A heartfelt honor

Kathryn Lundquist, a long-time employee of the Linden Hills Co-op and a nurse, was honored on June 24 with the Sullivan Ballou award from Lissa and Bruce Peterson.

The Petersons got the idea for the award after reading the famous letter that Sullivan Ballou wrote to his wife during the Civil War. In the letter, Ballou describes his undying love for his wife as well as his reasons for fighting for his country. The Petersons were so touched by the letter that they dreamed of celebrating the lives of other individuals who act from the heart, like Ballou, Lissa Peterson said.

While it began as a simple dream, the Petersons have had the opportunity to honor almost 50 individuals from numerous different countries with this unique award.

“[The Petersons] honor people who are simply acting from their heart, feeling a calling or acting from their soul, wanting nothing in return. The work is beautiful and small and quiet in its nature,” says friend and neighbor, Pamela Marie, who has assisted in the ceremonies for a few years.

Each ceremony is unique and special in its own way, and Kathryn’s ceremony “has really taken on a delightful personality,” Peterson said.

While these ceremonies are usually held at the Peterson’s house, Kathryn’s took place at the Hearts and Ivy studio on West 28th Street. While this was an unusually large event for the Sullivan Ballou award, the ceremony was quaint and very personable as Kathryn’s close friends each said something about her in front of a garden in full bloom. 

When City Council Member Betsy Hodges, nominated Kathryn for the Sullivan Ballou award, Peterson thought it was a perfect nomination. “She carries the light,” she said.

Described by her friends as a “treasure,” “angel,” and “delight,” Kathryn humbly held her head in her hands as Lisa and Bruce presented her with a $1,000 reward. The cash award is given as a small thank you for the healing energy that Kathryn exemplifies, Peterson said.

“Her energy puts a smile on everyone who enters the Co-op,” said Bruce. “Our lives are enhanced every time we go.”

Kathryn, who Peterson described as having a “loving, open and embracing energy,” not only works at the Linden Hills Co-op daily and is a mother and grandmother, but she also runs her own business called On the Spot Services. She is a registered nurse with a background in holistic nursing, and she used this education to begin a business to help people. She has done house sitting, pet sitting, and offered transportation and health advice. She does hospice nursing and also offers holistic consultations.

“I work 24 hours a day, and I love it,” she said.

She was utterly overwhelmed by the ceremony and accepted her award by thanking those surrounding her with teary eyes and shaky hands. She does not yet know what she will do with her award money, but wants to use it for some kind of community outreach. 

“It was an extremely spiritual moment,” Kathryn reflects. “I felt the love that this community is to me.”