WMC Round-up: Something Old, Something New
A number of events happened at the War Memorial Center (WMC) in the past few weeks that were new experiences for us, and we were pleased to be a part of them.
Stars and Stripes Honor Flight
For the first time, we opened our doors to the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight (SSHF) team for their Guardian Training Programs on April 7 and 28. I welcomed the SSHF Board of Directors, its incredible team of green-shirt volunteers, and the guardians who watch over the vets taking the flights to Washington, D.C. Approximately 160 guardians and 40 members of the SSHF team participated on each of those days.
With coordination between SSHF Founder Joe Dean (now a member of the WMC Board of Trustees), current SSHF President Paula Nelson, VP Amy Luft and the rest of the SSHF leadership team along with our WMC staff, we were able to make this happen. We look forward to a long-term relationship with this highly respected and successful program whose mission of honoring vets is quite similar to ours. Two great programs in the business of supporting vets is a hand-in-glove relationship and we are pleased to host these events.
Welcome aboard Stars and Stripes Honor Flight!
One of the individuals most active in the support of vets is Vietnam veteran Jeff “Doc” Dentice. Doc is, or has been, involved in practically every significant veteran-related event in our area for many years.
On April 24th, during the Kiwanis MacArthur Lecture Luncheon at the WMC, Doc was presented the first John Paul “Jack” Meyers Patriotism Award. Jack Meyers was a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and served in WWII. He and his group of PT boats rescued Gen. Douglas MacArthur from Corregidor in 1942. Recently, Jack served as an active member of the Veterans Community Relations Team (VCRT), which has been instrumental in the formation of community and political support for the WMC.
Doc has been critically important as we have been developing the WMC MIA/POW Exhibit. His vast library of information is unparalleled in Wisconsin and it is the foundation on which we will build our exhibit. There is much more to say about Doc than I can fit herein but we congratulate him for this well-deserved recognition. Still serving: Jeff “Doc” Dentice.
Thirty Years at The Ledger
I also want to congratulate our own Laurie Kildegaard, our Director of Finance and Administration. We recently received another glowing financial audit (the fifth consecutive year in my experience) and Laurie is the main reason for this accomplishment. Others who contributed to our strong financial posture are our staff members Mark Waldoch, Jenna Johnson, Jennifer Wallner, Vicki Chappell, and Dave Drent.
Thank you all for making us proud and congratulations Laurie on 30 years of service to us!
Here is a special shout-out to Army Col. (Ret.) Jerry Hardt for his hosting of a special Vietnam Veteran event at the Brewers game last month. Great job, Jerry and thank you for all you do for our vets!
Women in War Series
Continuing our Women in War series, don’t forget to buy a poppy to honor our vets on National Poppy Day, May 25. This tradition was begun by a woman named Moina Michael in 1918. Her motivation was the poem written by Canadian doctor Lt. Col. John McCrae called In Flanders Fields. Mrs. Mary Hanecy proposed selling the poppies to George Plant, a member of Post 1 in Milwaukee. As a result, on the Saturday before Memorial Day in 1920, 50,000 poppies were distributed and $5,500 was collected on the first regularly conducted Poppy Day on record. Thank you ladies — and thank you Milwaukee!
Vets: They don’t have the best of everything; they make the best of everything.