Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

Ten veterans from Washington Co. on Saturday’s Honor Flight

There will be 10 veterans from Washington County participating in Saturday’s Stars and Stripes Honor Flight to Washington D.C.

One of the oldest vets on the flight will be 95-year-old WWII veteran Dave Lowe from the Town of Erin.

Lowe was drafted was 19 years old when he entered service Feb. 1, 1943 and served until Feb. 23, 1946.

“I went to Biloxi, Mississippi for basic training and then to Tishomingo, Oklahoma to learn how to take care of airplanes,” said Lowe.

Army training had Lowe shipped to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, Kelly Field in Texas and to Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma, to Seattle and then onto Guam in November 1944.

“It took 32 days to get from Seattle to Guam,” he said about traveling by merchant ship.

Lowe worked as a clerk typist and then onto the warehouse and finally he worked as a corporal as an orderly. “I swept the day room, took care of letters and I was in charge of the beer supply,” he said. “Everybody got two cans of beer a week and we had cases of it back where I got the mail. When somebody would ask for an extra can or two for their friends, I couldn’t give them a can but I could give them a case.

“I had a lot of friends,” Lowe said.

Lowe’s son James Lowe from Madison will be going with his dad as his guardian on the flight.

Dave Lowe said he is looking forward to seeing the WWII Memorial in Washington D.C. His friend Rocky Rococo sent him a post card from Hawaii in 1944 and then never made it home because he was involved in an accident with a military vehicle.

Other veterans from Washington County participating in Saturday’s Honor Flight include:

Colgate: Wayne Fischer, Vietnam War Army, Germantown: Greg Eggum, Vietnam War Army, Hartford: Brad Wing, Vietnam War Navy, Kewaskum: Thomas Kohn, Vietnam War Marines, West Bend: Jerry Goratowski, Vietnam War Navy, John “Pete” Pedersen, Vietnam War Army, James Meinberg, Vietnam War Air Force pilot, James Pogantsch, Vietnam War Army , William Crowley, Vietnam War Army.

Special local tribute during Saturday’s Packer Tailgate Tour

While many football fans across Washington County can say they’re the BIGGEST Green Bay Packer supporter, two women will be highlighted Saturday, April 14 for their dedication to the Green and Gold.

Kay Thomas, 54, of West Bend was a long-time employee at The Threshold Inc. and a top-notch Green Bay Packer fan.

Ida Motiff, 98, of West Bend was also a hard-core Green Bay Packer fan. Probably one of the oldest too as Ida was born the year the Packers were established. Her obituary read, “Ida was also devoted Green Bay Packer fan holding season Packer tickets since 1950. She went to at least one game every year until she was 96 years of age.”

At Cedar Ridge Ida would wear her green and gold tennis shoes and wave her pom poms during every Packer game. She loved them even when they lost.

As part of Saturday’s Tailgate a special tribute will be made to both women who died earlier this year. The 13th Annual Green Bay Packers Tailgate Tour which will visit with fans and thank them in person for their support.

On Saturday, April 14 from 11 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., the Packers Tailgate Tour is making its final stop at the West Bend High School Fieldhouse.  One hundred percent of the proceeds for the event will benefit the Threshold, Inc.

Tour celebrities will include Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy, players Kenny Clark, Blake Martinez, and Ty Montgomery, and Packers alumni Rob Davis, Antonio Freeman and Bubba Franks.

John Bloor, Executive Director for the Threshold said, “This will be an exciting, once-in-a-lifetime event for the Threshold and for this entire community!”

Laura Eggert, Director of PR/Fund Development for the Threshold said, “We are thankful to our friend, Josh McCutcheon of PeopleServe in West Bend.  Josh is an avid Packer fan and encouraged the Packers to make a stop in our great city!  We are so thrilled and we feel blessed to have been chosen as the last stop of the tour.”  Tailgate party ticket prices:  $40 all-inclusive ticket (only 600 available) – Includes food, giveaways, Q&A sessions and autographs of all seven celebrities (bring one item per person or use Packers’ giveaway item) and $10 ticket general admission ticket – Includes access to the Q&A sessions as well as tailgate party activities.  Food and beverages will be available for purchase.

American Star Excellence in Customer Experience Award agent

Donald Patnode and his team at American Family Insurance in West Bend have been recognized for earning the 2017 American Star Excellence in Customer Experience Award for outstanding customer experience.

The team at American Family Insurance in West Bend includes Nancy Monday, Mary Mikkelson, Cindy Moran, Susie Patnode, Tim Novotny and Christine Heuer.

“Our goal is to strive to always do our best,” said Patnode. “We take care of our customers’ needs directly and by phone not voicemail.”

American Family Insurance in West Bend has won the award in consecutive years since 2014. Patnode said that shows the consistency in company service and high praise to be recognized and respected by its customers.

“The award reinforces that taking care of our customers is our No. 1 goal,” he said. “It’s our customers telling us we are doing a good job.”

The service excellence distinction was determined through an evaluation process conducted under guidelines established through the company’s American Star Excellence in Customer Experience Certification Program. The process consists of a customer satisfaction survey which measures customers’ overall experience with their current American Family agent.

Grandparents Day celebrated at Holy Angels School                          By Mike Sternig

This year’s annual Grandparents Day took on a whole new level of activity as grandparents (and grandpals) joined Holy Angels students in a morning of adventure and fun.

The special guests were introduced to the morning’s activities as they gathered in the gym (with bleacher seating)…no small feat, but many were experienced from watching volleyball or basketball games through the years.  The Holy Angels Chorus provided some entertainment and then it was off to meet with grandkids and see the school.

Activities in the classrooms included: making slime (a very popular stop!), creating Madlibs, sharing stories of then and now, grandparent interviews, ecosystem game, bucket lists, photos and snacks, gym activities, and much more. The Book Fair in the library was filled with students and grandparents.

Everyone gathered in church for a special Grandparents Mass. Rev. Pat Heppe reminded everyone of the importance of sharing our “good news” with each other. Good news can be our own stories of faith as well as the really big story of Jesus’ Resurrection and gift of New Life.

Crowded field in 59th Assembly District race

It’s becoming quite the crowded field as another hat is thrown in the ring to take over Rep. Jesse Kremer’s seat in the 59th Assembly District.

This week Village of Kewaskum native Timothy Ramthun from the Township of Auburn in Fond Du Lac County announced he was filing candidacy papers.

“Representative Kremer has given the 59th District much to be grateful for, with commitment to protect the pre-born, our 1st and 2nd Amendment rights, initiatives to aid in improvements for police and firemen protections, and enhancements to the farming industry. These were all difficult subjects to address and Mr. Kremer did not waiver. Should I be blessed to serve as his successor, I will continue in these and many other causes we share passion in, ensuring the best chance for completion of unfinished business,” said Ramthun.

Ramthun joins Ty Bodden of St. Cloud and Rachel Mixon of Hartford who announced their candidacy earlier this year.

The 59th District encompasses municipalities in Washington, Fond Du Lac, Sheboygan and Calumet Counties. The Republican Primary is Tuesday, August 14 and the general election is Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Cal Fitness expands in Slinger

Village Beverage in Slinger rang up its last sale over the weekend. After 43 years in business the local liquor store closed but it won’t be empty long.

Cal Fitness & Performance, 311 E. Washington Street, is moving in. “I’m partnering with another couple and our plan is to expand the fitness club into the liquor store area,” said Cal Fitness owner Tony Callen.

“The area will focus on strength training and there will be more space for turf and push and pull sleds. We will have more area to train the high school kids and the middle schoolers.”

Callen is the strength and agility coach at Slinger High School.  He has been in business three years. The changeover is currently under construction and the new space should be open in the next month.

A note of thanks to Ken Stellmacher and Monte Schmiege

A salute Monday night to outgoing West Bend School Board members Tim Stellmacher and Monte Schmiege. Board member Ken Schmidt praised Schmiege for his commitment to the board including treasurer and policy chairman. Schmidt was thankful for Schmiege who did his homework, research and he had “integrity, urgency and he made our school district better in many ways including his oversight of curriculum.”

“Monte acted with honesty, courtesy, respect, humility, fact and research-based decision making,” said Schmidt. Stellmacher was also praised by Schmidt for his financial acumen.

Former School Board candidate Mary Weigand also praised Schmiege for his “integrity, wisdom, and thoughtful research and you’re going to be missed by the community of West Bend.”

“Monte was one of two board members who voted against an immoral and inappropriate questionnaire for minors that will be happening potentially this spring. I know it’s very difficult to accomplish things in the humanistic, government-run education system but Monte you fought and you persevered and you spent three years of your life caring about the education of our kids and I really want to thank you for that,” said Weigand.

Also during Monday night’s meeting:

-The district has received 22 applications for Superintendent. According to a report from the search firm some of the candidates they “feel terrific about and some not so terrific.” Nobody knew Monday night the total number of applicants as there were 25 applications the district received after the job was posted by a board member last December.

-Karen Herman was introduced as the new head of finance.

St. Frances Cabrini 4th graders roll out historic Wax Museum

A nice turnout Wednesday afternoon at St. Frances Cabrini as neighbors looked for a history fix.

In attendance were film maker Walt Disney, inventor Thomas Edison, and strong women like Sacagawea, Jacqueline Kennedy, Princess Diana and Louis Braille.

Miss Tanking’s 4th grade class held its annual Wax Museum history display. Students picked a noteworthy person in history and conducted months of research.

Wednesday was the big reveal with tri-fold displays and historic reenactments. Some of the Wax Museum displays featured American author Helen Keller and fabled Johnny Appleseed.

Updates & tidbits

– Drake University senior Meghan Walters of West Bend has been offered a prestigious 2018–2019 Fulbright Scholarship. With her acceptance to the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant program in Bulgaria, she joins a lengthy list of Bulldogs to have been offered the Fulbright scholarship.

– Mai Fest is coming to Friedenfeld Park in Germantown on May 18, 19 and 20. There will be fantastic beers, fabulous music and dancing and good old-fashioned fun. There will be food from Schwai’s Fish Friday (Friday night only), Germantown Kiwanis Club, Brats, Frankfurters, Hamburgers, and Potato Pancakes. Come enjoy the fun.

-The Downtown West Bend Association is gearing up for the 6th annual Banner ArtWalk. Fifty hand-painted banners will be on display at the Museum of Wisconsin Art on Saturday, May 12.

– The 31st annual Washington County Breakfast on the Farm is at Gehring View Farms this year, 4630 Highway 83 in Hartford. The host family will be Eugene and Christine Gehring and their family Derik, Jordan and Emily. This year’s Breakfast will be Saturday, June 9, rain or shine.

-Moraine Park Technical College’s student senate is hosting a free public event with Green Bay Packer legend Jerry Kramer. Students, staff, and community members are invited to the Fond du Lac campus commons area, on Tuesday, April 10 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., to listen to the two-time Super Bowl champion’s story. Kramer was recently announced as an inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Holy Angels School recognizes alum Gayle (Juech) Ritter                            By Mike Sternig

As part of the annual celebration of Catholic Schools Week each year, Holy Angels School recognizes past students with the National Catholic Educational Association’s Distinguished Graduate Award.

The school’s mission statement begins with the words: “We belong to a Catholic community which gathers together to proclaim the gospel, serve others and praise God.”

This year’s distinguished graduate was not available during the January celebration which delayed the presentation until this past weekend. The 2018 award recipient is Gayle (Juech) Ritter, a member of the Class of 1970.

Principal Mike Sternig noted, “Gayle has certainly embodied our mission statement by her service to others. She has been affiliated for the past 25 years with a charitable organization called MEDICO (Medical Eye Dental International Care Organization) which serves the impoverished population in Honduras. She has accomplished volunteer work in remote villages throughout that Central American nation.  Much of this volunteer work has focused on assisting the dentists and optometrists in the field as well as providing post-surgical rehabilitation to patients that have suffered severe injuries as a result of working on the banana and coffee plantations.”

The Distinguished Graduate and her husband have been the group leaders for several groups consisting of between 8 to 25 volunteer members and have most recently traveled to the Mosquito Coast which is in the southeastern region of the country and is a desolate and remote jungle-like area inhabited by mostly indigenous tribes.

In 1998, she was a part of a delegation of medical volunteers to provide medical care to those who suffered injuries from Hurricane Mitch, one of the deadliest hurricanes to hit the Western Hemisphere in more than 200 years. Additionally, she has provided care and therapy to children and adults alike suffering from a myriad of disabilities.

This husband and wife team has made several interactive presentations to the students of Holy Angels regarding their volunteer trips and they have been the encouragement for students to become involved with serving others through outreach efforts.

Regarding her formation at Holy Angels, Ritter made it clear, “My Catholic education has instilled a strong foundation of empathy, care, and compassion for the less fortunate members of both our local and international community.”

Leave a Reply