Loading
Search
NEWS STORIES

Sawmill Brewing Company names new beer after fallen soldier Submitted: 03/06/2018
Dakota Sherek
Dakota Sherek
Senior Reporter / Anchor
dsherek@wjfw.com

Sawmill Brewing Company names new beer after fallen soldier
MERRILL - 12 years ago Sergeant Ryan Jopek lost his life while deployed in Iraq. The Merrill community continues to remember its fallen solider, and on Tuesday night people remembered him in a new way at the Sawmill Brewery Company.

The brewery's newest beer is about far more than adding a new flavor.

"We are releasing a very special beer tonight named Walter Amber Ale after a good friend of mine, Ryan Jopek," said Chris Burger.


Jopek died in 2006, while serving his last mission in Iraq.

"He was one of the most genuine, kind, approachable people I can remember," said Jopek. 
 
Burger served alongside Jopek. He is now a brewer at Sawmill, and wanted to name a beer after his fallen friend. At first, Burger wasn't sure what Jopek's family would think about the idea.

"My first thought when I heard that they wanted to name a beer for Ryan, I just thought of him smiling and chuckling," said Tracy Jopek, Ryan Jopek's mother. I'm sure he is getting quite the kick out of it." 

"I just think it's a really awesome thing that they're doing," said Brian Jopek, Ryan Jopek's father. 

The name "Walter" in the Walter Amber Ale pays homage to Ryan's truck, which is named after Hall of Fame football player Walter Payton.

"People that know Ryan would then know what it's about instead of making it obvious," said Burger.

Those who knew Ryan knew the truck was an important part of his life.

"When he got home on leave the first place he went to get in his garage to get in his truck and drive his truck. It was everything," said Tracy.

"It is his truck, and always will be," said Brian.

The community's continued support of Ryan Jopek's memory means the world to his family.

"I mean, I don't think I could survive this journey without the support of the community behind me," said Tracy. 

"It is a thrill to know there are people out there who haven't forgotten," said Brian. "Everybody has their own way of remembering, and this is just another way of doing that." 

Not only does Burger hope the beer will serve as a way for people to remember Jopek, but also to remind people to continue supporting one another.

"The whole community came together to make this a reality for a fallen solider which is amazing," said Burger. "And that's kind of what we're hoping the beer can kind of stand for too is you know what the community can do when we all come together."



Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com





 IN OTHER NEWS

Play Video

WAUSAU - Gov.-elect Tony Evers feels lawmakers could have passed the lame duck session bills with more transparency. He's upset they were passed without much discussion and late at night.

Evers said his interactive session in Wausau on Wednesday was the opposite.

More than 125 people shared their ideas during his "Building the People's Budget" tour.

"The contrast between what's going to happen today and what happened a week or so ago in the State Capitol is going to be striking for you," Evers said.

Evers expects to propose more spending on schools when his budget comes out next year.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - He runs a warehouse instead of a "workshop", drives a truck instead of a sleigh, but the jolly and bearded Jeff Dillenberg still felt a little bit like Santa Claus on Wednesday afternoon, helping deliver some early holiday gifts to well-deserving girls and boys.

"This week was a busy one," Dillenberg said.

The Rhinelander Slumberland warehouse manager got ready to ship out dozens of twin and full-size beds. They're destined for families whose children sleep on the floor or a couch.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - The sounds of Christmas echoed through the halls of the Oneida County Courthouse Wednesday.

"It was a bit nerve racking," said seventh grader Kyleah Hartman.

Hartman is part of the James Williams Middle School audition group called Show Stars.

She says they've been preparing for this gig since the beginning of October.

"We've been practicing every Monday after school," said Hartman.

County Clerk Tracy Hartman invited the group to the courthouse for the first time.

+ Read More

Play Video

TOMAHAWK - Some police officers deal with drugs on a daily basis.

A new report shows that the drug Fentanyl is on the rise now, and it's the number one cause of drug overdoses.

This drug not only puts the abuser's life on the line but the officers' lives too.

Tomahawk police officer Matt Gorell said the drug is extremely dangerous.

If officers come into contact with it by breathing it in or even touching it, they could die in a short period of time.

Gorell said when they respond to overdosing calls or drug stops they carry Naloxone, a drug used to counter opiate drugs and heroin overdoses.

"We have to take [fentanyl] very seriously. Fentanyl is so potent an amount the size a pinhead is enough to kill [an average person]," said Gorell.

He said fentanyl can often times be found mixed with heroin and the survival rate of the user is very low without a counter drug like Naloxone.

Overdose drug deaths hit a record high last year killing more than 70,000 people.

+ Read More

Play Video

WOODRUFF - We know how to handle the ice and snow here in the Northwoods, but it doesn't hurt to get a reminder on ice safety as that ice starts to firm up.

DNR Warden Supervisor David Walz says no one should go onto the ice with the assumption the ice is one hundred percent safe.

There are different types of ice and it can change day to day. Sometimes it changes hour to hour.

"We do encourage people to check with some different places like bait shops," said Walz. "Do some precautions like carrying a spud bar or obviously drill some holes on your way out."

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Around 9:30 Wednesday morning police and fire crews responded to a semi versus car accident.

The crash happened on Highway 47 near Birch Lane in Rhinelander, just across the street from the Shell gas station.

The driver of the car was taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries after pulling out in-front of the semi.

The truck driver was unharmed.
Oneida County Sheriff's Department says a citation is possible.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Lori Edwards admitted on Tuesday she thought getting a maximum 40-year prison sentence for Ellen Tran was unlikely.

A jury convicted Tran in the Oneida Co. homicide of Lori's young son Avery.

But in an interview Tuesday after the sentencing, Edwards said she was shocked Tran was only given 15 years in prison by Judge Patrick O'Melia. Tran will serve seven years on extended supervision after the time in prison.

"To get the 15 and seven was a shock," Edwards said. "That was a lot less than what I expected or what I think she deserved."

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 





Click Here