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The Highground Holds 18th Annual Recognition Dinner

Over 110 supporters gathered with The Highground staff and board members to be recognized at the 18th annual “Friends of The Highground” Dinner. This yearly dinner is a way for The Highground to thank the generous donors who support the organization through cumulative annual donations of more than $1,000. The event was held on March 19 at El Norteno Mexican Grill in Curtiss, Wis., where guests enjoyed fellowship and a savory American/Mexican dinner. The Highground is grateful to the staff at El Norteno for their hospitality and for going above and beyond to help make the event a success.

After a warm welcome by Chris Pettis, Executive Director, and an invocation by Bill Flemal, longtime motorcycle route leader for the Honor Ride and Ride to Remember®, Board Member Wayne Guenther presented the “Missing Service Member Table”. Board Members Steve Maddox, Bob Barth, Don Quicker, Gary Weirauch and Michele Benson read the names of 100 Wisconsin KIAs from the Global War on Terror, Korean War and Vietnam War. To begin the award ceremony, volunteer and contributor Skip Klabon offered a touching retirement speech for Kay Anason, Donation Coordinator. The Highground thanks Kay for her 13 years of dedication to the business and wishes her happiness in her new adventure. Kay also said a few words. She thanked everyone for all they do for The Highground and how they were a part of raising her family. She also said she was looking forward to their first summer vacation, ending with “I reached for a hand and you grabbed my heart. God Bless!”

A record number of first year contributors joined the growing list to be recognized. Three supporters have acquired all 18 certificates—Thank you Central WI Broadcasting (WCCN/WKPG), Donald Quicker and Dr. John & Rebecca Scaletta for supporting The Highground every single year since the implementation of this recognition. The 2021 certificate depicts the peaceful Earthen Dove Effigy Mound with its corresponding Challenge Coin. 

Several tables included information about Veterans programs offered by The Highground and glimpses into upcoming Museum exhibitions. The full-scale replica of the atomic bomb known as “Little Boy”, which will become a permanent exhibit, was also on display. 

To conclude the evening, the “Spirit of The Highground” awards were presented to and humbly accepted by the creators of “Little Boy”—Dale Hammel of Combat Parts, Inc. (Abbotsford) and Paul Erikson of Kulas Body Shop (Abbotsford—for taking The Highground’s idea and building the exhibit piece in less than five weeks. Also recognized were Randy Henchen of Henchen Electrical (Neillsville) for time and efforts toward switching out the Plaza lights to LED’s, reducing that monthly expense by a third. Thanks also went out to John and Maryann Vedder, who were unable to attend, for their dedication to The Museum exhibits, providing many artifacts, information and monetary support (including the “Little Boy” atomic bomb replica project) to enhance the visitor experience. Recipients of this special award are nominated and voted upon by the staff of The Highground, representing those who have gone above and beyond monetary works and who also have the “Spirit” of The Highground in them. This is no easy task as there are so many volunteers, supporters and contributors that have the “Spirit of The Highground”.    

The small staff at The Highground is eternally grateful for the many volunteers and contributors who offer their support. They could not accomplish as much as they do without that assistance. Veterans programs, Museum exhibits and ceremonies are free of charge because of these “Friends”.   

Below is the entire list of those who received the “Friends of The Highground” certificates. On behalf of our Veterans, the Board of Directors and The Highground Staff, we thank you for your patriotic support. Your gift allows us to confidently focus on the needs of our Veterans as we continue the mission to Honor, Educate and Heal. 

39TH YEAR RECOGNITION
Tom & Rose Miller

18TH YEAR RECOGNITION
Central WI Broadcasting
Don Quicker
Dr. John & Rebecca Scaletta

17TH YEAR RECOGNITION
Joan Jungwirth

16TH YEAR RECOGNITION
Randy Meyer
Jerry Simon
Jerry & Alice Smith

15TH YEAR RECOGNITION
Marjorie Short

14TH YEAR RECOGNITION
Joan Cervenka
Marguerite Listeman Foundation
Walter Tollefson
Tom & Anita Werthman

13TH YEAR RECOGNITION
City of Neillsville
Jakel Plumbing, Heating & Electrical, Inc.
Mall Furniture of Marshfield
Gary & Rita Karczewski
VFW Mar-Lin Post 10203

12TH YEAR RECOGNITION
Jim Braatz
Hardee’s of Neillsville, Colby & Medford
Michael & Joyce Huebsch
CW & Mary Ann King
Wes Waterman

11TH YEAR RECOGNITION
Dennis & Sharon Herzberg
Joyce Hoffman
Steve & Karen Maddox
Dave Sharretts
Lucinda Zimmer

10TH YEAR RECOGNITION
Citizens State Bank of Loyal
Michael & Kathy Gleisner
Skip & Deb Klabon
Mike & Jodi Olson
Steve Swanson
Gary & Kay Weirauch

9TH YEAR RECOGNITION
Robert & Gloria Beyer
Curt Braatz
James Feneli
Bill & Kathy Flemal
Kathy & Bernie Heit
Verla Lysy
Cole Peterson
Joel & Marla Raine – BP Drescher Oil

8TH YEAR RECOGNITION
Michele Benson
Chilson Automotive
Clark Electric Cooperative
Julie Diesing
Kimberly Knudsen
Nick & Janet Lesar

7TH YEAR RECOGNITION
John Blank
Roy & Ginny Franz
Bonnie Henchen
Lorraine Short
Steve & Karen Swader

6TH YEAR RECOGNITION
Lee & Kathleen Anderson
Fred & Kim Berg
George & Betty Blauvelt
Mark & Lori Dawson
Joel & Heidi Hazzard
Jim & Nina Henchen
Kokosz Family
Jim & Janice Ottman
Dave Reimer
WalMart Foundation

5TH YEAR RECOGNITION
American Legion Loyal Post #175
David & Mary Backstrom
Jay Froh
Gross Motors, Inc.
Al & Kay Lamovec
Duane Schwab
VFW Lakeland #7898
Wuethrich Foundation

4TH YEAR RECOGNITION
Renee & Andrew Bernard
Mary Bootz
Dale Hammel/Combat Parts
Kathy Houzner
John & Donna Koutre
McNeely Financial Services, Inc.
Dave Schmitz

3RD YEAR RECOGNITION
American Legion Riders District 2
American Legion Willis – Chapel Post 306
James & Diana Buechner
Larry & Pat Dessner
Forward Bank
Barry Hammarback
Dean & Sharon Hommel
Ray & Pat Maertens
Neillsville Chamber of Commerce
Ralph & Peg Ottum
Dan Mattoon/Prestige Auto Corp
James Rice
Delmar Scanlon
Terri Stott
VFW Dr. G.G. Mueller Post #10452
Shannon Wachuta

2ND YEAR RECOGNITION
American Legion Phaneuf – Vanasse Post #111
Donald Bonack
David Dvorachek
Greg & Joy Foye
Kuhl Equipment, LLC
Land O’ Lakes
Janice Mayer
Elaine Quast
Carol Shea
Adel Theide
VVA Chapter 101
Kenneth Walz

1ST YEAR RECOGNITION
Abby Bank
Patricia Adamski
Alliance Bank of Mondovi
American Legion Brask-Fossum-Janke Post #185
American Legion Carl Nelson Post #324
American Legion Hanley-Ariss-Millin Post #5
American Legion Mason-Lindsay Post #385
American Legion Mead-Rath-Gutke Post #339
American Legion Post #73
AMVETS Elmo Dahl Post #1
AMVETS Post #10
Dominic Anderson
Don Anibas
Doris Bakker
Bankers’ Bank
Barth Trucking, LLC
Bob & Kathy Barth
Dale Bauer 
John Becker – JB Welding
Samantha Bigalke
Carl Bogar Jr.
James & Janice Brady
Troy Buddenhagen
Donald & Nancy Campbell
William J. & Gertrude R. Casper
Scott Church
Clark County Community Foundation
CoBank, ABC
Co-op Credit Union
Richard & Laura Culver
Ned & Katie Derksen
DMZ M/C
Mary & Pat Donahue
Arthur & Julie Elliott 
Daniel Erickson
Kulas Body Shop 
Dorothy & Dean Evensen
Excel Engineering, Inc.
Festival Foods
Daniel & Kelly Ficker
First State Bank
Fishing Has No Boundaries – Hayward
Leonard & Connie Frye 
Loyal Car Show
Gardner Cold Storage, Inc.
David Gliniecki
Wayne Guenther 
Nels & Nancy Gunderson
Dwight Halfmann
Marge Hansen
Wade Hartung
Joseph & Connie Havlovick
Lori Hebbe
Hebert Dental
Carl Holmquist
Crescendo Fundraising Professionals, LLC
Maureen Jo Hornung
Gregory Ichel
Pamela Ironside
Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co. Inc.
Joyce Jarvis
Kathy Johnson
Scott & Angie Kissinger
Jim & Christine Krizenesky 
Susan & Jerome Krofta
Randell Kruger
Bernard & Jean Kuehl
Richard La Fountaine
John & Joan Laabs
Cynthia & Thomas Larson
Richard & Rebecca Mauch
MEC, Inc.
Seth & Susan Miller 
Angela & Coty Montgomery
Jean Moseley
Annette Murphy
Nam Knights Brew City Chapter, Inc.
Northside Elevator
Northwestern Bank
Rachel Nowak
Wayne Opelt
Palmer Welcome Auto
Partners Bank of Wisconsin
Michael Platt
Harold & Carol Rand
Kenneth Roehl
Roehl Transport, Inc.
Russell’s of Neillsville
David & Diane Roidt
Sav-Rite Building Center
Cory Schilling
Mike Schilling
Paul & Joann Schreiner
Larry & Patty Schwoch
Wayne Short
Judith Singer
Vernon & Joan Smith
Sons of American Legion Lt. Ray Dickop Post #36
State Bank Financial – Marshfield
Mary Stevens
Katherine Stevenson
Strike Time Lanes
The Pineries Bank
Unity Bank – August
USS Frank E Evans Dd 754
John & Maryann Vedder
Mike & Linda Verdico
Vets Journey Home USA, Inc. 
VFW Craig S. Olson Post #8514
VFW Post #6550
Margie Walker
Ronald & Joyce Wanek
Roger Washkovick
Mark & Rosemarie Weber
Carol Wedl
Whitetails Unlimited
WI Vietnam Veterans, Inc. Chapter 7
Don Wittmann
Wood Trust Bank
Bruce Wozniak
Dorothy Wozniak
WWIS Radio
James Zimmer
Richard & Darlene Zimmerman

Thank You!

“Giving is not just about making a donation,
it is about making a difference.”

Kathy calvin, former President and Chief Executive Officer of the United Nations Foundation