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Home is Forever Where the Heart Is

January 7, 2016

Five lives saved. That is the impact Ruth and Robert Walker made in Fayette County in 2014. It was a difference made because of the legacy Ruth wanted to leave and planned for.

"Ruth's life was all about service. She was of the generation that thought they would run out of money. They lived very frugally," said Susan DaCorte, Ruth and Bob's niece and the chair of the Robert and Ruth Walker Charitable Foundation.

When Ruth became ill, Susan talked to her about her estate plan and what kind of difference she wanted to make after she was gone. Ruth had seen firsthand that the newest trends in healthcare were not moving into rural areas, so she decided to help reverse that trend in Fayette County by establishing in her estate the Robert and Ruth Walker Charitable Fund with the Fayette County Community Foundation, an affiliate of CFNEIA. In 2014, the first grant from the fund was made to purchase eleven Lucas 2 Mechanical Chest Compression systems for emergency medical response units and the two hospitals in Fayette County, a grant totaling nearly $250,000.

"We've had five lives saved in the past year where CPR was initiated and we got in there with the Lucas units," said Lisa Roberts, Fayette County EMA coordinator. "After two minutes of a couple rounds of CPR you are exhausted. We know high quality CPR is going to happen with that Lucas unit. When you've got smaller services that is crucial."

Susan and the other trust directors think of Ruth often when making grant decisions.

"You don't have to be a Rockefeller or a Gates, you don't have to have a lot of money to make a difference. You have to ask people what do you need, how can we help, and really remember what our founder's belief system was," said Susan. "What was their life all about in terms of giving back? My directors and I ask all the time, 'What would Ruth think?' For people who loved Ruth and Bob, this is another great way to keep them with us."

For Susan, the fund helps her stay connected to Ruth and Bob.

"Ruth and Bob were the most important people in my life. I think over time these gifts will make a difference in a small part of rural Iowa," said Susan. "I just have to know she is happy with what we're doing and I'm hopeful she's proud."