Wabeno Rebuilds Icons Destroyed in StormsSubmitted: 05/26/2013
Story By Lyndsey Stemm

WABENO - People always remember the Town of Wabeno once they've been there, even if they were just passing through.

But the two larger-than-life icons that make the name Wabeno stick in people's memories were both destroyed by mother nature within the last year.

Now the town has nearly rebuilt both to all their former glory.

The details of how the gentle giant that watches over Wabeno got there, are foggy. But how he got destroyed is still fresh in everyone's mind. Larry the Logroller was felled by, well, a tree.

"Well it happened on a Thursday, I think. They called and says, 'Hey, I know you can fix anything. Larry got run over by a tree basically'," says Ron Piontek.

So off to Denmark, Wisconsin he went to undergo surgery.

"Larry had a broken neck and broken shoulder," says John Ehlinger, from Wabeno.

"I was kind of sad because I really liked Larry the Logroller," says seven-year-old Zachary Augustin.

Less than a year after the town lost it's even more historic band shell to heavy winds, the loss of Larry was a tough blow.

"It was kind of like after the band shell, what's next? It was like part of Wabeno was missing," says Park Board President Larry Rummel.

But auto body repair shop owner Ron Piontek logged hundreds of hours, and put Larry back together.

"I got 400 or 500 rivets in him to get him back into pieces. And then six gallons of fiberglass resin and three months of work," says Piontek.

The town unveiled Larry, good as new, Saturday.

"I thought he was really big and really cool," says six-year-old Audrey Bauagnet.

"I think it's awesome that they could redo him and everything," says nine-year-old Brianna Augustin.

"It's amazing. Kids love him. And evidently adults do too," says Rummel.

It's a new day in Wabeno. Larry stands sentinel once again and the band shell reconstruction should start back up within the week.

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