Thursday, March 29, 2007

Justin's Cousins Run Lewiston Race ... in Iraq

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If things had gone according to schedule, sisters Lacy and Morgan Hennessy would be home by now, and looking forward to running in another Fool's Five road race on Sunday.

Those plans have been changed.

They'll be in Iraq, where they have been stationed with the Minnesota National Guard now for close to a year.

Their thoughts, however, will be in Lewiston, their hometown and site of the 29th running of the Fool's Five.

"We got extended; hopefully we'll be home in August,'' said Morgan. "We've always looked forward to running that race.''

This year, especially. Proceeds from the race, now in its 29th year, go to the cancer research at the Eagles Cancer Telethon and also to the Gundersen Lutheran Medical Foundation.

And cancer has really hit home; their 27-year-old cousin, Justin Kukowski of Chaska, died March 12 of brain cancer.

"We weren't that close to him growing up but recently we became real close,'' said Lacy, talking last week via a videoconference from National Guard headquarters in Winona. "Both of us were going to school at the University (of Minnesota) and we lived three houses from Justin.

"He was really a neat guy, he had so many friends. It would have been nice to run in his honor at the race.''

Instead, they have raised over $2,000 in pledges at their base, all for the Fool's Five.

"And we expect to get more,'' said Morgan.

The sisters are stationed at Camp Anaconda, a base housing over 20,000 soldiers just north of Baghdad. On Saturday, along with hundreds of other soldiers, they'll be running in the Susan G. Komen 5K Race for the Cure, a race which has become very popular in the United States as well.

Proceeds go to breast cancer research.

Both Hennessys ran cross country and track in high school.

Lacy, 23, graduated from Lewiston-Altura in 2002. Morgan, 21, graduated from St. Charles in 2004. Lacy first went to school at Truman State in Missouri and then transferred to Minnesota, where she joined the National Guard. Morgan went to Minnesota and also joined the Guard.

In Iraq, Lacy is a mail clerk and Morgan works in the administrative department.

"Being stationed together really helps,'' said Lacy. "I have someone I can always talk to.''

They are daughters of Mike and Karen Hennessy of Lewiston.

Donations to the Fool's Five for Lacy and Morgan Hennessy can be sent to Karen Hennessy, 620 East Main Street, Lewiston, Minn., 55952.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Memorial Fund

For anyone interested in a memorial fund for Justin Kukowski, there has been one set up in remembrance of him at:

Family of Justin Kukowski
Security Bank
539 South Elm Street
PO Box 45
Waconia, MN 55387

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Obituary (Star Tribune)

Justin Kukowski, 27, of Chaska, died peacefully on Monday, March 12, 2007, after a courageous battle with cancer, surrounded by his loving family and friends.

Funeral Service will be held Saturday, March 17, 11 a.m. at Crown of Glory Lutheran Church, 1141 Cardinal Street, Chaska, with the Rev. James Rothschiller officiating. The visitation will be Friday, March 16, 3-8 p.m. at the Bertas Funeral Home, 200 West Third Street, Chaska, and also one hour prior to service on Saturday. Casketbearers will be Trevor Kukowski, Tory Kukowski, Brandon Kukowski, Seth Ressie, Zachary Ressie, and Aaron Clark. Honorary casketbearers will be Tami Sass, Kristel Marquardt, Leah Kukowski, Kelsie Kukowski, Carter Kukowski, Cole Kukowski, Chantel Ressie, Courtney Kukowski, Brenden Kukowski, Tyler Kukowski, Lacy Hennessy and Morgan Hennessy, Alexi Trocinski, Benjamin Trocinski, and Abi Trocinski.

Justin was born March 3, 1980 in Shakopee to Donald and Kathleen (Hennessy) Kukowski. He was one of two sons. He was baptized and confirmed at Crown of Glory Lutheran Church, Chaska. He graduated from Chaska High School in 1999, and attended the U of M in Minneapolis, and then graduated from the University of Colorado – Colorado Springs, with a degree in Mathematics. Justin had been employed at Wells Fargo Bank after moving back to Minnesota in 2004. He played baseball and ran cross-country for the Chaska Hawks, and also played American Legion baseball. He was an avid Minnesota Twins and Green Bay Packers fan. He enjoyed golfing, playing softball, fishing, and hiking. He had many friends in Minnesota and Colorado, and thoroughly loved spending time with his family and friends.

Survivors include his parents, Donald and Victoria Kukowski of Chaska, Kathleen Hennessy and Bob Rehbein of Cologne; brother and sister-in-law, Kyle and Jeni of Wichita, Kan.; stepsister and stepbrother, Teresa (Jason) Karsten of New Brighton, Nathan (Stacy) Stuhaug of Fertile; nephews and nieces, Weston, Hudson J.J., Ryan, Michael, Tyler, Tysen, Cale, and Mya (his goddaughter); grandparents, August and Orphie Kukowski of Stockton, Bernard and Mary Hennessy of Lewiston; best friend, Andrew Hipps of Eden Prairie; many other relatives and friends.

In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred to the family. Justin was preceded in death by, grandmothers Rose Hennessy, Beverly Hennessy, and nephew Jaden Karsten. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to the family.

If you would like to briefly share how Justin influenced you in your life, you will have the opportunity to do so at the funeral.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Jesus Called

At 12:52 p.m. today, Justin answered Jesus' call and went home to be with the Lord in Heaven. He was surrounded by family and friends. More information to come in the near future. Thanks to everyone for thoughts, prayers, and support through it all.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Update (Sunday)

I just wanted to post a quick update. Justin is not answering his cell phone/checking messages or reading e-mail right now, so we will do our best to keep this blog as updated as possible with the latest information. Please keep checking back and posting comments for Justin!

Pastor Jim and Sandy came over on Sunday night for Communion. Justin's brother, Kyle (and family), will be leaving Monday morning, as will his aunt and uncle (Shannon and Eric) from Georgia. Thanks for all the support for Justin! He has such a strong support system … and he loves every one of you. Please keep checking back and posting comments for Justin!

Justin's Birthday Gift

UFC champion Randy Couture gives Justin a birthday gift:

Audio Clip: Randy Couture

Friday, March 09, 2007


The Kukowski family and friends would like to thank Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers organization for their act of kindness. Their gifts were very generous. It really means a lot to Justin, so thank you very much.

Justin has been really tired lately, so he's been sleeping a lot. It has been getting harder and harder to keep everyone updated all the time. Justin's family and I will do our best to keep the blog as updated as we can. Comments on the blog are always welcome … and we'll read those comments to Justin … if he is too tired to check the blog.

Justin's brother, Kyle (and his family), are in town visiting from Wichita this weekend. Thanks for all the support!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Friday, March 2

Happy Anniversary, Dad & Vicky. Sorry it's one day late, but I love you both very much. Also, happy birthday to Kyle. Sorry it came a couple days late. Nothing has been happening the last few days, although the weather is freezing up here in Minnesota. Thus, someone must have turned up the temperature an extreme amount. Sledding would be fun if I had better balance. However, my balance is so poor … it would not be fun. It would be a challenge just to make it down the hill. It has been cool throughout most of America, so I think everybody is hoping that it will turn around soon. Hopefully the Twins can make one more move before camp starts, although the Twins so far are looking pretty darn good.

My birthday is coming up on Saturday … and it just happens to be the same day that Randy Couture takes on Tim Sylvia for the UFC heavyweight title. Go, Randy! It should be a great fight. The cards all next month look really good, so it should be a great month of UFC fighting. That's all for now.