Packwaukee Holds Veteran’s Memorial Dedication

Veterans from across the county met in Packwaukee this past weekend to celebrate the dedication of the new Veteran’s Memorial in Washington Square Park. Keith Bagley, who had been instrumental in seeing the memorial project to completion, began the program by thanking a large number of groups and people who had helped make the memorial a reality.

He thanked Kempley Farms for the excavating donations of sod, gravel and black dirt, Mudhound Concrete for their donated labor towards the cement work, Dennis Kratz and his crew, Bill Smith, Doug Kratz, and his son for a donation of labor and materials, John Thill and Ben Spillner who built the wall, his neighbors Lonnie and Jason who helped with the mortar, AJ Domer from AD Painting who painted and touched up the memorial, and Greg Shortreed who helped him install the medallions and the plaques on the memorial.

He also thanked the Packwaukee Town Board and Planning Commission, Jeff Bender and Adam Shue for their work in making the CAD designs for the project, Jim Rohde from Rohde Auto for helping unload things with his skid loader, Al Willkomm of American Legion Post 351 and Marquette County Veterans Service Officer Kris Bergh for organizing the ceremony, and Al Willkomm again for organizing two gun raffles to raise funds for the project. 

He thanked groups and individuals that donated funds to the project including Doug Berthon, Karyn Niin Kitigade, the Packwaukee Historical Society, and the Town of Packwaukee.

Lastly, he thanked all the veterans and said that he spearheaded the entire project because his daughter, father, and uncle all served. He described how families need to have a burial plot and plans in case something happens to family members who go overseas. He said that Packwaukee needed the memorial and now it was here.

Allen Willkomm spoke next, thanking Keith Bagley for his work and dedication for planning the memorial, along with Packwaukee Town Chairman Lance Achterberg, the town board, and the planning commission.

He said that there were veterans from multiple groups that participated in the parade and ceremony, including those from VFW Post 6003 Oxford, VFW Post 8718 Westfield, American Legion Post 351 Montello, American Legion Post 244 Westfield, American Legion Post 329 Briggsville, American Legion Post 423 Neshkoro, Legion Riders of the Wisconsin 6th District, the Wisconsin American Legion 6th District West, and Commander Jule Standke from the American Legion Marquette County Council.

Pastor Brenda Pulver opened the ceremony following that, then Marquette County Veteran Service Officer Kris Bergh spoke next saying that Veteran’s Memorials are important because they pay tribute to the men and women that served in the United States Armed Forces. The memorials provide a connection from the past to the present and they enable people to honor those who served. He said that they also provide an opportunity for younger generations to recognize the sacrifices made by past generations. 

He discussed how the memorials honor everyone who has served since the birth of the nation and then told the crowd about four veterans who have served from the Packwaukee area: Dennis Glunn, who served as the parade Grand Marshal, Ernest Barton, Lyle “Sarge” Barton, and Lance Achterberg.

Bergh closed by saying veterans are an important part of each community that continue their service in the community once they leave the military. He said that was why there are Veteran’s Memorials nationwide and now in Packwaukee, along with recognizing veterans’ service and their sacrifices to the country. He thanked the crowd for attending and making a difference just by being there at the ceremony.