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Veterans Tributes V - Z


In honor of Sergeant Dale Vadner, Army - Served in the Korean War

Hometown: Paynesville (Submitted November 3, 2010 by Robert Vadner)

I would like to honor my father who proudly served in Korea. My father was wounded during his service, receiving the Purple Heart. My father loved this country very much.


In honor of John VanderMeiden, Army- Served in WWII

Hometown: GrandHaven (Submitted October 16, 2010 by Angie Hipp)

I would like to honor my grandfather, John VanderMeiden Jr. The right to free speech, right to choose our religion and the right to speak our minds. Thank you to my grandfather for fighting for our free country.


In honor of Lance Corporal Victor Vanvactor, Marine Corps - Served in the Vietnam War

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky (Submitted August 29, 2008 by Paul Osborne)

SEMPERFI. VICTOR: I'LL SEE YOU IN HEAVEN SOMEDAY. PAUL


In honor of Victor Vanvactor, US Marine Corps

Hometown: Louisville, KY (Submitted February 15, 2009 by Walter Paul VanVactor)

Thank you Paul Osborne for remembering my brother Victor H. VanVactor. Victor has three brothers and we all thank you for your remembrance and for being Victor's friend. I'm the oldest and was also in the USMC, altho' I did not serve in time of combat. Take care. . . . . . if you're ever in Louisville please look me up.


In honor of Vern “Studley,” US Air Force

This is a long overdue tribute to my father, Vern. (lovingly known as, "Studley". ) He honorably served our nation, protected our individual freedoms and supported his wife and five children with his 20 years of service in the United States Air Force. He devoted his career to serving our Country, thereby protecting the right to vote for each of us. We all should take the time to think of the many rights and freedoms we enjoy, but many times take for granted. The right to vote is one of those freedoms. THANKS DAD! I cast my vote this year In honor of your service, love and support. As an additional tribute to my father, he had two sons and a daughter who also went on to honorably serve in the United States Air Force. Thanks Dad, for all you've done and all you continue to do.


In honor of E-5 (Tech Sgt) Alf Vinje, Air Force - Served in World War II

(Submitted October 31, 2008 by John Vinje)

My father passed away earlier this month. He served as a radio-operator/waist-gunner on a B-24 bomber in the Philippine Theatre. He flew over 33 bombing missions and earned the Air Medal with 2 clusters, plus other numerous ribbons & awards. I will always remember my father for instilling in me how important it is to vote.


In honor of Corporal Stanley Vosejpka, Army - Served in World War II

Hometown: Lonsdale, Minnesota (Submitted November 4, 2008 by Lori Vosejpka)

My dad had an avid interest in politics. He died in January and I will be voting in his honor.


In honor of Sergeant Fred Wagner, US Army - Served in the Korean War

Hometown: Chicago (Submitted September 18, 2008 by Paul Wagner)

My Father Fred served two tours in Korea. He had 3 of 9 kids while sending that small check back to the states. He is your classic "Do not make a fuss" servant. He is truly a great American veteran!


In honor of SP-4 William Wagner, US Army - Served in the Vietnam War

Hometown: Bertha, Minnesota (Submitted September 25, 2008 by CSM Reno Wells (Retired)

I knew William in High School. William was a very caring person and went out of his way to make a new student feel welcome to the community. I will never forget the day the Army came to our community to advise his family of his death, which occurred near Khanh Hoa. South Vietnam on April 8, 1968. I visited "The Wall" in 1987 and found William's name on Panel 48E - Line 55. I still remember him!


In honor of PFC Gerald (Jerry) Walsh), Marine Corps - Served in World War II

Hometown: Southeast Minneapolis (Submitted November 4, 2008 by Steve Slocum)

My father-in-law is Jerry Walsh and he is my hero. Jerry served in the South Pacific with the Second Marine Division from July 3, 1942 to September, 1944. He faced the enemy on Guadalcanal, Tarawa, and Saipan. He earned the Bronze Star on Saipan. But he had recurring malaria so bad that in September, 1944 he evacuated to the States for R&R. He was treated in Hawaii, Washington, and Klamath Falls, Oregon before his honorable discharge in October 1945. After the war Jerry never stopped fighting, only this time in wasn't the against the Japanese, it was fighting for mentally retarded children and adults. He was the first Executive Director of The ARC of Minnesota in 1957. He and his tiny staff lobbied to improve the disgusting conditions of the State Institution System, a system that treated these people like animals. Today individuals with developmental disabilities and their families are living dramatically better lives thanks to Jerry Walsh; it must be some of that Semper Fidelis spirit. Jerry continues to fight on, but now at 87 years old, the dementia and Parkinson's Disease seem to be winning. In November 2004, days prior to a Tribute to Jerry to celebrate his accomplishments on behalf of the mentally disabled, his health suddenly declined and he required immediate assisted living arrangements. Today my hero is in a nursing home. His still attends meetings of the Minnesota Chapter of the Second Marine Division Association with me. Since he can't vote himself, it is with great honor and pride in PFC Walsh that I do that duty for him. Semper Fi. Jerry.


In honor of Kirk Ward, Army - Served in Vietnam

Hometown: St. Paul (Submitted October 31, 2008 by Jessica Ward-Denison)

I vote to honor my father's service in Vietnam. It was a war that left many wounded in more ways than the Purple Heart he brought home. This vote, this year - is a vote for hope - hope for justice for our Vets, that all Vets be treated with the dignity and respect they have earned by their blood and sacrifice. And the sacrifice of the families that wait at home.


In honor of Horace Wark - Served in the Korean War

Hometown: Almora (Submitted November 2, 2010 by Ailene Geiser)

My father served in World War II. I voted in his honor and memory, for his courage and dedication to all of us and our country.


In honor of Sergeant E5 Hugh Warner, US Army - Served in the Vietnam War

Hometown: Brainerd, MN (Submitted September 15, 2008 by Stacy Shebeck)

This tribute is to my father. He bravely defended freedom in the Vietnam War. It takes great courage, strength and faith to endure all of the hardships that come with war during and after combat. Few know what it is like to live in fear each and every day. Fearing that they will not live to see their family again, to watch their children grow or to even sleep in peace at night. This is something that no man, woman or child should have to endure. My father knows that feeling all too well. It brings me great sadness to see the long lasting effects of this fear that still haunts my father. Not all are strong enough to leave their children, spouses, parents and lives behind to defend something that most of us take for granted. So my father and all of the men and women who have served or are serving in the armed services should be proud of themselves. And every American should be grateful for their courage and should give them unconditional support. The kind of support not all of our veterans or the men and women currently serving have been given. I love you dad with everything in my soul. Thank you for being the very best dad you knew how to be. You are the strongest man I know and you are my hero. Keep being strong.


In honor of Gregory Washington, Army - Served in the Vietnam War - Purple Heart Recipient

(Submitted January 14, 2009 by Machelle Carter)

I really miss you Gregory Leslie Washington you are the original Greg: O) Watch over us especially Demetrice Nickole Rashonna and Vonnie and the grandkids Kaneya and Kayanna!!


In honor of Private Emil Wasilowski, Army - Served in the Korean War

Hometown: Eagan (Submitted November 2, 2010 by Scott Wasilowski) Emil Gilbert Wasilowski 1931-2010

Emil Wasilowski was best known as a tireless and energetic entrepreneur. Starting some eight companies, Wasilowski owned a diverse portfolio of enterprises generally related to the engineering and construction industry. Among Emil’s entrepreneurial enterprises was a venture manufacturing and distributing coconut chips. Emil, inspired by a trip to Hawaii, processed coconuts into thin slices of roasted and salted snacks. Distribution was a family effort with the Wasilowski kids selling cello-packed bags of chips door-to-door in their West St. Paul neighborhood. Among the businesses he started were Wasco Electric, Imperial Engineering, Ebssan Mechanical, Strati-Systems, American Erectors, Sorenson Excavation. Wasilowski also developed real estate in the late 1970s and 80s including Burnell Park Estates and Judicial Knolls subdivisions in Burnsville. He also built several scattered site homes in Burnsville and Eagan. Emil had a special affection for family friends in need of employment and for newly-arrived immigrants. He mentored and hired engineers from the former Soviet bloc and Africa – giving grateful students and political refugees their first break in America. He made them part of his extended family and taught his children the value of diversity and mutual respect. He loved all things mechanical and could with great ingenuity fix any machine put before him. While running a small engine repair shop, he was once seen fixing a lawn mower carburetor with a single edge razor blade. He charged his customer full price. Born to Emil and Anne Wasilowski of St. Cloud, Minnesota in February 1931, Emil attended Cathedral High School. The eldest of four children, Emil was an energetic young man (some might say “troubled”) whose vitality was channeled in a Golden Gloves boxing program. During his senior year in high school he won his division in the Golden Gloves Regional Tournament in Chicago and went on to win two back to back National Championships in is weight class in 1945 1nd 1946. He enjoyed a brief professional career winning all ten of his pro fights. Upon graduation from high school he worked as a gandy-dancer, switchman and brake-man for the Northern Pacific Railroad. In 1950 he was drafted by the U. S. Army and served a two year commitment in the 82nd Airborne Division. He made 33 successful jumps. His military training stuck with him as he often had his children “dress right” and then take a photo of his small but growing “company.” In June 1952 he married Burnell Gregory. On leaving the military he attended electronics school and continued to work for the railroad.

His interest in electronics led him into the emerging field of solid state electronics, radar, guided missiles and missile guidance systems. After completing electronics school, he became the chief engineer for radio station WAHA in Anniston, Alabama and worked for a short time at a local television station in Andalusia, Alabama. Employed later by Philco Corporation, Emil worked as an electrical engineer. Assigned to an Army contract installing a radar ground station in Dillingham, Alaska Emil started to fly small airplanes. While in Dillingham he helped bring electrical power to a remote Inuit village. While at Philco, he worked as a civilian instructor at the Redstone Arsenal (now the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center) in Huntsville, Alabama. His work there included design of missile guidance systems for the Corporal Rocket and the Redstone Rocket -- which was later upgraded to launch Alan Shepard into sub-orbital flight in 1961. With energy to spare, Emil started a residential electrical contracting firm: Wasco Electric. After a few years in Alabama, his interest in electronics landed him a position in Minneapolis with Univac in the emerging field of mainframe computers. At Univac, Email attended the company’s electronics training program and worked in the Core Memory Design Department and later in Logic Memory Design Department. He supervised the installation of missile guidance computers and Command and Control Center simulators for the U. S. Navy. He was part of the Univac team that installed the missile guidance system on the first nuclear powered aircraft carrier -- USS John F. Kennedy -- and a research computer at Queens College in London. His work at Univac also included engineering oversight for missile tracking stations used to monitor the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo manned space program. His work took him to many parts of the globe including Ascension Island, England, Brazil, South Africa, Kenya, Portugal and Spain. While at Univac he continued to pursue his interest in aviation eventually earning a private pilot’s license. In the late 1960s he left Univac to go to work for a Control Data Corporation where he worked as a program manager for about two years. But bitten by the entrepreneurial bug,he launched Imperial Engineering – a residential heating and air-conditioning company. During a recession in the late 1970s this company failed but re-emerged as an industrial engineering company, Ebssan Mechanical. This company (an anagram of the Wasilowski family names) focused on materials handling systems in the feed and grain industry – installing conveyors and dust collection systems in countless grain elevators in the mid-west. At its peak the company employed nearly 150 people including family members and friends in need of summer work. One of its conveyor system designs was instrumental in the success in the first maintenance-free battery developed by Gould National Battery.

It was during this period that Emil acquired his first airplane – a Cessna 210. He used the aircraft for personal and business use often taking clients on entertainment junkets and his family on vacations to Florida and St Simons Island, Georgia. He owned several 210s over the years. Always the deal-maker, he once traded a pickup truck for an experimental aircraft – a single seat, parasol wing, Stolp Starlett. It was in this airplane that his grandson August got his first (unauthorized) airplane ride. Emil’s trips to Gould’s headquarters in Chicago exposed him to engineers at Motorola who were in need of a low-energy consuming shelter to house microwave radio stations for installation in harsh desert environments. A design by Emil and his engineers was presented and, after testing, accepted by Motorola. The result was yet another engineering concern: Strati-Systems. The shelter was a success and many units were installed in Algeria and Tunisia along the oil pipelines being built in the region in the 1980s. Emil spent several months in the desert supervising installation and testing. During these years Emil had an interest in developing real estate – constructing single family homes and developing land in Eagan and Burnsville. Emil developed and acquired several more construction and engineering companies until his retirement in 2007. Emil’s enthusiasm for business sometimes came at a cost – both financial and personal. He once endured a period of total blindness as the result of a job site accident. His occasional disputes with creditors, partners and the I. R. S. are a part of his legend. Friend and attorney Judge Tom Murphy of St. Paul once quipped that “Emil had taken so many baths over the years that he would never need to shower.” Family friend and former employee, Jim Mahady reflecting on Emil’s charity and character, once referred to Emil as a “saint and a sinner.” Emil never feared failure. Failure to him was an opportunity to learn, dust off and try again. In 1987 Burnell passed away and several years later Emil met Judy Schwengler. After a brief courtship, Judy and Emil were married in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1993. Judy and Emil enjoyed traveling, fishing and the company of their large family: numbering nine children, seventeen grand-children and three great-grandchildren. Along with many nieces and nephews, countless friends and former employees, Emil is survived by his wife Judith, children Steve (Laura), Stan, Spencer (Jean), Stuart (Michelle), Anne (Adam Ramsey), Nancy (Morgan Krueger) , Scott (Tracy), Rick (Angie) Schwengler, Kathy (Fran) Burke, two sisters Luanne (Jim) Greenlund and Mary Kay (Don) Kivisto, and his sister-in-law Jeanette. In addition to Burnell, Emil was preceded in death by his parents and his brother Jack. His good will, self-determination, and zest for life endure in all who knew him.


In honor of Sergeant Alan Watt, Army - Served in World War II

Hometown: White, SD (Submitted November 4, 2008 by Dawn Evans)

I Thank my Grandfather for fighting for our freedoms! Thank you!


In honor of Lt William Wearn, US Army - Served in World War II

Hometown: Milaca (Submitted November 4, 2008 by Lee Whitney)

This tribute is for My Grampa who served, enlisted in WW2, then commissioned in Korea.


In honor of Brett Willhite, Army National Guard - Served in Iraq

Hometown: Gaylord (Submitted October 31, 2008 by Rick Willhite)

Among Brett's missions was one to allow 'another soldier to come home to his family.' He could have accepted a job in the relative safety of a base, but chose to do convoy security instead. We are proud of him, his sacrifice, his sense of duty and his bravery. A job well done!We love you!!--Dad


In honor of Patrick Wilson, Marine Corps - Served in Vietnam

Hometown: Lakeville (Submitted October 20, 2008 by Kelly Detloff)

My dad is a hero in my eyes and always will be.


In honor of SGT James Witkowski, Army Reserve - Served in Operation Iraq Freedom III

(Submitted November 4, 2008 by Jeff D'Andrea)

SGT James Witkowski. Your brave actions on your fatal day will always be remembered and you will live in the hearts of those as a true hero.


In honor of SPC Patrick Woodgate, Army National Guard - Serving in the Middle East

Hometown: Bloomington (Submitted October 1, 2008 by Marilyn McClay)

I wish to honor my nephew, SPC Patrick Woodgate, who is currently deployed in the Middle East. Patrick is very proud to be able to serve his country in the current conflict and able to preserve freedom for all of us in the USA.


In honor of SPC Patricak Woodgate, Army National Guard - Serving in the Sandbox

Hometown: Bloomington, MN (Submitted October 1, 2008 by Trish Woodgate)

To my husband, Patrick, who is currently serving overseas. I love you and we are all so proud of you!


In honor of Robert Woodruff, Marine Corps - Served in World War II

(Submitted October 31, 2008 by Patty Woodruff)

To honor my father for fighting for freedom for all of us.


In honor of Richard Young, Navy - Served in World War II Seabees

Hometown: Rochester, NY (Submitted October 31, 2008 by Susan Young)

My Dad talked very little about his service experiences, however, he made sure that I knew that voting was a privilege and an obligation that he and his friends sacrificed to protect for me. He helped me register to vote on my 18th birthday. He made sure that I understood all sides of ballot issues or that I had done my homework to decide which candidate I would support by quizzing me on WHY I was making that decision. He never disagreed with my decisions. The one time that I failed to vote I received the longest and most emotional lecture that I ever received from him, referencing his friends that didn't come home from the Pacific. His friends that did who were changed, and his service. He stated that voting was the honor and the duty that I owed them, and I could engage in protests, wave signs on TV, and argue with him about elected officials and public policies. But if I ever did not vote again I could stop coming home, forever. I miss him and vote in his honor.


In honor of Mickey Zahn, US Army - Served in Iraq

Hometown: Brooklyn Park, MN (Submitted November 14, 2008 by Delbert Holmin)

Killed in action 2005.


In honor of Margaret Zapor, Army - Served in World War II

(Submitted November 4, 2008 by Anne Loring)

My Aunt Margaret Loring enlisted in the WACS as a young woman during World War II. One of six brothers and sisters, she had been raised in Canada by US-born parents and was the first Canadian-born woman to serve in the WACS. She was stationed in war-torn Europe, providing communications support for combat troops. At one time she even patched through a call for General Eisenhower. After returning home, she married a fellow veteran, Hank Zapor, and ended up raising their four children alone when she was widowed suddenly at a young age. Now in her eighties, she lives in Tucson, AZ. We are proud of our Aunt Margaret, her courage in venturing far from home to serve her country and her determination and toughness throughout her life.


In honor of Specialist Christopher Zaspel, US Army - Served in the War on Terrorism

Hometown: Coon Rapids, MN (Submitted August 25, 2008 by Cindy McLean)

It has always been my honor to vote in our elections! This year I am actually voting In honor of three veterans in my family. Terrance McLean, my dad, served in the US Army during Korea. Larry McLean, my uncle, served on the USS Warrington during WWII and was killed when the ship was lost in a hurricane. Lastly, I vote In honor of my son, Spc Christopher Zaspel serving with the US Army. He has done one tour in Afghanistan and is due to deploy again in the next couple of months. I am so proud of all our military and what they have done to keep our country free! Voting is a very special freedom that we have and we owe our thanks to all these very special Heroes!


In honor of Herbert Zimmerman, Army - Served During the Korean Conflict

Hometown: Janesville, MN (Submitted October 20, 2008 by Nancy (Zimmerman) Flitter)

You will always be my HERO, Dad!


In honor of Nathan Zimmerman, Army National Guard - Serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom

Hometown: Janesville, MN (Submitted September 29, 2008 by Nancy Flitter)

Thanks, Nathan, for all you have given, and continue to give every day of your life!


In honor of Thomas Zimmerman, US Army - Served in Vietnam

Hometown: Southhaven, MS (Submitted October 20, 2008 by Nan (Zimmerman) Flitter)

Thomas, you have been the Lord's soldier your whole life through. Thanks for the " inspiration"!


In honor of Private First Class Chester Zimniewicz, Army - Served World War II

Hometown: St. Paul, MN (Submitted October 31, 2008 by Jeanne (Zimniewicz) Christopher)

This election I will cast my vote In honor of my dad, Chester Zimniewicz, who served our country dutifully and valiantly during World War II. He was in an Army engineering battalion who, along with thousands of others, landed on Omaha Beach, Normandy on D-Day. Later he was injured and earned a Purple Heart. Also, like others of his generation, he rarely spoke of the war or his contribution toward it. Nonetheless, my family has always been very proud of his service. I never got around to thanking Dad, so with this vote I cast on November 4th, In honor of him, I say "thanks.”


In honor of Joseph Zubert, Army - Served in World War II

Hometown: Eveleth (Submitted October 31, 2008 by Patti Chopp)

Thank you so much dad for everything you did for our country and for everything you do for me every day.