EAGLE RIVER - "It's the families that have to deal with the cancer. It affects the whole family, a lot more than people really realize," says Richard Lemke, Camp Angel's coordinator.
He knows the impact cancer has on a family: he lost his wife to cancer.
Lemke volunteers for Angel on My Shoulder, a non-profit Lolly Rose founded.
She started it in 1995 in memory of her husband who died of cancer.
The foundation runs free camps for kids between the ages of 8 and 18.
"They're weekend retreats. They're support camps for kids living with people that have cancer, or they've lost a loved one to cancer. That would be a parent, grandparent, or sibling," says Rose.
Lemke's three sons went to the camp.
Like many campers, they came back as counselors. The camps have continued through the generosity of volunteers, like the Strauss family. They own Pirates Hideaway in Eagle River.
It provides family-friendly pirate tours on the Eagle River Chain of Lakes.
After 5 years, it has become a staple in the Camp Angel experience.
"We go out for 45-minutes. We enjoy popcorn and lemonade with the kids. We take a ride. We see the eagles. It's a different perspective out on the water versus your normal camp atmosphere. We do tattoos with the kids, we decorate t-shirts, and they just have a blast," says Pirates Hideaway owner Steve Strauss.
Activities like riding on the pirate ship gives Camp Angel kids the opportunity to be kids again.
"It gives the kids an opportunity to get away from the cancer and enjoy the whole weekend and not have to deal with it," adds Lemke.
So what are some of the campers' favorite memories from this weekend?
"I've met some really great people. They've become my friends," says camper Moria Sheehan.
"Probably just going around. Sailing on a pirate ship. How often do you get to do that?" says camper Tyler Foydik.
The campers may only be kids, but their strength and grace throughout these difficult times inspires. "If anybody else is going through problems with people who have cancer, I highly recommend this camp," Foydik adds.
"I just want to say to all those who have cancer, good luck," says Alissondra Quatsoe.
PARK FALLS - Many families began their Thanksgiving Day with a run this morning. Topping off the holiday with a "trot" around town may not appeal to everyone, but for these families it was a way to spend time with one another.
"Trot now so we can pie later," said Steph Schultz, a runner in the Park Falls Turkey Trot.
Families used the Turkey Trot 5K in Park Falls as a way to bond.
MERRILL - Most people enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner with family. But the Merrill firefighters spend their Thanksgiving at the station with their second family, their coworkers. Community members stepped in to make sure the firefighters still had a special Thanksgiving while they were working.
It might be Thanksgiving, but for the Merrill Fire Department, it's just another day
But it is a day with more turkey, stuffing, and pies.
"We had a couple of community organizations that dropped off meals for us which we're definitely grateful for," said firefighter and paramedic Bryson Cruise.
The job doesn't stop for firefighters and Thanksgiving is no exception.
So Park City Credit Union and Hands of Hope wanted to thank the firefighters for their service with a home cooked Thanksgiving meal.
RHINELANDER - Nineteen months ago, 10 police agencies surrounded the Tripoli home of Kenneth Welsh.
Police say Welsh caused a three-hour standoff, threatened to blow up his house, and threatened to kill his wife.
Later in court, he was convicted of two felonies and sentenced to three years in prison by Oneida County Judge Michael Bloom.
But now, those convictions and prison sentence have been erased. This month, while in prison, Welsh argued he didn't fully understand all the elements of one of the crimes to which he pleaded no contest, first-degree recklessly endangering safety. Welsh's motion put some of the blame on his defense attorney, Rod Streicher.
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