TOMAHAWK - We all want to honor fallen firefighters.
But it takes money to maintain memorials.
So a Northwoods chapter of the Red Knights Firefighters Motorcycle Club hit the road to benefit the Wisconsin State Firefighters Memorial.
Red Knights Road Captain Reverend Norman Peterson says,"This year we decided to move to this date for warmer weather so it's 48 degrees right now."
The weather may not have been what they hoped for, but nothing could stop these firefighters from completing their mission: a mission to raise money and honor a local fallen firefighter.
"We're hosting a ride to benefit the Wisconsin State Firefighters Memorial in Wisconsin Rapids…It's important to raise money for the memorial to keep awareness of those who have given the ultimate sacrifice," says Red Knights Chapter 5 President Monty Timm.
Over the last 4 years, Red Knights Chapter 5 has raised more than 5,000 dollars.
"The ride is a registered ride. Riders pay a fee to go on the ride, plus we've gotten donations from a couple area fire departments and from the United Steel Workers local 215 in Rhinelander," explains Timm.
The memorial ride isn't just a fundraiser for the Wisconsin State Firefighter's memorial. It also gives these firefighters the opportunity to honor a fallen fireman.
"This year we are honoring Jamison Kampmeyer. He is from the Colby Fire Department. He died in a fire a year ago," Peterson says.
"He was just a good, all-around person. He was a police officer, a firefighter, an EMT, a father. He was really kind of a great human being all around and somebody that you could look up to," says Zach Cira, a Colby EMT.
He worked with Jamison Kampmeyer.
Cira wanted to honor his friend's memory so he made the trek from Colby to Tomahawk to join the memorial ride.
Even those who never knew Kampmeyer feel a special connection.
After all, it's a brotherhood. "As Firefighters, men and women, we become a brotherhood…when one of us sacrifices their all for responding to a call, we need to honor them," says Peterson.
And honor fallen firemen they did when they stopped at the Colby Fire Station before ending their journey in Wisconsin Rapids.
LAC DU FLAMBEAU - Ruby's pantry opened their doors Tuesday in Lac du Flambeau. This is the first time the Ruby's pantry has set up shop there. They decided to come to Lac du Flambeau because of the good turnout in Rhinelander. The food pantry asks that people give a $20 donation.
“It's not your typical food pantry,” says Gloria Cobb, Ruby's Pantry Lac du Flambeau Lead Coordinator. “This is an opportunity to give people dignity, to serve with dignity, and it's a donation base.”
“I mean look at the hustle and bustle going on we've got the community coming together not only Lac du Flambeau but the surrounding community coming together to meet a very basic need and that's to help with hunger,” says Cobb.
The pantry offered items like strawberries, cake mix, and toilet paper. More than 400 people were expected to show up.
“A participant will go through the line with a laundry basket and or box and they will be offered items,” says Cobb. “They can refuse them however we will encourage them to take the item because somebody else that they may know may have a need.”
“They get a certain amount of each item and they go through the line like an assembly line,” says Cobb.
The pantry had more than 21,000 pounds of food to give away.
RHINELANDER - The Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce group held a seminar at Nicolet College in Rhinelander Tuesday, to plan how to make Wisconsin more attractive to skilled workers and manufacturing businesses.
WMC's president believes the shortage in younger people in the industry has to do with two big misconceptions about manufacturing.
"The younger kids, as do their parents, have a perception on what manufacturing looks like and it's about 40 years out of date. If you're in an advanced manufacturing facility now, it's clean, it's high-tech, the engineers and technicians are working together," said Jim Morgan."We have a perception problem. I think we still have a definition of success that's says unless you have a four-year degree, you're not successful."
Morgan says groups like WMC work to change that perception. He believes workers with a two-year degree are just as successful in the industry.
So far, WMC held seminars at nine other technical colleges. For Rhinelander, more manufacturers could mean more economic independence.
"The Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce is looking to see how it can help and partner with local manufacturers to make the Rhinelander area a more favorable place for them to locate their businesses, as well as to attract and retain skilled workers to make those businesses successful," said Dana DeMet, Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce director.
Over the next six months, WMC will continue to look for ways to attract more workers and businesses to the state.
In December, it hopes to have 1000 representatives for a meeting in Milwaukee focusing on how manufacturing will benefit the state.
WMC also works with the University of Wisconsin system and the Wisconsin Technical Colleges.
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