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A Kuhens Family Chronology
Donna Hennequin met Brian Kuhens on a seventh grade field trip to Paris Mountain State Park in the Spring of 1979. By Autumn of the same year, Brian had
mustered the courage to ask Donna out to the Monster Mansion at McAlister Square Mall on October 24th, exactly one week before Halloween. Within
a month of their first date, the two Beck Middle School students had professed their eternal love to one another and
decided to marry. They were 13 years old.
Brian lived far enough from Donna that he became a Riverside High School student in Greer, SC, while Donna attended J.L. Mann High School in Greenville. With their future together a certainty, Brian
chose to transfer to J.L. Mann his senior year so they could spend as much time together as
possible before attending separate colleges.
Donna enrolled in what was known as South Carolina College (the top-ranked honors college of the University of South Carolina)
while Brian enjoyed his free ride at the underrated, erudite and influential Spartanburg Methodist College.
Through their extended freshman and
sophomore years they also attended other local schools, from the insular bastion of narcissistic tribalism that is Wofford College to the ardently progressive and freshly cultured Greenville Technical College, before settling together at what was then called The University of South Carolina at Spartanburg (USCS). In November of 1986 the couple discovered that if they became married
they would receive much of the remaining financial aid required to complete their degrees, and were subsequently wed in a
small ceremony at Dove Tree on December 27th, 1986.
|Investing in the Future: Humble Beginnings
This was Donna's and Brian's
second house, located in the Saxon/Una Mill Village on the West Side of Spartanburg. As the second place they called
home, this was an upgrade from their first house on Fairfax Street in the same neighborhood. At the time, this Case Avenue
house was so expensive for the young couple that they rented out one of the rooms to another college student, and Brian rode
a motorcycle year-round to work and to school to save from having to pay for car insurance (let alone a car).
With Brian wishing to pursue a degree in Philosophy which
was not offered at USCS, they moved to Columbia, SC, in the Spring of 1987. Donna continued what would become a 15-year career
at Lowe's Home Center, and Brian started Sound Advice, a high-end stereo shop named after a column he wrote for his college
The full-time work/part-time
college formula proved a successful one on May 12th, 1990, when sitting President George H. W. Bush (41) gave the commencement
address to Brian and Donna's graduating class and the pair were loosed upon society with degrees in Philosophy, Psychology
Their short-lived plans to move to Alaska after graduation were abruptly
changed when Brian got cold feet about having cold feet. On the recommendation of one of Donna's friends, the couple made
a brief reconnaissance run to the small Appalachian mountain hamlet of Galax, Virginia. Enchanted by the manicured lawns,
friendly people and beautiful vistas, they packed their belongings and moved there within a week of their first visit.
At first, the move to Galax was less than propitious. Donna had to accept a demotion from management to sales in
order to secure a job at the local Lowe's store, and Brian fared much worse. With no one in the small city of 6,000 willing
to employ an eager young philosopher, Brian fell back on his still formative knowledge of business and with his Macintosh
computer, set out his own shingle as a graphic designer. However, after a few months on his own, he sold his design firm to
Wordsprint, a regional commercial printing company, and joined their sales force. Within a year and a half, he had been promoted
a number of times and found himself accepting company ownership and the responsibilities of the retiring president.
At Wordsprint, Brian flourished as a member of a management team which consistently won top honors and management awards
from every national and international industry association to which it belonged. Ever willing to accept a new challenge, however,
Brian tendered a tear-filled resignation in the Summer of 1995 to Bill Gilmer, his dear friend and Wordsprint partner, and
left behind the best job he ever had to attempt to overcome the 70% attrition rate of new stockbrokers at the prominent super-regional
firm of Wheat First Butcher Singer. Before he had finished his apprenticeship, Brian had become licensed by the N.A.S.D. with
a series 7, 63 and 65, had been featured in the company newsletter, and provided financial commentary on WYVE, WHHV and other
radio stations. After also becoming a licensed Life and Health insurance agent, Brian was hired by Wheat First's home office
in Richmond, VA, to double as an instructor to intermediate financial consultants. All the while, Donna continued to climb
the ladder at Lowe's to become an Assistant Store Manager.
Galax had been very good to the Kuhens Family and
in return, Brian and Donna served their community in many ways. They both became active in the local Rotary Club, with each
of them serving the positions of Director, Vice-President and President. Brian also went on to serve as Leutenant Governor
and two terms as Assistant Governor for District 7570 of Rotary International. Brian served multiple terms as President of
several investment clubs and became Social Secretary of Robins Hoods, a charity poker group made up of local professionals.
Donna and Brian also became involved in the 144-bed Twin County Regional Hospital in Galax, with Brian ultimately serving
as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the 880 employee, not-for-profit healthcare provider.
The fertile ground which had provided Brian and Donna such a verdant symbiosis
was not enough to contain them once First Union Bank acquired Brian's brokerage firm. Already disillusioned by the industry's
greed and lack of transparency, the timing was perfect for Brian and Donna to disengage and start drawing on the nest egg
they had been quietly nurturing since high school to implement the next objective within their long-term family plan: a five-year
hiatus to become full-time parents. Without hesitation, they chose the familiar Kuhens Family Farmstead in Illyria, Iowa,
to begin the next chapter in their lives.
the general election of November, 1998, the people of Fayette County, Iowa, elected Brian to a four-year term as Trustee for
the Illyria Township. On September 5th of 1999, Sage Hennequin Kuhens became the sixth and last generation of Kuhenses to
be born on the farmstead established by John Kuhens right after the Civil War. No longer a functioning farm, it was converted
to a Federal Pheasant Preserve (CRP) in the early 1980's and was, based on the prenatal component of the whole child curriculum
Donna and Brian developed, the perfect place to bring Sage into the world.
In the fourth year of the Kuhens Family
Hiatus they moved once again, only this time to a home found for them by Sander Morrison, the man who would become the father
of Brian and Donna's first godchild. Forever indebted to him for having discovered the the perfectly-timed complement to Sage's
development that is Hidden Falls, the now enhanced Kuhens Family endeavors to see just how long they can stretch that "five-year
hiatus" begun in 1998.
Questions and Comments
|Click this photo to learn about the end of...
|...a proud era spanning six generations.
|The engraving on the back reads, "Love Forever, Brian"
|Our 25th Anniversary Splash!
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Kuhens Farmstead Prospectus