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.
MERRILL - When you live to be 100, you often often outlive your friends and even family members.
Lenore Ehlert, from Merrill, turned 100 years old on Wednesday.
"Well, actually, it doesn't feel much different, it's just another day," said Ehlert.
While celebrating that milestone, she found herself thinking of her husband who she lost 65 years ago.
Her husband, Merrill Police Captain, Elmer Krueger was shot and killed while on duty in July of 1952.
"July 19th and he died about three days later," said Ehlert.
Records from that time show an officer's death didn't lead to weeks of ceremonies and salutes like it does now.
"After the funeral, everything was just kind of forgotten," said Ehlert.
But decades later, it's not all forgotten. Merrill police officers, members of the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office and other first responders were all at the party to show that they were bonded for life after the tragedy years ago.
"It really is truly, that Lenore is part of our family," said Michael Caylor with the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office.
In addition to law enforcement, Governor Scott Walker, Congressman Sean Duffy and Attorney General Brad Schimel all wrote Lenore letters wishing her a happy birthday.
"It's quite an honor and I know part of it is for my husband and his memory," said Ehlert.
Elmer's memory was seen all throughout Lenore's special day.
"Know that you're part of the law enforcement family. Elmer was a brother, most of us didn't know him, but he's a brother nonetheless," said Lincoln County Sheriff, Jeff Jaeger.
She was surrounded by friends and family helping her celebrate her 100 years.
"If we're all to live as old and to be as loved as yourself, what a wonderful world this is going to be," said Caylor.
When asked for advice on how to live to be 100, Lenore said to keep your mind and body active, and to eat good food.
MADISON - MADISON, Wis. (AP) - " The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's request to provide federal low-interest disaster loans for individuals and businesses affected by flooding.
The SBA will provide loans for up to $200,000 for damaged homes, $40,000 for damaged property, and $2 million to businesses for physical damage and economic loss because of flooding.
MERRILL - A $5 million facility that just opened in Merrill hopes to give people a place to learn more about heavy equipment and technology.
On Friday, Nortrax, a division of John Deere, celebrated the grand opening of a facility. Dozens of community members and officials were at the ribbon cutting.The process to open up the location on South Pine Ridge started a few years ago.
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