Lake Nebagamon veterans receive red-letter day
By Don Leighton
For The Telegram
A red-letter day, one you may not know, is fast approaching.
It’s April 12 in the Auditorium in my beloved Shangri La — also know as Lake Nebagamon. A gathering runs 4:30-7:30 p.m. for an occasion so special you will be compelled to attend. The Lake Nebagamon Community Association Armed Services Tribute Committee hosts a Spaghetti/Chili Cook Off to please the palate of diners of all ages, while contributing to causes of great importance.
Lake Nebagamon is a proactive community that helps others in so many ways. Half of the proceeds of the cook off go for an Armed Services Tribute slated for construction on the east exterior wall of the Auditorium. The Tribute honors men and women from the Lake Nebagamon area who served in the Armed Forces since the Civil War. The other half of the proceeds funds other worthy causes of the association.
Michele Hughes, Kay Coletta. Barbara Anderson, Willard Keiffer, and Howard and Gail Levo have worked to turn this Tribute dream into reality for almost three years, when members of the community association came up with the idea to “honor vets, past and present.”
Coletta gives much of the credit to Rick Baga, former community association president. Baga remembered a Veteran’s Tribute in his home state of Maine. The beauty of Nebagamon and rich history of the area inspired him and the creative Coletta and others took over.
As explained by Hughes and Coletta: This event will acquaint the public with the plans for the tribute and solicit support and input from the community going forward. Proceeds for the tribute will be used to implement the tribute plans by designer Grant Ronchi and establish a financial foundation for completion. People can purchase tiles to honor those who have been in the Armed Services from the Lake Nebagamon area from the Civil War to the present. General sponsorships are also available for area businesses, corporations and individuals that want to support the endeavor.
The other programs supported by the community association that benefit from this event include, “family friendly events in Lake Nebagamon, such as the 4th of July games for children and the Christmas Tree lighting held each December.”
This event promises to melt away the memory of winter. The more that attend, the faster the snow will melt and spring will take over our thoughts and actions.
Ticket prices are $10 for adults, $5 for kids ages 6-14 and kids 5 and younger are free.
Chefs from around the area concoct their secret recipes for the enjoyment of all. You can sample each sauce and chili, fill your bowl with your favorite, and sit and enjoy them with family and friends in the historic Auditorium. Coffee, punch, salad and bread are included in the ticket price. Vendors and local businesses will have displays of interesting and fun items for the whole family to check out.
In addition to the Veteran’s Tribute, Coletta has written a tribute play called “Welcome Home, Daniel” about a young man returning home from Afghanistan after serving our country. The play debuts June 14 at the Auditorium.
She is also heavily immersed in compiling war and personal stories, photos and pertinent information from the military careers of the men and women who have served our country all the way back to the Civil War. So far, about 70 veterans have been identified and information has been sent for inclusion in the book.
One of the most interesting stories Coletta told me was about Col. Charles Hooker who is buried in the Lake Nebagamon Cemetery. The colonel was the nephew of Civil War veteran “Fighting Joe” Hooker. As the story goes, “Fighting Joe” was concerned about the morale of his men and possibility of desertion. He enlisted the “help” from some lovely ladies to stay in the vicinity to keep morale high. The ladies became known as Hooker’s Girls.
Paul Harvey would have loved this as the “rest of the story” series. Do I really need to say more?
This book will be a tremendous read, but keep the Kleenex handy. Our service people past, present and future deserve so much of our thanks and respect. Without their service and sacrifice, what kind of nation would we be?
Red-letter day, April 12, Lake Nebagamon Auditorium, be there to show your appreciations and support for the men and women of our Armed Forces.