January Veterans Commission Meeting: No Quorum, Quiet Phase Continues


Six people were on hand for the regular monthly meeting of the Grinnell Veterans Memorial Commission on Monday, January 14.  Unfortunately, only two of them were commission members.  

With only Gwen Rieck and Leo Lease (pictured above), two of five members present, no quorum was attained, and Commission Chair Lease could not call an official meeting to order.

Yet the conversation in lieu of a meeting left a positive feeling that developments are on track and that the quiet phase of the fundraising campaign for the Prairie Star Artist Residency is moving forward as planned.

“Good things are happening,” Lease asserted.

“We’ve got a schedule and we’ve got plans,” he continued, “and we’re getting the right people in the right places.”

Lease also was positive about the budget for the coming year, calling it “enough to pay for what we’re asking other people to do.”

Lease referred to what he called a “basic committee” consisting of himself, Tom Lacina, and Nicole Brua-Behrens that will oversee and assist other committees as they become established.

The general timeline calls for a quiet fundraising campaign, the mechanics of which have begun, that will continue until July.  The dollar goal of this phase is half of the ultimate goal of $1.5 million.

Around July 4, the public phase of the fundraising campaign will launch.

The following schedule of events, published as part of the documents supporting the meeting’s agenda, is presented here in abbreviated form.


  • Establish fundraising committee in connection with Amperage
  • Develop digital communications for fundraising—Facebook, websites, etc.
  • Coordinate with members of the fundraising committee and associated personnel, to include representatives of the Veterans Memorial Commission, the Greater Poweshiek Community Foundation, Amperage Marketing & Fundraising, and RDG Architects


  • Commence Amperage work
  • Schedule fundraising meetings
  • Determine timing of roll-out of non-public fundraising


  • Receive final RDG reports
  • Finalize Amperage materials
  • Revisit roll-out timing and make assignments

April and May

  • Conduct non-public fundraising
  • Report on efforts at fundraising meetings every two weeks

June and July

  • Complete final non-public fundraising activity
  • Assess status and determination of next steps
  • Make public announcements and begin public education as appropriate
  • Commence public fundraising 4thof July [?]  

The value of veterans and their stories and contributions was emphasized in the final minutes of the conversation.  Lease mentioned that he had recently researched dates, times, and places when his father had been deployed and that such associations have led him to believe that his father may have played a significant part in developments that defused the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Such matters could not be discussed at the time due to security clearance restrictions.   

Today, Lease said, “We need to … make sure those stories get out,” stressing that the Veterans Memorial Building and the Prairie Star Artist Residency could be a way of doing so. 

The next Veterans Memorial Commission meeting will be held Monday, February 11, at 5:15 p.m., in the Drake Library Community Room.


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