News: Neillsville - Filas Brothers Honored (Legacy Ceremony - 2015)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: Filas, Wojtowicz, Mason, Dranginis, Sutton, Daniel, Stiltner,

----Source: The Thorp Courier (Thorp, Clark Co., WI) 11/11/2015

Filas Brothers Honored At The Highground (Legacy Ceremony - 2015)

On October 3, 2015, a Legacy Stone was dedicated in a ceremony at The Highground Veterans Memorial Park near Neillsville, WI. This honor ceremony was attended by family of all ages for three brothers from Taylor County, who served in WWII. These men were the sons of Polish immigrants, Roman Filas and Michalina (Wojtowicz) Filas.

Roman and Michalina came to the United States first to Chicago and finally settled in Lublin, Wisconsin. They established their farm, raised a family, and became American citizens. They had fourteen children, twelve of whom lived to adulthood. When WWII threatened their new homeland, the three oldest brothers answered the call and entered the U.S. Army.

Ted P. Filas entered the Army at Ft. Snelling, MN February 27, 1939. He moved on to Ft. Bragg and then Camp Croft in South Carolina as a drill Sergeant in 1940. This is where he met and married a local girl, Margaret Genit Mason. Then as part of the 38th Infantry, he was sent overseas to take part in the Normandy Invasion on D-day. He was part of the second wave on June 6, 1944 on Omaha Beach. From the beach, they crossed farmlands to the battle for the Village of St. Lo and on through Holland, Belgium and Germany.

His youngest brother recalls that soldiers came to the farm and informed his mother that Ted was missing and she cried for three days. His nephew, Raymond, the son of Ted’s oldest sister, Bernice Dranginis, remembers that a German woman had found Ted, who was suffering from shellshock, and returned him to the safety of the American forces. He stated that his mother, Bernice, corresponded with and sent packages of clothing to the woman. They were very grateful for what she had done for Ted. Afterwards, he spent two weeks in a hospital in England. Ted was discharged in October 1945.

Leon R. Filas, who was employed as a die setter while living with his sister, Ann Sutton in Chicago, was inducted at Ft. Sheridan, IL in 1943. He went overseas in June of 1945 as part of the 192nd Ordnance to serve in the Asiatic-Pacific-Theater, specifically New Caledonia in the Philippines as a Sergeant.

Leon used his carpentry skills building barracks, storage, and shipping boxes for the ordnance. He was discharged in December of 1945. In July of 1946 he married his sweetheart, Mary Daniel.

Bruno Filas was inducted in October of 1944, also at Ft. Sheridan in Illinois. He was a Private 1st Class with Company B of the 9th Infantry Regiment. A machine gunner on a halftrack, he participated in battle campaigns in Rhineland, central Europe and Germany. After victory was declared in Europe, Bruno went through the Panama Canal to California. Upon arriving in California, he was sent into the Pacific Theatre. He received medals for Army of the Occupation and European Africa Middle Eastern Service medals. He was discharged July of 1946. June of 1950, Bruno married Hazel Stiltner in Chicago.

When Ted was interviewed by a Spartanburg newspaper in 2004 about his military service, he was quoted as saying, “If my life ended this morning, it was worth it all,” -a sentiment that was shared by his brothers. These three brothers, the sons of immigrants who became American citizens, are truly members of the greatest generation.

The Highground is proud to welcome these brave soldiers “home” to the Veterans Park.

The Highground Veterans Park is a 155-acre manned veteran’s memorial park that pays tribute to the dead, and honors the survivors, their service, and their sacrifices. The Highground fulfills its mission of healing and education n by brining past lessons into our hopes for the future.

“We seek to have The Highground continue to be a focus of healing for all who come, regardless of the name of the battle, which left the scars,” said one member of The Highground.

The park includes tributes to veterans of WWI, WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, as well as a National Native American Vietnam Memorial, a Meditation Garden, a handicap-accessible tree house, an exact replica of the Liberty Bell, Effigy Mound, a Learning Center (with a library) and four miles of hiking trails. Under construction is the Wisconsin Persian Gulf Tribute to honor our newest veterans! A tribute dedication is being planned for July 2016.

Located three miles west of Neillsville on U.S. Hwy 10, the park is lighted and open to visitors year round 24 hours a day.

“More than for all veterans, more than for those who did not come back, The Highground is a place for all of us,” A representative from The Highground added.

Incorporated in 1984 as the Wisconsin Vietnam Veterans Memorial Project, Inc., this grass roots effort continues only because of the dedication of countless individuals, families, organizations, and businesses that have given of their time, talents, and financial resources. Volunteers and contributors are the heart of The Highground. The Highground is a place for all of us.

Stone Placement Ceremonies are scheduled each month April through October. Applications are being accepted now for the 2016 dedication dates. Contact The Highground at 715-743-4224 or email for more information. Visit the website at and “Like” us on Facebook.



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