Hans & Christiane Kahlen’s story

Photo of Hans and Christiane Kahlen

In 1984, Hans and Christiane Kahlen realized their dream to move to Canada from Aachen, Germany with their young children Jan & Gunter. After one year, they knew Kitchener-Waterloo was their home. Hans applied his 24 years experience as a Civil Engineer to establish their family business in land development and construction in 1985. Christiane and their sons were always very involved. 

For the next 20 years the Kahlen’s continued to focus on their family, business, homestead and community; making sure to instill the value of hard work and a culture of good will in their sons. They were touched by the welcoming spirit of Kitchener-Waterloo and wanted to return the support that they had felt. Christiane started volunteering with many local organizations which led her to become a Board member of the St. Mary’s General Hospital Foundation in 2001. 

In the spring of 2004, at the age of 68, Hans planned to fulfill a personal goal, to hike the famous ‘Camino’, a pilgrim trail from the French-Spanish border to Santiago de Compostela in western Spain. He would travel almost 800 kilometers on foot, carrying all his supplies and sleeping in hostels.

One of the many ways the Kahlen family has supported the community was with the realization of a dream. In the spring of 2004, at the age of 68, Hans planned to fulfill a personal goal, to hike the famous ‘Camino’, a pilgrim trail from the French-Spanish border to Santiago de Compostela in western Spain. He would travel almost 800 kilometers on foot, carrying all his supplies and sleeping in hostels. Even though Hans was in great physical condition, this long hike was daunting. 

Hans and Christiane saw this trek as an opportunity to establish a fundraiser to give back to the community that supported their new life so many years ago. Hans decided to call his pilgrimage a “Journey for the Heart”. His goal was to furnish a patient unit in the Cardiovascular Intensive Care recovery area. His motivation story was an inspiration to many who were drawn to support him and St. Mary’s Hospital. 

The Kahlen family adopted Kitchener-Waterloo as their home and as such, continue to dedicate themselves to this community through their hard work, volunteerism, and invaluable leadership.

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