News: Neillsville Veterans Recognized (8 Dec 2014)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: Bayuk, Hediger, Schaub, Smith, Chadwick, Diesing, Durst, Lewis, Lukes, Stillman, Svetlik

----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI) 12/17/2014

News: Veterans Recognized (Neillsville Retirement Community - 8 December 2014)

Veterans Recognized at Nursing Home and Retirement Community

Military veterans at Neillsville Retirement Community were recognized for their service to their country during a special program organized by members of Neillsville American Legion Post 73. Honored veterans were Ed Bayuk (left) and Herman Hediger (right). (Photo by Todd Schmidt/Clark County Press)

By Todd Schmidt

Members of Neillsville American Legion Post 73 continued the ongoing project of honoring area veterans by acknowledging the military service of residents of Neillsville Retirement Community and Neillsville Care and Rehabilitation.

Legion members Carol Schaub, Mike Smith and Chip Chadwick paid a visit to the residents Dec. 8. The biography of each veteran was read and certificates of recognition were presents. Many friends and family members attended the proceedings.

Blankets made by Julie Diesing of Hastings, MN, were given to each veteran compliments of The Highground.

Herman Hediger, 82, was drafted into the U. S. Army in 1956. He served his country for three years. He was first stationed at Ft. Ord, CA.

Hediger received his training at Ft. Benning, GA. He was shipped out on the last ship to go through the Panama Canal to Germany, where he worked as a radio mechanic. While working there, he noticed the tools he was using were made at Auto Test in Neillsville. He wrote home to tell his parents that bit of news.

After his honorable discharge, Hediger began working at his family’s cheese factory, Hediger Dairy in Christie. Later, he drove a semi truck for Christie Milk Transport.

Military service was a family thing, as his brothers Fritz and Kurt also served their country, and his son Ernie was a member of the Special Forces.

Hediger has eight children, Lucretia, Erica, Ernie, Lolita, Heidi, Lydia, Clara and Crispin.

Edward Bayuk, 93, is a WWII veteran. He served in the U.S. Navy for six years.

In 1939, after boot camp at Great Lakes, IL, Bayuk went to the state of Washington and reported to the USS Tennessee. He then volunteered to go to San Diego, CA, and report to the USS Palmer, a minesweeper. The ship went to Norfolk, VA, via the Panama Canal.

Bayuk was reassigned to Bay City, MI, where he spent time getting the USS Pheasant ready to go out to sea. That ship later became part of the fleet that invaded Normandy. Bayuk did not take part in that mission, as he was sent to Puerto Rico.

He was a storekeeper in charge of ordering supplies for various ships. He was then assigned to the USS APL-32 floating barracks that traveled from Boston to Key West through the Panama Canal. The voyage took four months.

In 1946, Bayuk returned to the family farm in Willard. He then worked for the Department of Agriculture testing milk. In later years, he worked with various departments, testing weights and measures for gas pumps and fuel meters.

Bayuk was married to Josephine, who passed away in 2007. Bayuk has 13 children, 15 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.

Marie Durst, 96, is a WWII veteran who served in the Army Air Corp. She is originally from the state of Kansas. Durst was a nurse stationed at the Army Air Force Base at Fort Worth, TX.

There, she met her husband LaVerne, who was a pilot. LaVerne, a Greenwood area native, passed away after 56 years of marriage.

In later years, it was discovered her grandmother and his great-grandfather lived 15 miles apart in Germany.

Durst has a son, James and a daughter, Judith.

Robert Lewis, 90, is a WWII Army Veteran. He served with the 86th Black Hawk Infantry Division, which was stationed in France and Germany. Lewis was a member of the mortar crew. Near the end of WWII, Lewis received orders to the Philippines.

He was originally from Rhinelander. His father served in WWI. Lewis taught junior high science in Antigo, starting in 1952. Lewis was married to Vivian, who passed away in 2000. He has a son Dick, and a daughter, Cindy.

Henry Lukes, 92, served in the U. S. Army Air Force during WWII. He was a radio operator and a waist gunner, flying in a B-24 bomber used to destroy military installations and oil fields.

On his 48th mission, Lukes’ plane was shot down, and the crew parachuted safely. The crew hid in homes and barns. They are corn from the fields and obtained a small amount of food from the Partisans.

Eventually the crew was transported via ox carts to their air base. Due to high fevers, the crew was hospitalized in Naples, Italy. They were then flown to the U.S.

Lukes taught in the School District of Neillsville. He coached sports and later was named principal. He was married to Charlotte, who passed away. He has a daughter, Ann, and two sons, Gary and Tom.

Chet Stillman, 94, is a veteran of the U.S. Army. He served in WWII from 1943-1945.

Stillman was a member of the 2000 Horse Cavalry out of Kansas. He was an engineer, and also ran a bulldozer and a grader. His unit installed a pipeline. Stillman was stationed in Okinawa. One of his duties was burying the bodies of many people killed during the war.

Toward the end of WWII, Stillman was stationed in South Korea. His outfit slept in pup tents on the ground. The Shell Oil Company stored sewing machines in a large warehouse that was not allowed for use as housing.

The unit adopted a 12-year-old Korean Boy. When Stillman left Korea, he could not bring the boy back home with him. Stillman said many tears were shed about the parting.

Stillman was married to Betty, who is deceased. Children still living are Beverly, Joan and Linda. A son, Jerry, is deceased.

Ann Svetlik, 98, is a veteran of the U.S. Navy who served in WWII. Svetlik is originally from Cadott. She was stationed at the Key West, FL, naval operating base.

She was a Storekeeper 1st Class. Her duties were to supply the incoming ships with supplies and the seamen with their pay.

Svetlik received a college education before she enlisted in the Navy. She later taught English at Neillsville High School and was named librarian at the junior high school.

She was married to Anthony, who passed away in 2011. Svetlik has five children, Kathleen, Barbara, Ronald, Victoria and Toni Jean.

Military veterans at Neillsville Care and Rehabilitation were recognized for their service to their country during a special program organized by member of Neillsville American Legion Post 73. Shown (l-r) are Ann Svetlik, Henry Lukes, Chet Stillman, Robert Lewis and Marie Durst. (Photo by Todd Schmidt/Clark County Press)



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