all day and are really cold and maybe forgotten,” said Nathan Weinbaum, Blount County Department of Veterans Services Director.

Kaun said her quilts are just as warm as a blanket and are made locally.

“Also, it’s matter that they’re handmade,” she said. “There’s a lot of love that goes in to a quilt.”

Members of the Alcoa VFW said they wanted to honor Kathy, because she gives without asking for anything in return.

“She’s such a sweet and generous and humble person and she’s given so much time,” said Halle Timpson, VFO Veterans Service Officer. “I recently started quilting so I know how long this took to put together and when she talked about how it’s a labor of love, it really is.”

Kaun, who is married to a veteran and has two active duty sons in the military, said there’s a special place in her heart for present and past servicemen, and putting a smile on a veteran’s face is the greatest reward of all.

“I know this is going to sound odd but I don’t really like being recognized.  I just like giving and doing,” Kaun said, fighting back tears. “And I feel kind of awkward, because I do it because I want to… not because I want recognition for it.”

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