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Slinger Area Veterans

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Since 2000, Slinger High School history and literature students have slowly been preserving stories about Slinger area veterans.  During the 2019-2020 school year, Slinger High School Social Studies students researched Slinger Area Military Service Past and Present a bit more extensively.  History students visited the Kenosha Civil War Museum, studied living and deceased veterans, and researched the history of the local VFW (Zunker-Held Post) and local American Legion (Fohl-Martin Post) while also helping curate the Alumni Military Display in Slinger High School. Sociology students visited the 128th Air Refueling Wing, centered on the Zablocki Medical Center (Milwaukee VA Hospital), and interviewed active military and recent soldiers transitioning from military service, as well as workers and students working for veteran support and transition from service organizations. While not comprehensive by any means, this website shares some samples of some of the research that was done and has some links to organizations we studied and worked with during the thematic research.  Many of these samples have been used and will be used to help teach future students.  The COVID-19 pandemic interrupted some of our work.  More samples will be added in the future with the help of Modern American Literature students, history, and sociology students. Special thanks to all the students, veterans, veteran families, veteran support organizations, local historical societies, and military organizations who helped students with their research.   If you know a local veteran or a member of a veteran support group who would like to be interviewed to preserve their story for posterity or to help teach students how community is built, please contact Nate Grimm at  Contact Dean Leisgang, if you'd like more information about video production like you see below.


Veterans on Video

Several Slinger area veterans agreed to be interviewed on video in October 2019 to help kick off research for the 2019-2020 Slinger History/Culture theme.  These veterans introduce themselves in the clip above. 

The in-person culminating event where videos, student displays, and artifacts are shown, was postponed until the 2020-2021 school year due to the pandemic.

SHS Alumni Military Display

Principal Ourada and the Slinger High School administrative team added a military alumni display by the high school office in 2019. High School students from various departments helped add to the display.  Several history students added depth to the display with inquiry projects.

If you would like to add a Slinger Military Alum name to the display, click here. Artifacts will rotate periodically.

Wreaths Across America (Legion event)

Local Legion members applied the national Wreaths Across America event within Washington County. Students and teachers got involved.


Click here for a sociology student paper and here for a Washington County Insider article.

Click here for a 2013 story about Vince Strupp and his work in Arlington that inspired Legion members and SHS students with local ideas


Former District Legion Americanism committee chairman, Herb Kieferndorf, discusses the Americanism goals of the American Legion in October 2019.

Kieferndorf excerpt where he discusses his Legion, VFW, and community service with students 

Memorial Day

Local VFW member, Herb Kieferndorf talks to sociology and history students in October 2019 about the local Memorial Day service.

National History of Memorial Day information

*Information about building the Honor Wall in Downtown Slinger here and here

Operation Wild Horse

2020 Slinger HS senior, Brooke Kiefer, explains the work she's done with Operation Wild Horse. 

*Official Operation Wild Horse website

*Operation Wild Horse Sociology student paper 

Vietnam Voices Photo Story

Slinger Vietnam Veteran, Don Thies, frequently helps Slinger HS literature and history students learn more about the Vietnam War. In this October 2019 clip, Don discusses the cover photo from the book Voices from Vietnam by Michael Stevens. Don is one of the soldiers on the cover. 

*Click here for audio of part of Thies' story. Click here for transcription of part of Thies' story. Click here for Flag Story

Refueling Wing

Slinger Sociology students visited the 128th WI Air Refueling Wing in Milwaukee in October 2019 to interview 2 Slinger residents and 2 Slinger Alumni about how their work helps society . Students learned about roles, status, and teamwork while finding out how community is built.

See more in the group section below.

VFW Patio Renovation

Slinger 2019-2020 junior, Alex Lange, discussed his Eagle Scout project, which consisted of renovating the VFW patio in Slinger and adding Honor Tiles.  The interview was conducted in October 2019.

"The VFW is doing so much for our community and our country that it is definitely worth giving back."  Alex Lange


128th WI Air National Guard Refueling Wing

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*Official website

*Sociology student feedback from site visit, Sociology student paper

*excerpt from Jeremy Wilson (2019)

*excerpt about Logistics side  (2019)

*excerpt from Dan Croft (2020)

*excerpt from Lucas Daley (2019)

*excerpt from Lynda Daley (2019)

*excerpt from Herb Kieferndorf (2009)

*excerpt from Thomas Haase (2020)

*diagram by Noah Howard, sociology

Kenosha Civil War Museum Field Trip

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Students often visit the Kenosha Civil War museum to accentuate part of their Civil War unit and to find out more about the roles soldiers and citizens from the Upper Midwestern states played.  Students complete projects which integrate Slinger area Civil War veterans into their work.  Slinger teacher, Steve Acker, helps students humanize the war and add to their inquiry projects.  Curator Doug Dammann and his staff have been instrumental in helping students with their projects. Click here for the Kenosha Civil War Museum website.  Click here for student video. Sample students projects will be added soon.  

The Veterans Administration Hospital: Milwaukee (Zablocki Medical Center)

Diversity of Service

VA Milwaukee links students used for research:

*Overview of campus

*A to Z List of Services

*Volunteer Link

*Ground map

*Mental Health, COVID-19 story

Working Lives

Veteran and Slinger resident, Cindy Rogers, discusses her nursing work at the VA Medical Center in Milwaukee (above)

*Jobs and Career at VA Hospital link

*Interview excerpt with retired Music Therapist about his work (2021)

Veterans Hired

*Student papers and excerpts about nursing work at Zablocki VA Medical Center.  

*Excerpt from David Flynn, a veteran who worked as Behavioral and Occupational Therapist at the VA Grounds after his military career

Community Needs

Milwaukee VA Stories and links

*COVID-19 story

*COVID-19 story

*Fisher House article

*Housing for Homeless article

*Women's Health link

*Recreational Therapy link

*Music Therapy link one and two

Fohl-Martin Legion POst


*Official Legion website

*Student research paper

*Post History document (2009), student document

*Past Commander document ( 1988, from History Center of Washington County)

*Story about Bill and Pat Hart with quotes on Veteran's Park in Allenton

*Judy Steffes Story (Vet's Day 2020)

Zunker Held VFW


Zunker-Held Post history

Excerpt from VFW members Richard Gellendin and Cindy Rogers about the mission of the Zunker-Held VFW Post in the community

Research on Held namesake of post



Students interviewed Slinger alum/Navy veteran, Rex Melius, about the Cemeterians' Veteran Remembrance Lights fundraiser (Photo above is a volunteer placing a light next to vet's grave (2019)

*student paper, student paper

*Facebook page

*Cemeterian video story

*Cemeterian video story



*Sociology student paper

*Official website

*Story about Tiny Homes plan for Good Hope Road, second article

*Veterans Village in Racine story

*Tiny Homes story in Racine


*Video above before the National Veterans Theater Festival (2019)

*Official Website

*Audio excerpt "Building Community" (2020)

*Sociology student paper

*AP video story (2015)

"They are my family."             Veteran in Group

"It's a way to tell a story without saying it in your own words. You can use Shakespeare's words which are still relevant today." Veteran in Group


Sociology students researched the WEDC Military Talent Attraction programs.  Here is a link to the WEDC Military Talent website.  Here is a link to a hiring program. Here is a student organized list of WEDC vet help and a sociology paper based on a guest speaker appearance 

"My role now is to travel to active duty military installations to talk to transitioning service members." Steve Janke, WEDC (2019)

Horicon Marsh Veteran Hunting Event

*Sociology student paper by Sam Dodge about Horicon Marsh Veteran Hunting Event which is organized with the help of Slinger grad and his father, Chuck Dodge

*official website

*article in Milwaukee newspaper


"It provides them a place to reconnect with those who share the same experiences as them." Chuck Dodge (Slinger HS grad)



Mrs. Keliher's ELA classes wrote letters for Mail Call (above, photo by Amy Keliher, 2019)


*Sociology student video (By Ethan Schulteis)

*Here is the Stars and Stripes website

*Here is a Fox 6 newstory.

"The Mail call, and particularly reading student letters, was powerful." Don Thies, Honor Flight Vet

"The community of Honor Flight is amazing."  Stacey Brandt (Honor Flight Guardian, Nurse Practitioner)


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-Disabled Vets Fishing website (photo above from website)

-Disabled Vets Fishing Group sociology student paper 

-VA Hospital connection

-Take A Vet Fishing Group website



*Pets For Vets website

*Stepping Stone Farms website

*Sociology student paper (coming soon)

*MKE story


Milwaukee War Memorial Center overview video (the value of connecting with veterans and the memorial center)


VA Hospital Art Therapy in Milwaukee Information

*Creative Art Festival

*VA Art Therapist article

*VA Art Therapy program

*Guitars for Vets site



Milwaukee Dry Hooch Program

National Veterans Art Museum in Chicago website

Wisconsin Vet's Museum (Art Through Trauma article)


During 2019 and 2020, Slinger High School administrators, administrative assistants, community leaders, students, teachers, alumni, and alumni families collaborated to produce a display focusing on SHS alumni who have experience in the military.  Alumni names are looped on the screen in the center thanks to Mrs. Olson and the administrative assistants. Artifacts and documents are occasionally rotated.  Audio from several veterans or family members is archived on a subpage on this website and sometimes on the display itself so students can learn a bit more about the alumni and so students can practice data collection skills.  Students have created papers about some alumni for history class.  Students are in the early stages of collecting stories and more will be added later.  Come back and keep checking for more additions!  Click here to learn more about some of the veterans who have been featured or could be featured in the future in the physical display. Click here to add a alumni name to the list.  Several alumni are shown below.  More will be added later.  Special thanks to Mr. Ourada, Mrs. Olson, Mr. Armstrong, tech ed and history teachers, and students Hannah Hellesen, Caitlyn Simonz, Kylie Gliniecki, Grace Horwath, Nadea Oestreich, Sam Krstic, Gabe Manning, Tylie and Skylar Allar, and many others for their leadership getting the display organized the first year. 


Rex Melius (1969)


Vince Strupp (1964)


Curtis Hinca (2004)


Collin Schmelebeck (2015)



Final question from Zoom interview with a Vietnam and Desert Storm Veteran, Thomas Haase.  Question asked by sophomore Adam Wojtasiak (April 2020)

Before our time with Tom was up, we wanted to ask him a final question regarding the state of our world at the time being, which was also the reason we had to conduct our interview over video call rather than talking in person.



Q: With this whole COVID-19 situation, a lot of seniors and kids our age have conflicted feelings that their school years are going to be all messed up now and all the seniors didn’t have their senior sports seasons or anything. But then you look back at World War 1, World War 2, and Vietnam, and you had high school seniors being sent across the world to war, it seems as though we shouldn’t be complaining too much. What are your thoughts on all of that?


A: I will say this. In all of our lives that we live, at some point in our lives, we are called upon to do something. My time was Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraq, raising my children. If I die tomorrow, I die with peace in my heart. Now it’s your time. It’s your time to give back and to help out your community, your country. And all I can say is God bless America. Really, seriously. God bless America, and God bless you young people for being so interested in this. It does my heart good. It really does. Thank you… I’d like to say this. We can never forget the past. We need to learn from the past, and I see that that’s what you young people are doing, and I’m very proud of you guys. Believe me. It’s kinda interesting, all of the bad things we see in this world. But there’s a lot of good things, and all I can say is keep up the good work. I really appreciate the questions, I really appreciate this time you gave me, and thank you.

Several SHS students have chosen to interview veterans over the years. Some of those veterans have interview excerpts from their stories below.  Some have been used only on physical displays for an in-person veteran themed community night. Some of have their work is in Modern American Literature booklets that Mrs. Keliher has produced. This list is not as comprehensive as it could be. Consider this a work in progress.  A goal: Students actively inquire and then research local history and culture by interviewing others and then preserve that story for future Slinger students or, in some cases, preserve for their family archives.  In the process of interviewing a veteran, students should learn a bit about some of the men and women from our area while practicing listening, questioning, and other verbal communication skills.  We thank the veterans who agreed to help students learn more.   Additional future angles could include how people on the home front played a role in keeping community foundations strong while the men and women below served in the military or how military members like the National Guard adapt to various crisis' they face.

Example:  2020 News Article about the importance of the National Guard in WI during the COVID-19 pandemic

More stories will be added so keep checking back at later dates.  Some of the eras below are merely framed out for future additions at this time.  

Local Veteran Stories


Slinger HS Band Trip to Pearl Harbor
More Regional Links

Wisconsin Veteran's Museum click here

History Center of Washington County click here

Hartford History Room click here

Edward and Minette Wolf "Schleisingerville to Slinger" History Museum click here

Forever Honoring Washington County Veterans click here

Allenton Elementary Veteran Tribute 2020

Adventure Quest Productions (focus on Berlin Airlift, T-28 pilots)

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