Grant Walner's Story

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Wills and Bequests: A Final Act of Service Benefits CHKD

Grant WalnerGrant Walner traveled the world in service to his country as chief petty officer in the United States Navy. When he passed away at age 92, his final act of altruism included an unexpected and generous gift to CHKD and the community's children.

"We were very surprised and grateful for the significant gift Mr. Walner left to CHKD," says Susan Carriker, director of planned giving at CHKD, adding that almost half of planned gifts arrive as surprises after the donor has passed away. "We appreciate his generosity and only wish we had the opportunity to thank him and show him how his gift would make a difference in the lives of our children."

Grant was born in Oklahoma in a home with no running water or electricity. He joined the U.S. Navy as a young man and learned about nuclear energy -- the latest technology of the day. Grant traveled the world with the Navy, sailing around the Cape of Good Hope three times and visiting countries and naval bases across the globe during World War II and the Korean War.

After leaving the Navy, Grant put his knowledge of nuclear power to work for companies in Connecticut, Texas and Georgia. When he lost his fie Joann of 39 years in 1995, Grant recalled happy times on their years together stationed at Little Creek and summers vacationing at the Virginia Beach oceanfront. He returned to the area that held such special memories toe spend his final years.

Relationships were an important part of Grant's life and he maintained pen-pal relationships with friends throughout the years. While he and Joann never had children, he loved children. Known for his hospitality and generosity, Grant welcomed and encouraged friends to bring their children and grandchildren during visits to his home.

Grant passed away in 2012 and was interred on March 4, 2013, at Arlington National Cemetery. Thought he did not tell anyone why he chose to give to CHKD, his benevolent gift to the children leaves a legacy of compassion and care for the community he called home.

"Mr. Walner's recognition of our mission speaks to his generous heart and lifelong dedication to serve his country. We are so grateful that he recognized the important work of CHKD," says Susan. "Every gift we get makes a difference to the children and families we care for, and ultimately the entire community benefits from the charitable actions of humble donors like Grant Walner."

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