Minnesota Humanities Center

2019 Veterans’ Voices Awardees Announced

Posted September 3, 2019

The Minnesota Humanities Center (MHC) is thrilled to announce the 2019 Veterans’ Voices Awardees! These nine individuals have shared exemplary written works of poetry, prose, essays, memoirs, and more that speak to their military service and experiences as a Veteran. Through the written word, Veterans find their voice, process their experiences, and connect with others.

MHC believes the humanities are a gateway to expanded understanding, curiosity, and learning – about people, cultures, and societies. There are many ways that the “humanities can help” in our society–sharing and celebrating the stories of Veterans in their own voices is one of them.

Congratulations all!

Legacy (40 and over)

Clyde Lewandowski (St. Cloud) was drafted into the U.S. Army and spent six months in Vietnam where—as part of their work—his unit helped out at two orphanages. When Clyde returned home, he stuffed everything away for more than 30 years. When the memories started coming back, rather than stay angry at the past, he began supporting the children at two present-day orphanages in Vietnam.

George Colburn (St. Paul) enlisted in the U.S. Air Force after high school, spending time at Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines, and serving several temporary duty assignments in Cam Rahn Bay, Vietnam. George has published two books of poetry and authored pieces in numerous literary journals.

Larry Johnson (Golden Valley), a conscientious objector, served in the U.S. Army as an unarmed medic during the conflict in Vietnam. Larry is a past president of Veterans for Peace. He organizes World Storytelling Day each year, is author of the book, “SIXTY-ONE,” and is a volunteer with Veteran Resilience Project.

Ret. Col. Laura Ludwig (Plymouth) began her military career in 1975 by enlisting in the Army National Guard. After basic training, she completed specialty training to serve as a field medic and operating room specialist. She worked as a certified surgical technician while attending nursing school and received a B.S. in Nursing from the University of Minnesota. Col. Ludwig mobilized to active duty for deployments in 2003, 2006, and 2009-10. In July 2011, she retired after more than 36 years of military service.

On the Rise (under 40)

Jessi Faue (Minneapolis) is a U.S. Army Veteran who served in the Michigan Army National Guard and deployed in 2005 for Operation Iraqi Freedom, staying on active duty before being medically discharged. Jessi is an activist for Veterans, women Veterans, and mental health.

Jessica Kieran (Mounds View), a Veteran of the U.S. Army from 2007-2015, holds an M.F.A. in Writing from Hamline University. She is proud to have used writing to explore her identity as a biracial adoptee, a pansexual Christian, a disabled Veteran, and a mental illness fighter.

Kendra Vande Kamp (Rochester) joined the Minnesota Army National Guard in 2011 as a motor vehicle operator and, in 2013, deployed to Afghanistan. In 2015, she became a mother and was honorably discharged. In May 2019, Kendra was named Chair of Minnesota’s DAV Women Veterans Committee, and looks forward to helping as many women Veterans as she can.

Kristin Anderson (Roseville) joined the U.S. Army after college and feels that was one of the best decisions she made. Kristin served as an automated logistical specialist in Hawaii where she was able to spend many days writing and placing her thoughts into words.

Suzanne Krasnow (Maple Lake) is a retired Master Sergeant who served in the U.S. Air Force from June 1999-November 2015. During her more than 16-year Air Force career, Suzanne worked in ground-based and airborne communications platforms, where she supported intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions. She deployed multiple times in support of both Operation Iraqi and Enduring Freedom.

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By: Minnesota Humanities Center