Veterans salute World War II servicemen before annual Laona appreciation golf outingSubmitted: 09/18/2017
Lane Kimble
Lane Kimble
News Director

Veterans salute World War II servicemen before annual Laona appreciation golf outing
LAONA - When you served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, playing golf seems like a walk in the park for Bernie Miller.

"I used to be pretty good, but then I got old," Miller said, with a laugh.

Don't let the 92-year-old fool you: he's hit six holes in one in his life, including one last year.

"It's easier to golf your age because you keep getting older and older all the time," Miller said.

It's that old age and life of service that led to Miller, and buddies Dan Buschatz and Bud Kuhrasch getting recognized before the annual Military Veterans Appreciation golf outing at Nicolet Country Club in Laona on Monday.

"Always respected these three guys, you bet," U.S. Army veteran Chuck Enders said.

Enders founded the outing six years ago when he couldn't get into a similar event in Green Bay. Each year starts the same, with the Laona High School band saluting each branch of the armed forces. But this year, the opening ceremony included an additional salute for the aging trio.

"There aren't many World War II veterans left in our country and for them to still be playing golf, I think, is fantastic," Enders said.

Enders' outing has grown from just 65 golfers in 2012 to around 130 this year. Scores don't matter much. Enders says he throws out the scorecards at the end of the day. But plenty of players hope they can still hack it as well as Miller, Kuhrasch, and Buschatz can at their age. Kuhrasch, a Navy veteran who invaded Normandy on D-Day, says the secret to playing golf well into your 90s is pretty simple.

"Living a good clean life, you know?" Kuhrasch said.

That mindset keeps these three coming back year after year, even if walking 18 holes is no longer an option.

"Good lord willing, yep, if I'm alive, I'll be here, that's for sure," Miller said.

Fundraising and donations help keep veterans' entry fees to a minimum. Enders' event doesn't raise money for any particular group, he says it's simply an excuse to get old friends together.

"All the camaraderie and meeting old friends you don't see too often, so no, you can't hardly beat it," Miller said.

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