THREE LAKES - In less than two weeks, more than 100 veterans from northern Wisconsin will fly to the nation's capitol. The Never Forgotten Honor Flight organization gives veterans the chance to visit their memorials in Washington, D.C. Getting dozens of aging vets onto a flight and around the capitol takes a lot of preparation.
For the vets themselves, the preparation is mostly emotional. Three Lakes veteran Arnold Craig is going along for the journey. It will be his first time in Washington, D.C. in 70 years.
"In some ways I'm looking forward to it and in some ways I'm not...because, I mean, I haven't traveled a lot in the last ten years," says Arnold Craig, World War II Veteran.
At 89 years old, traveling half way across the country takes a lot. But Arnold once traveled much further.
He was drafted at just 18 years old, and served two years during World War II.
"I stayed overseas. I was in with the First Army and then I was in with the Third Army with Patton, that's when I got shot," says Craig.
He lost his left eye in combat. But that didn't stop him from continuing with one of his favorite pastimes...painting.
"I still painted, it's like a computer to me. I got to pick it up and it relaxes me," said Craig.
Arnold still paints every day.
"You got to adjust to what's the best for yourself and just not think about all the bad things and think about all the good things in this world," says Craig.
And Arnold looks forward to another good thing...the Honor Flight.
"I haven't been with a lot of veterans in a long time. And it's going to be quite and experience to see people who were in the same position as I was," says Craig.
The veterans leave April 22nd. They receive thank-you letters on the plane and there's still time for you to write one. You can find out more by visiting the attached link.
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.
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