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Rhinelander graduate makes impact on veterans transitioning to college life at UWSPSubmitted: 12/14/2015
Story By Nolan Blair


STEVENS POINT - A Rhinelander high school graduate credits a conversation with ultimately convincing him to help veterans when they come home from the service.

David Chrisinger was up late one night in 2010 when he decided to reconnect with Brett Foley, who had come home from Afghanistan. Foley opened up about his struggles. That conversation led Chrisinger to start a website and organize fundraisers designed to help veterans. He also began writing a blog called Stronger at the Broken Places.


"[The blog's title] comes from a Hemingway quote: 'The world breaks everyone, and some are stronger at the broken places,' so that was the whole focus of the class," Chrisinger said. 

That class is called Back from the Front. Chrisinger is in his second year of teaching veterans at UW- Stevens Point. He helps them transition from the military to society and into college life.

"The important thing is validating those experiences and listening and giving them an outlet to vent if they need to, to build relationships, to create friendships," he said.

Tyler Pozolinski and Chase Vuchetic are two students who have grown during their time in the class. When Pozolinski came to school at UWSP after his time in the service, he wouldn't tell people that he was a 23-year-old freshman. Now he's proud to say he's a veteran.

"I have no problem telling people, 'This is who I am; this is what I've done," said Pozolinski.

Vuchetic was hesitant to open up to other veterans on campus. Now, thanks to Back from the Front, that isn't the case anymore.

"You kind of start talking," Vuchetic said. "'Hey, you want to go have a beer after class?' 'Yeah, sure,'—and then, before you know it, you've got a really good group of guys and we hang out all the time now."

Pozolinski and Vuchetic will be published in Chrisinger's new book, titled See Me for Who I Am. The book collects 20 essays written by soldiers. The essays detail their experiences both on and off the battlefield. Pozolinki tells the readers about the lessons he learned from a recurring nightmare.

"After a while the dream started to go away, and I started to figure out what the dream meant was that nobody could help me fight my battles or beat my demons but myself," he said.
 
Vuchetic's essay is about how his parents and high school coaches prepared him for the Marines.

"[I] remember going to Marine Corps boot camp being like 'That was a breeze compared to football practice," he said

The book will be out in February. You can read more about the book and preorder a copy by visiting the links below.




Related Weblinks:
"See Me for Who I Am" on Amazon
Publisher's website
Stronger at the Broken Places

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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 04/26/2017

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

We'll take you live to the Vilas County Courthouse for day 3 of the trial for 36-year-old Rodney Teets who is accused of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old woman at knife point in July 2015.

The Northern Wisconsin Initiative to Stop Homelessness wants to work with landlords to help people get back on their feet. We talk to the housing program team leader about a meeting coming up in Rhinelander that will allow landlords to share information that can help the homeless find places to rent.

And we talk with The Forest County Health Department director about a program that is encouraging people to limit their time with TV, computers, iPhones and other types of screens for a week.

We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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RHINELANDER - A wild animal held up traffic on Highway 17 back in December. 

A two - year- old bear was approaching cars just south of Rhinelander.

The bear has been at Wild Instincts in Rhinelander since December 23.

But Rehab Director Mark Naniot found out last week the DNR will release the bear back into the wild.

"The DNR said that they would take the risk to go ahead and do the release and that's what we do here is release animals," said Naniot. 

"Of course it's a bigger dangerous animal and we didn't want to have the liability on us to say that we were the ones that made that decision."

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WISCONSIN - Turkey season began last week and hunters have a new option for what they can do with the turkeys they shoot.

The DNR started a turkey donating program this year.

You can donate turkey's to three processors in the southern half of the state.

"A little bit further south of here in areas where there's usually a lot of deer donations and a lot of turkey shot so that we can try and get some good participation for the first year," said DNR's Wildlife Biologist, Jeremy Holtz.

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RHINELANDER - Rent can eat up more than half of a person's income when they earn minimum wage. That can lead to missed rent payments and even homelessness.

The Northern Wisconsin Initiative to Stop Homelessness, or N*WISH, wants to work the landlords to keep people housed.

"This is a new initiative, I guess, to try to build landlord relationships and awareness of homelessness and people in need," said Housing Program team leader Lori Hallas.

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RHINELANDER - People with developmental disorders can hear plenty of negatives when it comes to succeeding in school. That's why a Northwoods school offers a program to help these students prove the doubters wrong.

Nicolet College offers Jump! Start, which helps people with special needs go to college and prepare for the workforce.

College student Ashley Mathy has Pervasive Developmental Disorder, a condition listed on the autism spectrum.

As a high school senior, she was told she would never make it to college because she would fail.

"You're going to have failures. You're going to have people tell you that you can't do things all the time whether you have a disability or you don't have one. And you just have to prove them wrong because if you don't, then you'll just let failure take you away," said Mathy.

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TOMAHAWK - Unless you find yourself in trouble, you don't usually sit down and talk with a cop. 

The Tomahawk Police Department held its monthly Coffee with a Cop meeting Wednesday morning.

It gives people the chance to pull up a chair and talk to Chief Al Elvins about their questions or concerns.

Those concerns change with the season. 

Warmer weather means kids will be out of school soon and there'll be more foot traffic.
 
And don't forget about those motorcycles. 

"Watch out for the motorcycles. So often they hit a blind spot on us and you don't see them. If you are driving a bike, be aware of your surroundings. Remember that four wheels don't always see your two wheels," said Chief Elvins. 

The city's drug takeback will be open all day on Saturday. The department does it twice a year.

You can bring in any over the counter or prescription drugs to the station's drop-off box.


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RHINELANDER - The Rhinelander Area Food Pantry hopes you'll sample some of the area's best salads and win some prizes on Saturday.

The pantry is hosting the Garden Fresh Salad Bowl event at Holiday Acres. It's a fundraiser for the pantry, and several local restaurants are participating.

"It should be a very nice event. It's a beautiful setting," said Rhinelander Area Food Pantry Executive Director Guy Hansen. "We've got 12 different restaurants that have contributed salads toward this."

About half of the crowd will win handcrafted door prizes from the Northwoods Turners. The event runs from 11 to 1. Tickets are available at the food pantry, CT's Deli, Forth Floral, and People's State Bank.

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