Memorial Day observances set
Workers from Johnson Monuments of Chippewa Falls, Wis., carefully install new black granite memorial panels on the Veterans Memorial in downtown Iron River last week. The panels were polished, and once all the names—1,577 of them—were placed on them, the panels were polished again. The updated Iron River Veterans Memorial will be the site of one of the Memorial Day ceremonies taking place next Monday morning, May 27.
IRON COUNTY—Next Monday, May 27, Iron County pauses for a while to reflect on Memorial Day and the sacrifices made and lives lost by ordinary Americans—including those that they lived with and went to school with. They did their best for their country.
Ceremonies will take place Memorial Day morning at cemeteries around the county, led by the West Side and East Side Veterans councils.
Crystal Falls/Amasa: Memorial Day ceremonies in Crystal Falls are arranged by the East Side Veterans Council. Observances start with a short parade that lines up at the intersection of Washington Avenue and Logan Street at 8:30 a.m.
The parade starts at 9 and marches to the ceremony area at Evergreen Memorial Cemetery, where the program will be held.
Christopher Sholander, the master of ceremonies, will welcome the audience. After the invocation, the Forest Park High School Band will play the National Anthem.
The main speaker will be Air Force Master Sgt. Blair J. Anderson, who has served 22 years in the U.S. Army, Army Reserve and Air Force, performing signals intelligence (sigint) analysis and reporting, targeting, information operations and intelligence oversight and compliance to support Air Force, Army, National Security Agency and Joint Staff missions.
Anderson’s expertise in signals intelligence has directly assisted fighters in both Afghanistan and Iraq and improved situational awareness for combatant commanders.
He enlisted in the Army in 1990 and began his intelligence career with the 748th Military Intelligence Battalion at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, as a Spanish language analyst and reporter. After an honorable discharge and service with the Army Reserve, he joined the Air Force in 2000 and spent one year as a sigint analyst.
In 2004, he volunteered for a deployment at NSA-Georgia, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. His section was able to provide near-real-time combat situational awareness to
Marine and Army units. After that, he served several sigint roles in the United Kingdom and Colorado.
Among Anderson’s achievements is leading a sigint terminal guidance team on a combat deployment to Kunar Province, Afghanistan. His two-man team helped secure allied supply routes and provided force protection for several missions. His team also greatly improved security for five U.S. forces installations by delivering early warning and real-time intelligence to commanders.
He is now assigned to the Operations Directorate of the Joint Staff’s Joint Information Operations Warfare Center as an analyst and intelligence branch superintendent.
Following Anderson’s speech and music by the Forest Park band, the VFW Auxiliary will lead the wreath ceremony, followed by a volley by the color guard, taps by the band’s buglers and a closing prayer.
After the ceremony, participants will board school buses to Amasa for the parade downtown and then to Hematite Cemetery, where the program will be repeated.
In case of inclement weather, the parade will be canceled, and the service will be held inside the Eddie Chambers Memorial Gym at Forest Park High School starting at 9:30 a.m. An announcement would be made on WIKB radio.
Anyone is welcome to help place flags on the graves at Evergreen Memorial Cemetery. That will be done May 25 at 9 a.m. Doughnuts and coffee will be served.
Stambaugh: Members of American Legion Reino Post 21 will place flags on the graves of veterans at Stambaugh Cemetery on Sunday, May 26, at 9 a.m.
The Memorial Day program starts at 10:30 a.m. Marie Brunswick is the master of ceremonies.
The flag will be raised by members of the Caspian-Gaastra Fire Department. Deacon Robert Kostka of St. Agnes/St. Cecelia Catholic church, chaplain of Post 21, will give the invocation and benediction.
Darla Bonno and Linda Nasser, members of the Post 21 Ladies Auxiliary, will place a wreath on a cross in honor of all deceased veterans, and West Iron County students Eden Golliher and Brayden Nelson will give recitations.
This year’s guest speaker is Senior Master Sgt. Darrin Sabol, who is the avionics section supervisor for the 128th Air Refueling Wing, based in Milwaukee. He has 27 years of dedicated service.
Sabol was born and raised in Caspian and graduated from West Iron County High School in 1989. He joined the Air Force as a communication and navigation systems specialist, stationed at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., where he served eight years and was an integral part in the repair of avionics systems installed on newly designed aircraft.
He enlisted in the Wisconsin Air National Guard in 2001 and was deployed to Moron Air Base, Spain, shortly after 9/11. His job there was to guarantee that KC-135 aircraft at the base were ready and capable of delivering fuel to bombers, fighters and cargo aircraft.
Among his awards are 2011 First Sergeant of the Year for the 128th Air Refueling Wing and the 2017 Richard I. Bong Award from the Milwaukee Armed Services Committee for exceptionally high standards of job performance, leadership, military bearing and citizenship.
In his current job, Sabol provides supervision, guidance and mentoring to 25 personnel on behalf of the Air Force, Air National Guard and 128th Air Refueling Wing. In his off time, he volunteers with Boy Scout Troop 115, Honor Flight, Down Syndrome Association of Wisconsin and St. Boniface Catholic Church. He is a member of American Legion Reino Post 21.
The Stambaugh Cemetery program will conclude with the firing of the volley by members of the Reino Post 21 firing squad and the playing of taps.
In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will take place at the Caspian-Gaastra Fire Hall.
American Legion Reino Post 21 will also conduct a Memorial Day service at the Iron River Care Center at 1:30 p.m. All are welcome to attend.
Bates Township: The Memorial Day service at the Bates Township Cemetery will start at 8 a.m. with a flag-raising ceremony by members of Veterans of Foreign War Post 3134 of Iron River.
Music will be by One Voice U.P. The invocation and benediction will be by Pastor Kraig Tass of Iron River Bible Church.
The main speaker will be Don Waters, associate pastor at Iron River Bible Church and a former lieutenant in the U.S. Navy.
Barbara Benson-Stafford will read the roll call. After the benediction, the color guard fires its salute and taps is played to end the program.
Refreshments will be served immediately after the ceremony at the Bates Township Hall. In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will be moved to the Township Hall.
Beechwood: Ceremonies at Rosehill Cemetery in Beechwood begin at 8 a.m., after the AMVETS Post 436 color guard marches to the site.
The wreath will be placed by Harlie and Gracyn Melstrom, who will lead the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance. Trumpeter Curt Brendel plays the National Anthem.
Pat Turner, the master of ceremonies, will introduce the Rev. Charles Scheffler, who will give the invocation and benediction.
Melina Lopez will give a patriotic reading, followed by a musical presentation by Krista Gussert and Gary Friestrom, with additional vocals by Annalia Lopez.
The speaker will be James Rice, director of the Iron Mountain VA Hospital and Clinic. After his remarks, Brendel will play “America,” the roll call is read, and the benediction is given. The Post 436 color guard fires the volley, and Brendel plays taps.
Immediately after the program, everyone is invited to relax and visit at the Beechwood Hall for a Memorial Day social.
Iron River: Memorial Day events begin at 9 a.m. with the firing of a volley at the old City Cemetery.
At 9:30, the West Side Veterans Council will lead a ceremony at the newly remodeled Veterans Memorial on Genesee Street, featuring the black granite Wall of Honor This will be followed by a short parade up Genesee Street.
The service at Resthaven Cemetery starts at 11 a.m. The master of ceremonies is retired Navy veteran Darin Long, and the invocation is by retired Air Force veteran Don Wolf.
The National Anthem is sung by Erika Lindwall and Abby Miller. Representatives of the VFW Ottawa Post 3134 and American Legion Post 17 Auxiliaries will present the wreaths.
Josh Nodurft, a retired member of the U.S. Marine Corps, is the guest speaker.
The service will be led by the West Side Veterans Council. “We hope you take advantage of the opportunity to honor our fallen heroes,” said a spokesman, “and to remember what America is all about.”
Following the Resthaven ceremony, the program will be repeated at noon at the cemetery in Alvin, Wis.
The West Side Veterans Council invites anyone who can help place flags at Resthaven Cemetery on Saturday, May 25, starting at 9 a.m.