Karys to be honored as Hometown Heroes

Shawano couple to get award from Assembly
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A Shawano couple who turned tragedy into a gift to the community will be honored as Hometown Heroes next week.

Chad and Cheyna Kary will receive the Hometown Heroes designation in front of the Wisconsin Assembly at the capitol in Madison on Tuesday. Rep. Gary Tauchen, who represents Wisconsin’s Sixth Assembly District, will make the presentation.

The Karys’ award is the first Hometown Hero award presented by Tauchen.

The award honors the creation of Georgia’s House, a residence in Green Bay near St. Vincent Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, or NICU. The Karys were able to stay in the home while their late daughter, Georgia, was a patient in the NICU.

They decided to honor her memory by purchasing the house and offering it for other parents to use.

“This was a sad situation for the Karys,” Tauchen said, “and something exceptional came out of it — something very positive that will make a tremendous impact on people’s lives.”

He said that he will present the Karys to the state Assembly. They will receive a citation and be allowed to speak to the legislators.

Georgia’s House is the result of an act of kindness by strangers and a short, effective fundraising effort by the Karys.

The Karys had said that having a house to use near the NICU saved hours of driving and allowed their family to spend more time with their newborn daughter, who was born prematurely.

Shortly after Georgia’s death, the Karys approached the owners of the house, Eric and Anita Anderson, and asked to buy it so they could make it available to other families.

They set a fundraising goal of $75,000 to purchase the house. That goal has been reached, Chad Kary said. The paperwork needed to buy the house is in motion and he expects to be able to complete the purchase any day, he said.

He added that he was surprised by Tauchen’s award.

“I don’t feel like we’ve done anything out of the ordinary,” Kary said. “It feels like a natural progression. I’ve talked to a lot of parents who have lost children. A memorial project is something you see often.”

Kary paused. “Not on this scale, perhaps.”

He said that the people he views as heroes are the Andersons, the original homeowners who let the Karys stay in the house for free when they were strangers to them. He added that he is still surprised at the response from the community to the fundraising request.

The Karys have established a nonprofit foundation to manage Georgia’s House.