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Cultureall’s Open Book Presents: Tracy Codel and Kevin Spire

August 1 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm

2 Walks with Friends: A Year of Intentional Connection and Gratitude

Tracy Codel

Tracy Codel is a Des Moines native whose childhood home sat on a cul-de-sac in the Beaverdale neighborhood. Summer days were spent in endless games of kickball and hide-and-seek or exploring the deep woods, creeks, and ravines of two nearby parks. She developed her sense of wonder about nature during that time when some of the best toys were magnifying glasses, sticks to turn things over, and hammers to crack things open.

After attending Drake University on a track scholarship, she ventured to San Antonio and St. Louis to teach mathematics and computers and coach cross-country. She met her husband on a St. Louis YMCA masters swim team, and then found herself back in Des Moines when his job required them to move to Iowa to develop his career. After she gave birth to the first of their two sons in 1999, Tracy became a stay-at-home mom and was actively involved in leading several committees at both church and her children’s schools, where a repeating focus with her efforts was on building community. She now enjoys the empty nest transition with her husband and finds great joy in tutoring high school math students online. She replenishes herself through yoga, hiking, biking, traveling, participating in her women’s adventure group, and is contemplating taking up piano lessons again.

“In order to combat the loneliness of COVID and to cope with an unknown medical condition, I began a year-long journey in February of 2021, whereby I walked with a different friend each week and blogged about it on Facebook. Come walk with me as I share my uplifting story about the restorative power of nature and human connection.”

How I Got to Today

Kevin Spire

Kevin Spire is a native Iowan who has spent most of his adult life in Des Moines. He shifted from an interest in healthcare to developing skills in the field of mainframe computer programming. He discovered that technical support areas were more his strength, which allowed him to build foundations in troubleshooting and analysis. Later, as a manager of QA teams spread across the US and India, he was able to build on that foundation.

After a 30+ year career in IT, Kevin was laid off from his job. He decided to try something different. His long passion for genealogy research and advising others in ways to achieve their research goals led him to establish Inspired Connections, an LLC that would offer research assistance and support with a client’s family-history related projects in 2021. Kevin has also held the roles of President and Vice President of the Iowa Genealogical Society. He continues to teach classes about genealogy-related topics.

“This is a story of the 1892 emigration of my great-grandmother, Biena, from northern Germany to the USA. I am proud of my great-grandmother and the courage she had to sustain through this experience. Not only does her story offer me insight into the woman that she became, but it also offers perspective on so many of our challenges of today. Each of us has at least one story about our family. That story might be from many generations ago or as recent as last week. If the stories are not shared, they will be lost forever.”


August 1
6:30 pm - 7:30 pm


Elk Horn Public Library, 2027 Washington St, Elk Horn, IA 51531, USA