News: Neillsville - American Legion Honors Vets (Nov 2015)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: Gress, Hediger, Svetlik, Lewis, Ziegler, Johnson, Elmhorst, Kieser

----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI) 11/18/2015

American Legion Honors Veterans (Neillsville - 2015)

Veterans Honored at Nursing Home and Retirement Community

Veterans Wendell Elmhorst (l) and Jerry Johnson are recognized by the Neillsville American Legion, Auxiliary and VFW during a ceremony held Nov. 10 at Neillsville Retirement Community. (Photo by Todd Schmidt/Clark County Press)

By Todd Schmidt

The Veterans Day holiday was made special this year for residents of Neillsville Care and Rehabilitation and Neillsville Retirement Community.

Members of the Neillsville American Legion, Auxiliary and VFW participated in programs at both facilities and recognized residents who served in the military.

Lowell Gress graduated from Neillsville High School in 1950. He served in the Navy from 1951 to 1955.

Gress attended basic training at Long Beach, CA. He served as a machinist on the Navasota, a fleet oil tanker on the Pacific. The ship fueled aircraft carriers, destroyers and submarines. Hone Kong was the refueling base.

Gress later went to Great Lakes for refrigeration schooling. After returning to Neillsville, Gress worked with his father in a wrecking yard. Gress has a son, Scott, who is a Veteran of the Air Force.

Herman Hediger was drafted into the Army in 1956. He served for three years.

Hediger was first stationed at Ft. Ord, CA. He then received training as a radio mechanic at Ft. Benning, GA. Hediger was shipped to Germany for active duty.

After returning to Neillsville, Hediger began working at the cheese factory in Christie, which was the family business. He later drove truck for Christie Milk Transport.

Hediger has eight children. His son, Ernie was a member of the Special Forces.

Ann Svetlik is a veteran of the Navy, serving during WWII. She was stationed at the naval operating base in Key West, FL. As a Storekeeper, 1st Class, her duties included supplying incoming ships with supplies and providing seamen with their pay.

Before enlisting in the Navy, Svetlik received her college education. She taught English at Neillsville High School and was the librarian at the junior high school.

Svetlik has five children.

Robert Lewis is an Army veteran who served during WWII with the 86th Blackhawk Division, which was stationed in France and Germany. Lewis was a member of the mortar crew.

Near the end of WWII, Lewis was transferred to the Philippines.

Lewis was a junior high school science teacher in Antigo. He has two children.

John Ziegler served in the Navy from 1954 to 1958, with tours in Japan, Florida and California. Ziegler was an airplane mechanic.

Jerry Johnson who is originally from Mondovi served in the Army from 1951 to 1953. He had basic training at Ft. Knox, KY.

Johnson was shipped out to Panama with Wilbert Henchen. Johnson did mostly guard duty in Panama.

Upon returning to Neillsville, Johnson worked for 11 years at the Neillsville Condensery. He then traveled to Rothschild to work for Foremost, making whey products.

Johnson has two children and many grandchildren.

Wendell Elmhorst graduated from Neillsville High School in 1949. He attended basic training and joined the National Guard, with further training at the Neillsville Armory.

Elmhorst went to Ft. McCoy for a President’s Day ceremony. There was a parade and a program featuring a speech by the governor. It was so hot people were passing out.

The Neillsville Armory received trucks that were not being used anymore after WWII. Elmhorst served in the National Guard for 18 months. Elmhorst has four children. His grandson, Dana, is a veteran who served in the Iraq War.

Fred Kieser graduated from Abbotsford High School in 1944. Later that year, Kieser joined the Navy. He was stationed at many places in the U. S.

Kieser then boarded a ship bound for the island of Guam. On the ship, Kieser worked in the kitchen, and on Guam, he worked in the motor pool.

After his honorable discharge in 1946, Kieser enlisted in the 32nd Infantry of the Wisconsin National Guard. Later, he served as a unit administrator and as a vehicle mechanic. His last job with the National Guard before retiring at age 60 was administrator CEO. His two sons are both veterans.

Veterans Herman Hediger, Ann Svetlik, John Ziegler, Lowell Gress and Robert Lewis (not pictured) are honored by the Neillsville American Legion, Auxiliary and VFW during a special program held No. 10 at Neillsville Care and Rehabilitation. (Photo by Todd Schmidt/Clark County Press)



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