News: Neillsville – Am. Legion Honors Kurasz & Elmhorst (Jan 2018)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

----Surnames: Kurasz, Elmhorst, Hauge

----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark, Co) 1/03/2018

American Legion to Honor Kurasz and Elmhorst (Military Service – January 2018)

By Valerie Brecht and Todd Schmidt

Neillsville American Legion Post 73 will be honoring Lee Kurasz and Victor Elmhorst for their military service Monday, Jan. 8. A steak feed dinner will be held at 5:00 p.m., with dessert and coffee served. The honoree program will begin at 6:15 p.m. Members of the community are encouraged to attend.

Victor Elmhorst served in the U. S. Army beginning in May 1964. He was honorably discharged in May 1966. He will be recognized for his military service during a program Monday, Jan. 8, at Neillsville American Legion Post 73. (Contributed photos)

Victor “Vic” Elmhorst was born in Neillsville, and attended Romadka School for eight years. He graduated from Granton High School in 1960. He worked with his father logging and cutting pulp until being drafted in May 1964.

Elmhorst went to Ft. Leonard Wood, MO, for basic training, where he went to cook school. He then joined the 82nd Airborne, and went to Ft. Benning, GA, for Jump School. He was transferred to Ft. Bragg, NC, home of the airborne combat unit. He worked as a cook for the rest of his term.

He spent seven months in the Dominican Republic, where the U. S. was involved in settling a conflict. He was honorably discharged in May 1966.

Elmhorst then returned to the Granton area, and continued working with his dad, until he purchased his father-in-law’s dairy farm in 1979. He sold the farm to his sons in 2014, but he continues to help with feeding the baby calves and running errands.

Elmhorst married Sarah in July 1969. They have four sons: Rodney, Brian, Jeff, and Mark. They have 11 grandchildren.

For 20 years, Elmhorst was involved in beekeeping. In the last 15 years, he has been busy with maple syrup production. He enjoys deer hunting in South Dakota, hunting at the dame ranch for the last 37 years.

Lee Kurasz joined the U. S. Army in September 1959. He served in active duty off and on until being honorably discharged in August 1967. He also served with the Supply and Service, and National Guard. He will be recognized for his military service during a program Monday, Jan. 8, at Neillsville American Legion Post 73. (Contributed photos)

Lee Kurasz was born in Neillsville. He attended Uncle Sam Grade School for eight years, and graduated from Neillsville High School in 1960.

In September 1959, Kurasz enlisted in Co. E 1st BG 128th Infantry 32nd Div. in Neillsville. He was age 17 and his parents had to sign for him.

In June 1960, Kurasz reported to Ft. Leonard Wood, MO, for basic training, and qualified for sharp-shooter with the MI rifle. In October of the same year, he was transferred to Ft. Ord, CA, for advanced infantry and qualified as an expert with the 106 Recoilless Rifle.

In December 1960, he returned to the 32nd Division in Neillsville. He helped his older brother on the farm, and, worked at the Loyal Canning Factory, and on bridge construction.

In September 1961, the 32nd Division was notified that their unit would be activated, and sent to Ft. Lewis, WA, for the Berlin Crisis. In October, the 32nd Division had to pack all its personal, and company equipment, including all the vehicles, to be shipped by train to Ft. Lewis.

On arrival, Kurasz stated, “We were billeted in the old part of the fort that had buildings from World War II, or even World War I, and they had coal heat, and the cookstoves were coal burning. Everyone called it ‘Smokey Hollow’ as the smoke would drift over us, and we would be covered with soot.”

Kurasz’s division later moved into newer barracks.

The 32nd Division’s training included Jungle Warfare, and Jungle Survival Tactics, at sites in the Yakima Flats, Olympic National Forest, and Rainier National Rainforest. In September 1962, the 32nd Division was deactivated and returned to Neillsville.

Kurasz went back to help on the farm. He also worked at Northern Auto Supply. In 1964, Kurasz transferred to Standby Reserve, then to Active Duty, and six months later back to Standby. He was discharged in August 1967.

Kurasz worked at the Gambles Store, and later did carpentry work for Jim Hauge. Eventually, they started their own business.

In February 1972, Kurasz joined the 106th Supply and Service. In March 1976, the unit changed to the 32nd Eng. Co. 1 of Onalaska. In 1986, the 32nd Division went to Germany for two weeks of training.

In December 1997, Kurasz was discharged as an E8 from the Wisconsin National Guard. He volunteered for 15 years in the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. In 1993, he started work at Westwood Kitchens, retiring in 2001.

Kurasz married Joan in 1963.

“My wife was very understanding to put up with my military career,” he said.

They have a daughter, Lynette. They have four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Kurasz enjoys building things with wood. He and his wife enjoy traveling, camping, fishing, playing cards, and spending time with family.

“We thank the good Lord for helping us through the hard times, but also for giving us good times and memories.” he said.

Kurasz is a lifetime member of Neillsville American Legion Post 73.



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