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.
On this Memoria Day, we take you on the Honor Flight to Washington D.C. with a Vietnam veteran from Arbor Vitae.
A Tripoli resident found a plaque in his home that turned out to be for a veteran of World War I and World War II. We'll show you what the American Legion in Tomahawk did with the plaque to honor the veteran.
And a three thousand acre wildlife area about 10 miles west of Rhinelander is managed by the DNR, but now it's getting help to care for the land from a local sportsmen group. We'll show you how the Wisconsin River Chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society is helping to preserve the area.
We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Nearly 60,000 names line the walls of the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C.
According to the U.S. Department of Defense, more than eight million men and women served in the Vietnam-Era conflicts in the 1960s and early 1970s. More than seven million veterans who served in the Vietnam War are alive today.
Last week more than 80 Vietnam-era veterans from north-central Wisconsin boarded the 28th Never Forgotten Honor Flight.
To them, those 60,000 names are personal.
"I've lost some good friends," said Gerald Streeter, a Vietnam veteran from Arbor Vitae. "Great people."
Streeter served in the Marine Corps in the early 1960s, before the Vietnam conflict began to ramp up. Streeter was also sent to Panama after the Bay of Pigs Invasion and then was sent to a Pacific island for nuclear tests. He recalls hearing of two people who died in helicopter crashes.
"We thought that was terrible that two people were already killed because of Vietnam," Streeter said. "And a short time later another one went missing. One was my drill instructor in boot camp."
Sometimes it can be hard for veterans to find the name of their fallen friends on the wall.
"You called them by last name or the rank and last name, but you never used first names," Streeter said. "So trying to locate on this wall the ones that I was aquainted with I can't find. I've tried several times with the books and manuals they have, the directories. Just unable to find them."
Streeter says his experiences don't measure up to what his younger brother endured. John Streeter, who was also on the Flight, joined the Marine Corps and went to Vietnam in 1965, according to his brother.
"He saw the worst, did the worst," Streeter said. "He was a door gunner on medivac helicopters. He's my hero."
If you want more information about the Never Forgotten Honor Flight, the link to its website is at the bottom of this page.
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