Local heroes honoredThere are heroes among us. A few of their stories will be told Saturday in the Lake Nebagamon Auditorium. Audience members will hear how World War II bombardier Rudy Gabrys was hidden by the French Resistance and how important MASH units were for Lenny Moreau, a Green Beret who served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War.
There are heroes among us. A few of their stories will be told Saturday in the Lake Nebagamon Auditorium. Audience members will hear how World War II bombardier Rudy Gabrys was hidden by the French Resistance and how important MASH units were for Lenny Moreau, a Green Beret who served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. They will also hear a first-hand account of a visit to the Buchenwald concentration camp from World War II nurse Helen Privette and learn about Jim Bong Jr, the nephew of Poplar’s Ace of Aces, who flew missions in support of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Playwright Kay Coletta weaves their stories together with the help of the Lake Nebagamon Players in “The Heroes Among Us.” Coletta has written many scripts, but this one was different. While their parts will be played by actors, these are real people.
“This one had much more meaning to me because the people are real,” she said. Some of those portrayed found it difficult to talk about their military experiences. Others shared their stories with family, who then passed those memories on to Coletta.
All proceeds from the event will go toward design plans for an Armed Services Tribute in the village of Lake Nebagamon. The memorial will honor all veterans and be a very simple design.
“It’s going to be in a place where people can go, have some serenity and think about their loved one,” Coletta said. She plans to place a brick at the site for her father and other members of the family who have served their country. So does Village Clerk Swan Dawson.
“It would be wonderful to have it up and running by midsummer,” Coletta said.
A familiar cast of Nebagamon neighbors will help tell the tales Saturday, including veteran players Dawson and her husband Jim, Jann Brill and Karen Lawler.
Songs will punctuate the action. A quartet of youngsters ages 6-13 will tell Gabrys’ story, complete with a wood pile, and Lake Nebagamon Police Officer Ed Anderson steps into the role of grandpa Ed.
The law enforcement officer got his first taste of the Lake Nebagamon stage during last year’s Memorial Day show, “Let Freedom Ring, Welcome to America.”
“It was educational,” he said, citing O’Brien’s Law, which states that Murphy’s Law is overly optimistic.
“The best thing about our productions is our audience,” Coletta said. “They love it when we screw up.”
When Kay called him up to help with the new production, Anderson accepted.
“I’m happy to do it,” he said. “It’s certainly for a worthwhile cause.”
The memories won’t stop when the show comes to an end. Coletta is planning to collect the stories of these and other local veterans to compile into a booklet, which will be available for purchase by Memorial Day. Proceeds from the booklet will also go toward planning, design and construction of the tribute. Everyone is encouraged to add their family’s military stories to the publication.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” Coletta said. “We’ll be collecting more and more.” Veteran stories can be sent to Coletta at 11507 Waterfront Drive, Lake Nebagamon, WI, 54849 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Heroes Among Us” begins at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the auditorium. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the village office, at the door or by calling Coletta at (715) 374-2283.