Gleason Army veteran gets recognized as a local heroSubmitted: 01/05/2018
Story By Phylicia Ashley

Gleason Army veteran gets recognized as a local hero
GLEASON - An award given early December recognized a man who doesn't want much attention. However, a Merrill company felt Chris Saady deserved thanks for his service. The program honors local heroes in a warm way.
The Bryant Community Heroes Program recognizes ordinary people doing extraordinary things in their community. 

Army Veteran Chris Saady can look at his brand new furnace and know it's there because of him, whether he believes it or not.
"Mainly shock, taken back I really don't look at myself as a hero," said Saady.
The Purple Heart he received in 2003 says otherwise. Chris served in the Army for about three years and did a tour in Iraq. He was injured in an explosion. 

"We don't all want recognition," said Saady.
Merrill Sheet Metal chose Chris as the Bryant Community Heroes recipient.
"We have to weigh all the great nominations and select one," said Merrill Sheet Metal Marketing manager Bill Schug. 

The award gave Chris and his wife something they've needed for about a year.
"For the first time in this house we have a reliable furnace," said Chris' wife Veronica.
"It's nice to know people do care about the veterans and the sacrifices that they made," said Saady.
Chris usually keeps his emotions in check, but when he got the call about the award a few days before Christmas he couldn't hold back. 

"He seemed really happy and I can see the relief too," said Veronica.
The Saady's still deal with wounds from Chris' service, but knowing they'll stay warm during the winter gives them one less thing to worry about.
"I've seen a little bit more peace and with what he's been through that's a hard thing to grasp," said Veronica.
The Merrill Sheet Metal team set up the furnace and will stop by the Saady's home whenever it needs to get checked all for free.

"I'm just happy that we can help these people out and be part of their lives for this small moment in time. As long as they're comfortable, warm and happy that's our goal," said Merrill Sheet Metal President Kurt Wendt.
Two other people were nominated as a local hero. Chris and his wife said this new furnace allows them to leave home and not worry about walking into a freezing house. 

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According to a Facebook post from Minocqua Sandwich Company, on March 26, Minocqua Sandwich Company received an anonymous donation for $100 to buy sandwiches for the heroes at the Howard Young Hospital emergency room. 

Bad Bones BBQ also received a donation to provide $100 worth of BBQ to the Marshfield Clinic.

According to a Facebook post from Minocqua Sandwich Company, "Per Mar Security over on Highway 70, donated $200 to be used to buy sandwiches for people on the front lines. After that money was raised, folks within the Per Mar Security world, their friends, and family, raised another $400 amongst themselves to keep this idea going."

Minocqua Sandwich Company decided to give $100 worth of sandwiches or burritos a day to whomever is working during the COVID-19 pandemic until money runs out.

Owner Minocqua Sandwich Company Kirk Bangstad says he loves the generosity of the community.

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RHINELANDER - Employees with AirPro Fan and Blower Co. in Rhinelander showed their neighborly spirit Saturday morning.

"We just felt there was such a need for right now," said Administrative assistant Lori Miller.

The company purchased food items to fill 500 bags from Trig's grocery and gave them away to community members in need from 10 a.m. until noon.

Airpro Fan and Blower Co. President Keith White said this gesture is simple and helps those with short term needs.

"We wanted to do something simply favorable and love our neighbors," said White

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RHINELANDER - Movie theaters across the country are shut down right now. At Rouman Cinema in Rhinelander, staff are still finding a way to put smiles on customers' faces.

Late Friday night, owner George Rouman decided to host a spontaneous curb-side popcorn sale. From 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, cars lined up to purchase a jumbo bag of movie theater popcorn and a candy of their choice for just $5.

"We're clearly very careful about how we're accepting the money," said Rouman. "People are very satisfied and they've been waiting for quite a long time, many of them."

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WAUSAU - Michelle Neathery thought soap would be a retirement hobby.

Now it's her full-time job.

"I started to decide making this more of a business, coming back, selling to the public," Neathery said.

Neathery started making scented soaps on the side in 2003 while working other full-time jobs.

But after the United Health Group eliminated her department a few weeks ago, Neathery began devoting even more time to Little Bull Falls Soap Works.

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THREE LAKES - While schools across the state are closed down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, faculty and staff at the Three Lakes School District work hard to keep the student-body well-fed.

"We feed kids here," said Food Service Director Tina Halverson. "That's what I've done for 20 years. Now we're just doing it a little differently."

Staff deliver breakfasts and lunches to students around the district by bus.

"We have runners, we have packers, we have assemblers, we have extra helpers," said Halverson. "We have it down to a really good system right now."

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RHINELANDER - The owner of a Rhinelander t-shirt shop is reminding people to support local businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.

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WAUSAU - It is difficult to predict how hard the coronavirus will hit Northern Wisconsin.

During a Friday press conference at Aspirus Wausau, Dr. Renee Smith said every hospital in the Aspirus system has facilities to manage coronavirus patients. In Wausau specifically, the health system recently created a specialized COVID-19 intensive care unit with negative pressure rooms to regulate air flow.

"We have capabilities throughout," said Smith. "So each of the facilities have their ability to manage that. And those patients will stay local if possible."

Dr. Smith wouldn't say exactly how many ventilators and ICUs are in the system - but did say they are in a "good position" and Aspirus is actively adding more.

"So the number [of ICUs and ventilators] is actually evolving," said Smith. "We can flex that number and we are identifying the areas where we can flex the number."

ICU and ventilator availability aren't the only things in flux.

"The testing prioritization is a changing situation," said Smith.

Dr. Smith outlined who is being tested by Aspirus.

There was a period where it was just health care workers with symptoms and hospitalized patients.

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