This past May 4, the Iowa sky blazed a brilliant blue for the annual American Heart Association Heart Walk. On the beautiful, May day, thousands of participants lined up, ready to take the first steps of riverside route to raise money and awareness for the American Heart Association.

Among that throng of people, Tonya Sullivan, a Software Trainer in Spahn & Rose’s General Office in Dubuque, eagerly anticipated the walk. She has a very personal connection to the event. When her nephew was nine months old, he had to have open heart surgery to repair his heart and valves. After her nephew’s successful surgery, Sullivan began participating in the Heart Walk to raise money and awareness for heart-related issues.

Sullivan has laced up her shoes for the Heart Walk since 2008, often walking the route with family members. During this year’s event, 26 of Sullivan’s family walked the three-mile course with her.

“Along the route in Dubuque, there are signs with people’s names and the reasons they walk,” Sullivan recalled. “It’s really moving to read all those names and see the people who have been affected.”

Before the walk, participants could visit booths of organizations and companies that sponsor the event. Spahn & Rose set up a booth with a giant Honor Wall, where participants could sign their names or the names of people they’re walking to honor. By the end of the day, hundreds of names signed with colorful markers covered the Honor Wall.

In addition to the booth and supplies to build the Honor Wall, Spahn & Rose donated $1,500 to the American Heart Association Iowa. Along with Sullivan, Spahn & Rose employees Jacque Arensdorf, Director of Marketing and Nate Kluesner, outside sales manager for Benjamin Moore in Spahn & Rose’s Dubuque location, participated in the walk.

“It means a lot to me that Spahn & Rose supports such an amazing organization,” says Sullivan, who has been a Spahn & Rose employee for 22 years. “When my nephew was the sponsor child for the American Heart Association, Spahn & Rose didn’t hesitate to donate money and items for our fundraiser. They were very supportive and willing to help out in any way possible.”

This year marked the 25thanniversary of the Heart Walk. More than 2,500 participated, and the event raised more than $185,000. Music played throughout the day, and snacks and beverages were also plentiful for participants.