News: Neillsville - Highground - Abrahamson Moving (May - 2017)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

----Surnames: Abrahamson

----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark, Co) 5/17/2017

Abrahamson, Moving on From The Highground (May - 2017)

With mixed feelings, June Abrahamson, Learning Center coordinator at The Highground, has decided to move on from the job she loves. Her last day on the job will be Memorial Day, Monday May 29. (Todd Schmidt/Clark County Press)

By Todd Schmidt

With Mixed feelings, June Abrahamson, Learning Center coordinator at The Highground, has decided to move on from the job she loves.

She and her husband Shane, who were married in August 2016 in the tree house at The Highground, have decided to sell their home in Fairchild, divvy up most of their possessions and head west in a 34-foot motorhome.

Shane needs a dry and warm climate due to health reasons. Their departure date is June 15.

“This is going to be exhilarating, exciting, and terrifying, all at once,” she said from her Learning Center office, that features a panoramic view of the beautiful area.

They have six children and five grandchildren between them, so leaving the Midwest is not an easy decision. Abrahamson has brothers living in Florida, Arkansas, and Duluth, MN. Her father also lives in Duluth.

Abrahamson, a 1986 graduate of Blair high School, worked in the restaurant business and in numerous other jobs. After receiving certifications as an EMT and certified nursing assistant at WWTC in La Crosse, she worked as a medical-surgical EMT in the emergency room at Black River Falls Memorial Hospital. She also served as a first responder with the Taylor Fire Department. She moved to Neillsville in October 2010.

Fourteen years ago, she lost her son Brandon, 12, due to a traumatic brain injury suffered at home in a fall down the basement steps.

One day, she decided to go for a walk at The Highground for some solace.

“I really didn’t know this place existed,” she said. “I fell in love with this place, and I know I had to become part of it somehow.”

Abrahamson replied to a help wanted ad seeking a part-time worker in The Highground gift shop. After working there two weeks, she began helping with the remodeling of the Learning Center.

“They asked me to oversee the Learning Center,” she said. “I had never done anything like it in my life before. They gave me a six-month trial in the position seven years ago. I had an understanding of the vision for the Learning Center, and I appreciated the chance to move it forward.”

Her son Brandon had a dream of joining the military, just like her dad, uncles, grandfather, and her ex-husband did. Through The Highground, she took the opportunity to connect with her dad about his service in Vietnam (1961-1967). She also found healing due to the loss of her beloved son.

“There are so many things about the whole place and all the people here,” she said. “It has touched my life in ways I cannot explain. I can never repay them.

“Growing up, I never really knew about my dad’s military service. He never shared details with anyone, except his brother. We sat down and I learned about it. We developed a very special connection.”

Abrahamson did a Legacy Stone for them in August 2012.

Her eyes began to tear up as she recalled many milestones during her tenure at The Highground, including the Persian Gulf Tribute, display of three memorial walls, and the Persian Gulf Welcome Home event last summer. The Honor Tree program has blossomed to 22 full trees.

She began building a program at the Learning Center using simple hand-made displays. That has blossomed into hosting many work-renowned exhibits, including the “My War” project. The Highground also developed “Remembering our Fallen” and “Tribute to our Fallen” exhibits that are rented to other venues.

Reunion education gatherings were started about six years ago.

“It is a wonderful tool for our veterans to visit and share,” she said.

Abrahamson is grateful to the hundreds of volunteers at The Highground.

“Without them, there is no way we could do what we do here,” she said.

The Learning Center has also become a public lending library, with over 4,000 books, and audio-visual materials available for checkout.

“I just hope everything continues,” she said. “I hope they will continue to build on what has been established. I am excited to see what a new person brings to the Learning Center program.”

She said The Highground Board of Directors was in the midst of a search for a new volunteer general manage. She said when that person is selected, the hiring of a gift shop manager and Learning Center coordinator would proceed.

Abrahamson said her last day on the job would be Monday, May 29. An open house honoring her time at The Highground will be held after the 3 p.m. Memorial Day program until 6 p.m.

She is still working through the list of what she needs to accomplish. The family will have a huge moving sale at the house in Fairchild June 8-10.

“I have so many happy and wonderful memories that I will carry with me forever,” she said. “I feel so thankful, blessed, and honored that I could be a part of the experiences at The Highground.”

She said she will continue to bae an ambassador for The Highground wherever her travels go. She also intends to continue working on a photo digitizing project of veterans’ photos from her “office” in the motorhome, and promoting the “My War” exhibit.

Stay in touch with Abrahamson at or check out her Facebook page. For more information about The Highground, check out their new website, call 715-743-4224 or email



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