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ITʼS AS EASY AS 1 2 3 ! 1. Log onto and click on “Renew Online” 2. Enter your name and member ID number 3. Pay with MasterCard, Visa or Discover Thatʼs it! Youʼre done. You will receive your new membership card in the mail. No more renewal notices. No more stamps. Printed using recycled newsprint

Have a question for someone at The American Legion but not sure who you should contact? Check out the list of staff and their primary responsibilities below: Email

Carol Swanson, Administrative Assistant Sheri Hicks, Programs Coordinator

Duties All things Legion Events, Meetings, etc. Finances, Donations, Grants All things Membership All Americanism Programs except Badger Boys State and WALLECA Friendly voice answering the telephone Address Changes, Last Bugle Submissions WALLECA, Badger Boys State, Fundraising

2930 American Legion Drive, PO Box 388, Portage, WI 53901 Phone: 608-745-1090 Fax: 608-745-0179 Website: Twitter: @WIlegion Instagram: Wisconsinamericanlegion Facebook: @WIAmericanLegion

Camp American Legion: Don Grundy, Camp Director

“For God & Country”

Badger &“Wisconsin”

Official Publications of The Wisconsin American Legion Family

The mission of The American Legion, Department of Wisconsin is to provide service to veterans, their families and their communities.

How to Contact Legion Staff

Department Staff Amber Nikolai, Department Adjutant Angie Chappell, Administrative Manager Dwight Johnson, Business Manager Chris Schmidt, Membership Coordinator Dawn Brauner, Programs Coordinator

April 26, 2018 • Vol. 95, No. 4

All things Camp

8529 Cty Rd D, Lake Tomahawk, WI 54539 Phone: 715-277-2510 Fax: 715-277-3425 Website: Facebook: @Campamericanlegion American Legion Service Office: VA Regional Office 5400 W. National Ave, #164, Milwaukee, WI 53214 Phone: 414-902-5722 • Fax: 414-902-9401

Flashback to a Christmas Letter Veterans are catalysts for positive impacts while serving in the military and, undoubtedly, those influences continue long after our military service has ended. Veterans are imbedded into the fabric of our communities; we use the leadership skills weʼve developed to make our communities better. We may not know the impact we have until many years later. I would like to share a story with you that has impacted more than the two men involved in a chance encounter. I should probably set the stage by providing a bit of background on my military service. I served 10 years in the Marine Corps beginning in 1980, with 8 years on active duty. After a 9 year break, I joined the 32nd Military Police Company of the Wisconsin Army National Guard and served from 1999 until 2004. Our unit was activated in March of 2003, as many units were during Operation Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. At the time I was also serving as a Sergeant with the Ozaukee County Sheriffʼs Office. We left Fort McCoy and traveled to Kuwait, eventually arriving in Baghdad, Iraq to begin our mission to retrain and rebuild the Iraqi Police. Like many units, we received generous packages, cards, and letters from family, friends, schools, and the community. These reminded us of the support from other Americans and gave us a bit of an uplift. During some rough times these reminders from home truly made a difference in improving morale. At Christmas, the volume of packages, cards, and letters increased. I recall receiving a bundle of Christmas letters from the Cedar Grove-Belgium Elementary School.

Since Belgium is within Ozaukee County I thought it was extra nice to receive letters from these fourth graders wishing us a Merry Christmas. Our unit returned to Wisconsin in July of 2004 to return to our families and our lives. After reconnecting with my family, I returned to the Sheriffʼs Office in September 2004 and was discharged from the WI Guard in December of the same year. Flash forward to March 2018, as I was reorganizing my military me-

mentos. I began to reread some of those letters and came across a familiar name, Chris Uselding. I went through all of the letters and checked for other names that I may have known, but this was the only one. The reason Chrisʼs name was familiar was that, as the Sheriff of Ozaukee County, I had hired a Deputy Sheriff with that name in 2015. I did the quick math, calculating that a fourth grader would be around 10 years old - Deputy Uselding is now about 24 years old, and from Belgium. Relying back on my detective skills, (yes

I was a detective) I thought I had a match. This was confirmed by his Captain. Deputy Uselding had written the letter. I thought that was pretty neat that I had received a letter from one of my deputies when he was in the fourth grade, a kid I didnʼt even know. So, since I enjoy a good laugh, rather than confront Uselding outright, I framed the letter, and hung it in the Roll Call Room knowing that Deputy Uselding would see it when he came in to work. When I walked into Roll Call, I asked Deputy Uselding what was up with the letter. He said that apparently he had sent it to the department when he was a kid. I told him that actually he had sent it to a soldier in Baghdad, Iraq and that soldier was me. His jaw dropped and initially he thought I was joking, until I assured him this was true. When I told him that a picture of the letter he sent me was being shared on Facebook the next morning, he expressed some hesitation at that, as he figured his mom would share the picture. Little did he or I realize how much this photo and story would be shared within not only our community, but also nationally through social media, newspapers, radio, and television. Seeing how this chance interaction between us has touched so many, and (continued on page 4)

April 2018 cover  

Serving Veterans, their families and their communities

April 2018 cover  

Serving Veterans, their families and their communities