MONICO - Vacation homes should be an escape from reality; a place to be stress free.
But a family with one near Rhinelander got a strong dose of both stress and reality this week.
"The Sheriff's Department said the house had been burglarized and extensively damaged," says Brian Wierzbicki.
Brian and his wife Lynn have shared this vacation home on Venus Lake with their family since the 1970's. When they came to see the damage from a burglary this week, they found a lot more devastation than broken glass.
"Virtually every single room was destroyed. There isn't anything that isn't damaged," says Wierzbicki.
"Through that door there, they came through the screen porch and kicked that door open, or smashed it with some heavy object. Once inside they used the axes on the ceilings, the walls, all of the paintings, the prints, the front of the stove and the microwave. They used the axes on all of the cupboard doors and the counter top."
That wasn't all. The vandals chopped up the furniture, tore light fixtures from the ceiling, smashed the TVs, and shattered doors, and windows.
"My wife is an oil paint artist. They tore all of the art in the house, just like this one," says Wierzbicki while holding one of his wife's paintings that's now torn to shreds.
The Wierzbicki's don't even know where to start with the cleanup. But Brian did all the original remodeling, and guess there's at least $50,000 worth of damage.
"We're thinking the entire house has to be gutted. Floor, walls, ceiling in every room have to be removed and redone," says Wierzbicki.
It's a devastating loss of family history and memories. And the Wierzbicki's think these vandals might have serious issues.
"Our friends and others that came through said it was like an axe murder did this. That it was the mentality of an axe murderer," says Wierzbicki.
The Oneida County Sheriff's Department is still investigating the break-in. We'll keep you updated as details become available.
MERRILL - For 32 years Battalion Chief Mike Drury walked into the Merrill Fire Department ready to save lives. Friday he walked out of the department for the last time to start the new phase of his life. "It goes fast it goes really fast," said Drury. Drury was about 18 -years -old when he walked into the Merrill Fire Department for the first time. "When you're 18, 19,20 years old and you're looking at 50 something years old you think you're never going to get there," said Drury.
Drury is one of 184 firefighters to ever work full time with the city of Merrill. "As a firefighter they spend a lot of time at the fire house so they miss a lot of things," said Drury's daughter Cassi. After 32 years of missing birthdays, holidays and family time Drury was ready for a change. "I realized I had enough this is a young man's job," said Drury. Friday afternoon Drury said goodbye to a room of men who merged and became family. "Not having that is a little scary I know they'll always be our family but it's hard to leave," said Cassi. Cassi watched her dad rush off to help his community since the day she was born. "It's scary because you hear about the times things don't go right or the times fire fighters don't come home," said Cassi.
RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander couple thought they were empty nesters. However, an experience volunteering made them open their doors back up to kids who need a temporary home. The Zoerb's adult children moved out years ago. But at any moment they could get a call from social services that make them bring out their parenting skills for another round. Rick and Danielle Zoerb work together as realtors putting people in homes that are the perfect fit. However, the husband and wife know their home can be a good fit for others too. "There's no reason for kids to have to fall through the cracks," said Dani. Rick met a child at a mentorship program a few years ago. It was a meeting that opened a new door for him and his wife. "There was no hesitation on our part when we felt the situation was deteriorating for this young boy," said Rick.
Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed and should be independently verified. Rockfleet Broadcasting / Northland Television, Inc. and By Request Web Designs shall not be held responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, or misprints.