By CHUCK OFFENBURGER
In the Teget family of Shenandoah, “we’re charged with the responsibility of a foundation that exists to help others,” says John Teget, who now heads the family foundation that his father Marvin “Bud” Teget established in the early 1960s. “And education has always been a big item for us.”
John and his wife Gayle were among the first half-dozen families that stepped up to match the $10,000 “Family Challenge” that our Shenandoah Iowa Education Foundation received in September, 2019. That came from the family of Bob and Kathy Sweeney, now of Atlantic, who pledged to donate $10,000 to the education foundation over the next 10 years – if their pledge is matched by 24 families in 2020, then 25 additional families in each of the next three years.
Now, in the final two weeks of 2020, just one more family or individual is needed to satisfy the challenge for this initial year. Take note: If the Family Challenge is successful these first four years, it means that $1 million will eventually be raised for the education foundation. We will use it to build an endowment that will help finance, support and enhance the Shenandoah Community Schools and their students for decades to come.
The Tegets highly recommend the investment in education.
“In both our families,” John said for himself and Gayle, “it was an absolute expectation that we would go on beyond high school education – college, trade school, or something.” But at all levels, from pre-K through high school and above, “what education gives you is knowledge. And knowledge is so important because it helps build careers and businesses, it gives us all better government, it solves a lot of problems, and it provides a whole lot more enjoyment to life.”
John Teget grew up in Shenandoah, the only child of Bud and Kathleen Teget. He graduated from SHS in 1959, then Grinnell College and went on to get his law degree at the University of Minnesota. There he met Gayle, a native of Mahtomedi, Minn., who had earned her nursing degree and was studying for a bachelor’s in political science.
They returned to Shenandoah in 1971, when John opened his law practice. A couple years later, he and Milo Brush partnered and bought the insurance agency owned by Bob Ross. John retired several years ago after selling the business to Bob Wilson. Gayle was a nurse working in labor and delivery at Hand Community Hospital, then Shenandoah Medical Center and, to finish her career, at the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.
They have two sons, Dr. Paul Teget, a 1987 SHS graduate who is now a surgeon in Hays, Kan., and Steve, a ’91 SHS grad, a former educator now running a travel and tour promotion business from home in Crete, Neb., and a bed & breakfast in Pawhuska, Okla. Both sons have families.
The Tegets’ inclination toward local charitable work has now extended three generations.
“My father came to Shenandoah and worked first for Henry Field in his nursery business, and then over the years, he owned several businesses himself,” John said. “He was always as charitable as he could be. He really believed you just have to give back, you have to help build your community. He wanted to make sure local kids at least had their basic needs met. One story I remember is that he was an Eagle Scout himself, and he went to J.C. Penney’s in Shenandoah and told the management that if any kid came in and didn’t have enough money for Scout uniforms, the store would charge it to Dad and send him the bill. That went on for years.”
Bud eventually incorporated and funded the Teget Foundation, and John & Gayle and their sons continued supporting it. “Now, every year, I check the foundation and say to the family, ‘You have this much to spend, and how do you want to spend it?’ ” John said.
Coming into 2020, Gayle had just learned from our education foundation board member Star Ann Kloberdanz about the Family Challenge. “She and Star Ann talked over coffee one day, Gayle came home enthused about it and filled me in,” John said. “The next day, I was at coffee with another board member, Nick Bosley, and he answered all my questions.”
And the Tegets soon committed to match the $10,000 challenge.
John says they’ve identified the next project they want to assist, too. “This has been a really hard year for a lot of people,” he said. “We’re going to give more to food needs.”
Community builders. Improving education. Helping others.
If you’re interested in becoming part of the Family Challenge, you can reach out to the foundation’s President Corby Fichter at 712-621-2386, Treasurer Nick Bosley at email@example.com or Executive Director Jamie Burdorf at firstname.lastname@example.org or 515-520-7641.