“They gave their tomorrows so we could have todays” *
(See photos next posting)
An overflow crowd gathered to remember and honor those that fought and have died for the freedoms we experience today. Colors of red, white, and blue dominated the community Memorial Day service: in people’s clothing and accessories, in the Quilts of Valor draped over the backs of the pews, and of course, the display of the flag of the United States of America.
Ellen Graf shared information about the Quilts of Valor reporting that the practice began in 2003 by Catherine Roberts who spearheaded a group to make a quality quilt for her son deployed in Iraq. That began a movement that spread to quilters across the country. Here was a way of expressing appreciation and comfort to those touched by war for their service, sacrifice, and valor. This year the Island quilters made 13 quilts for presentation.
American Legion Gislason-Richter Post #402 Post Commander, Bill Nauta, welcomed everyone and led the Pledge of Allegiance and several patriotic songs. Donna Briesemeister accompanied on the piano. Pastor Rick Smith gave the invocation.
Each year Washington Island High School students submit essays on a subject determined by the American Legion members. The question was what national goals are most important at this time in our country. The essays are submitted without names and are chosen by American Legion members. This year’s essay winners were Karoline Jordan, Kyra Lux, and Brett Mohn. Karoline spoke about the necessity to join with other countries to defeat and stop ISIS. Kyra noted the vital role of education. Brett spoke about the importance of securing our borders.
Colonel Ron Rusing (retired from the U.S. Air Force) gave the Memorial Day Address. He was dressed in his highly decorated uniform. He had served in combat and been stationed in various parts of the world during his tenure. He earned and was awarded many medals. Ron and his wife, Joyce, had made 21 moves in 28 years. He pointed out two veterans in attendance with great appreciation. He was touched each year by Jake Ellefson who annually read the names of departed service men and women at the Island cemetery. He also gave a salute to Al Thiele who had risen to Master Chief of Coast Guard, the highest enlisting ranking. He gave special thanks to his wife, and Al’s wife, Nancy. The support of a spouse is critical for those serving in the military.
Ron shared several interesting incidences that happened during his time in the service. He explained how his call sign and name was Rat1. (Yes, it involved a real rat!) Another story involved a parade to welcome a visit from the English Prime Minister during Nixon’s presidency. Four individuals had slipped in with parade entries, without approval, depicting the war of independence from England. They looked battered, bloody, and were limping. Ron shared that someone leaned forward to explain to the Prime Minister, “when you win you never let them forget”.
Ron mentioned another incident that involved a lineup of the newly produced Black Hawk helicopters. Lined up with them were the two prop air lifter helicopters. When a small rear prop malfunctioned on one of the air lifter helicopter, parts of it flew outward. A guard thought it was an attack and began shooting, peppering the new line of Black Hawks with holes. Ron shared additional memories and concluded with an emotional statement that he had loved life serving in the military.
The Color Guard and Rifle Squad marched from Bethel Church to the cemetery. A wreath was placed at the flag pole by Nancy and Al Thiele’s grandsons dressed in their Eagle Scout uniforms. A chair was provided for veteran 91 year old Jake Ellefson and he read the names of departed comrades. The Rifle Squad gave the Salute followed by Taps played on trumpet by Leo Derrico. Michael Gillespie and Emmett Woods played Amazing Grace on their bagpipes. All walked from the cemetery down to Schoolhouse Beach to repeat the tribute, placing a wreath in the water in honor of those who died at sea. Thanks to Paula McDonald for making and providing the wreaths each year.
Blue sky and sunshine joined to provide a lovely day for the outdoor portions of the service. Soon after the skies turned gray and there was rain off and on for the rest of the day.
* John Maxwell Edmonds was recorded as saying: "When you go home tell them of us and say: for your tomorrow we gave our today". It later was changed to the following: “They gave their tomorrows so we could have todays”.
The theme this year is “Maker Fun Factory”. June 19-23. Kids will meet with friends, play creative games, enjoy lip-smacking snacks, experience surprising adventures, and listen to incredible music. Watch for a boxholder for more information.
Baccalaureate for the 2017 graduates will be June 7th at Trinity Lutheran Church. Graduation
will be held at the Community Center gym at 6 P.M. on Friday, June 9.
Memorial Day program is presented by the American Legion Post #402 on Monday, May 29th at Bethel Church at 10:30 am.
The two programs the Washington Island Historical Archives is presenting this summer include:
(1) Rick Heinemann on June 25, Early Island Ferry History,
(2) Jim Anderson, August 20, American Girl – stories about helping to operate the family’s freight business.
Thanks to Susan Ulm for taking the gnats off my pic. They were thick as thieves shen I took the photo.
The Art and Nature Center media and book sale is May 27th from 9 A.M. – 12 noon. The Center opens on
June 13 with its opening reception at 6 P.M. on June 16 featuring the art of Julia Jack-Scott and the late Charles and Laura Jack.
The WICHP (Washington Island Community Health Program) sponsored End of the School Year Picnic is on Friday, June 9th at 12:15 at the Red Barn Park. It is open to the Island community. School children will again be able to ride the Packer train from school to the picnic compliments of the W.I. Ferry Line. WICHP supplies sloppy joes, hot dogs, and beverages. Bring dishes to pass, like salads, casseroles, desserts.
The Mother-Daughter Banquet, “A Mother’s Silhouette”, was a success with 125 mom’s, daughters, grandmothers, and granddaughters in attendance. Betty Lou Smith led in prayer and then a capable group of men served the delicious turkey dinner. After dinner, there were prizes awarded for: the newest mother, the mother with the most children, and other “mom” themed categories. A real treat was a lively song by a group of young daughters about mothers led by Kayla Johnson. Leila Nehlsen led a song with the acrostic M-O-T-H-E-R. She then shared a meditation about “A Mother’s Silhouette” challenging mothers to think about what their silhouette of life says to others and how God can guide them. The tables were decorated with bright spring colors. On each lady’s place setting there was a booklet called “One Minute Inspirations for Women” and on the children’s settings there were little gifts appropriate to their age. Flower pots with flowers were used for decorations and also served as awards for a variety of categories. There were three descriptions of women and the identity of each was recognized and named by those in attendance: Donna Briesemeister, the late Sylvia Nelson, and Kari Gordon. It was a lovely evening to celebrate all ages, from a tiny baby (daughter of Lydia and Peter Nikolai) to the oldest mother (Shirley Atkins Ellefson) in attendance. Thanks to the Bethel Builders and friends who make this such a delightful evening.
2017 Senior Class: Josh Ervin, Kyra Lux, Alex Johnson, Hailey Jorgenson, Brett Mohn, Christopher Nelson, Elena Waldron. Valedictorian is Alex Johnson, son of Marleen Johnson and Don Johnson. Salutatorian is Elena Waldron, daughter of Steve and Laura Waldron. Graduation will be held at the Community Center gym at 6 P.M. on Friday, June 9. The main speaker is teacher, Leila Nehlsen.
The End of the School Year Picnic is on Friday, June 9th which is open to the Island community at the Red Barn Park. More info to follow.
Artists and Island residents, Paula Oeler and Dave Tilton, will be speaking about their digital painting techniques at an opening reception at the Peninsula School of Art in Fish Creek on May 19th. The reception will be held from 4 – 6 p,m.
WICHP Facts of Later Life Luncheon will be on Thursday May 18th from 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm. The 2017 graduating class of 7 seniors will be joining the luncheon and sharing their future plans after
graduation. Please call Laura Findlay Hagen, WICHP Program Coordinator for reservations by Tuesday May 16th at 847-2679 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org 2017 graduates are: Josh Ervin, Kyra Lux, Alex
Johnson, Hailey Jorgenson, Brett Mohn, Christopher Nelson, Elena Waldron.
May 21st there will be a dementia education workshop for the Island community at Bethel Church at 2:30 P.M. Presenter will be Vicki Johnson, an outreach specialist with the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Wisconsin Chapter in DePere. The sponsors are Alzeimer’s Association and WICHP (Washington Island Community Health Program). Find out the 10 signs of dementia and things a community can do to be more dementia-friendly. There will be about an hour long presentation plus a question and answer portion. Call or email WICHP director, Christine Andersen, for further information.
Memorial Day—At Bethel Church May 29th. 10:30 A.M. The American Legion Post #402 will present the annual program followed by a march to the cemetery and the water’s edge where names of departed comrades are read, the gun salute is given, and wreaths are placed.
The Island Party Spring Fling was well attended with the dinner seating filled to
capacity. Bright spring colors and flowers decorated the hall at Karly’s. Additional
people arrived for the dance and all had a chance to view and put in bids on
the silent auction items plus buy raffle tickets up until the raffle ticket
drawing. Crowned King and Queen of the night were Mildred and Dewey Jacobsen,
one of the oldest couples on the Island and they danced the night away. The lucky
winners of the raffle tickets were: First prize of $500 cash was Becky
Gillespie; Second Prize of the weekend County Get-away was Christine Andersen; Third
Prize of the Ferry Tickets was Dottie Haertig; Fourth Prize of the Rec Center
Membership was Nicolla Nelson; Fifth Prize of the Rock Island trip with food
from Time-out Concessions was Will Craig. It was a great night to celebrate
spring, have fun, and support a worthy community cause. Thanks to all that make
it happen and attenders and the many who support the event even if they can’t
43rd Annual Salon of Door County High School Art is on display from April 22 - May 30 at the Miller Art Center in Sturgeon Bay. Island School Art teacher, Melanie Enger, noted that presenters from the Island were Korrina Ervin, grade 11, “Why”; Finn Hagen, grade 11, “Map and Braces”; Breana Mohn, grade 11, “The Essence of Life”; Hang Phan, grade 10, no title; Lee Sangyoon, “Self Portrait”. Congratulations to the participants. Be sure to stop in and see the display of student art projects when in Sturgeon Bay.