The Kinnick Wave to the children in the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital has become one of the best traditions in college football.
It has also inspired people across the country and here at home, like the grassroots fundraising effort started by the Public House in Davenport during the Hawkeyes 2018 football season.
“Everybody heard about it and they just wanted to jump on board to help,” said Public House co-owner Johnna Chesney. “We sold t-shirts, we had drink specials, we also sold wristbands that people wore every week to get different specials.”
After quickly surpassing their $5,000 goal, the fundraiser turned into a community effort across northwest Davenport.
“We got about $8,000 or so at the end of the season, and we still wanted to get to $10,000,” Chesney said.
A goulash dinner at Jeno’s Little Hungary and a donation from Nick Engelbrecht, champion of the Dancing with the QC Stars competition this winter, provided the final push to $10k, doubling the amount that Chesney and her husband, Austin, originally set.
“Different people that this place has helped, it created the awareness and the want to be able do something for these kids,” Chesney said. “It was just really awesome to see everybody so supportive of this charity.”
The fundraising drive was especially personal for one of the Public House employees.
Chelsi Goettsch’s son was treated at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital for a cleft lip and palate in 2018.
“It’s a really tough process for everyone involved and the families, so I feel and my family feels incredibly blessed and thankful to have these people in our lives,” said Goettsch, a bartender at the pub.
Goettsch said the impact made by the $10,000 donation is something the patients and their families at the hospital will remember forever, adding that the entire Public House staff was amazed by the generosity of the community.
“Our patrons are one of a kind, like seriously, they’re one of a kind,” Goettsch said. “I have never met such a large mass of people with the kind of perspective and outlook that these people have. These people take it to another level.”