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IN MEMORY OF OUR FATHER: KOUNTZE FOOD PANTRY “LOVE THY NEIGHBOR”


It is with my utmost joy and gratitude to announce that the Kountze Food Pantry naming opportunity is fulfilled and will display the message “Love Thy Neighbor” in honor of Sherri Labedz’s and Terri Gogetap’s father, Wayne Simmonds.

Sherri, Terri, and their father, Wayne, have been faithful and generous members of Kountze Memorial Lutheran Church. Wayne loved the Kountze Food Pantry and made it a priority to volunteer at this very special ministry to help “the least of these” in our community. With faith in his heart, he fervently sought to “Love Thy Neighbor” and live out the Kountze Food Pantry’s mission to Feed the Hungry.

Below are words that Sherri and Terri want to share about the life their father lived and their choice to make this generous naming gift. It is their hope that this message of “Love Thy Neighbor” displayed at the Kountze Food Pantry for all who enter the space – guests who are served and those who serve – will inspire others. They believe the life-saving services at Kountze Commons are essential and extraordinary and need to continue to grow. They also hope others will be inspired to follow their example and honor loved ones with a named gift to Kountze Commons, which further strengthens Kountze to do more for those in need! We thank them for their extraordinary generosity!

Please find below Terri and Sherri’s beautiful and touching words about why they chose to name the Kountze Food Pantry in honor of their Dad:

Kountze has such a special place in the hearts of our family. This is where Mom and Dad were married and where we were baptized and married. Growing up, we did not go to church regularly, but after Mom died in 2006 there was a tugging at Dad’s heart and we are sure encouragement from dear friends at Kountze. It was the weekend after we lost mom that Dad left a note saying he was going to church to be closer to Mom. That just touched and warmed our hearts. A few weeks later, Terri and I followed. This was a renewal period for us! Getting to know some of Dad’s childhood friends and neighbors was so much fun! These are and were such special times: being with old friends and making new friends. The community and love that resonates from this beautiful church is so inspiring.


Sometime after, Dad started helping at the Kountze Food Pantry. Dean Anderson, one of Dad’s closest neighborhood friends growing up, was very involved and encouraged Dad to come. If you knew our Dad, you know he was a very giving, kind-hearted person who loved everyone. People and family were his source of happiness and fulfillment. So, the Kountze Food Pantry was a perfect way for him to meet, greet and help serve those in our community. He enjoyed it so much.

It is with the greatest admiration and love for our Father and for our church that Terri and I want to invest and contribute to our church and Kountze Commons, and remember our Dad in this meaningful way.

Love Thy Neighbor is the perfect caption that describes how our Dad led his life and what is at the root of our mission with the Kountze Food Pantry. Thank you to Ruth Henneman for this most fitting Bible reference.

Sherri Labedz & Terri Gogetap

There are five naming opportunities left at Kountze Commons. If you are interested in a naming opportunity, please contact Taylor Brown, Executive Director of Kountze Commons, at taylor.kountzecommons@gmail.com or 402-830-1477 for more information.


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