Yellow Foot Prints Forums  

Go Back   Yellow Foot Prints Forums > Open Channel

Open Channel [Main Page]
Communicate with your Brothers/sister Marines.

Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 06-14-2009, 05:42 AM
cmyr's Avatar
cmyr cmyr is offline
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: SE WI
Posts: 9,750
Camp Offers R&R to Wisconsin Vets

Camp offers vets Northwoods R&R
By Michael Skubal

All you need to spend a week at Camp American Legion in Lake Tomahawk, Wisconsin, is your DD-214 and a physician’s certification that you require rest and recuperation to aid in your recovery from an operation, illness or other affliction.

They speak military at the camp. Camp American Legion is located on Little Tomahawk and Big Carr lakes, and occupies seventeen acres in the American Legion State Forest. Their brochure spells it out, “In the heart of Wisconsin’s North Country there is a haven for the Wisconsin veteran who has helped his country and who could now use a little help himself."

In a quiet land where people from all over the country come for rest and relaxation, there’s a group of comfortable, handicapped-accessible cabins plus dining, recreation and health care facilities, set aside for Wisconsin veterans who need a hand on the road back to health.”

The American Legion, State of Wisconsin, has maintained and operated Camp American legion since 1925. The camp is governed by a board of trustees. In addition, many American legion Posts and County Councils assist by sending work parties and maintaining individual cabins.

It’s a case of veterans helping veterans. James Youngquist is the Director of Camp American Legion, “We get no state or federal money. The Wisconsin American Legion, 66,000 strong, have a budget of $2.9 million to run all the state programs including Legion baseball and Boys State. Volunteers, mostly servicemen and women, put in about 20,000 volunteer hours.

We’re sort of a champagne operation on a beer budget. We serve 500 veterans from Memorial Day to Labor Day on a budget of $250,000. We can serve 60 people at one time. We have 32 cabins.”

No cooking is allowed in the cabins, and no satellite or cable television. There are plenty of places to watch television in a group setting. “You get socialization that way,” said Youngquist. “ It forces them to leave the cabins.”

Meals are taken in the large dining hall. Ex-Marine Tom Moravec has been the cook for five years now. He prepares over 16,000 meals a summer. It was fish fry Friday but venison is often on the menu, thanks to the Lake Tomahawk Meat Market, which last year donated over 500 pounds of venison.

Willard (Bert) Bertram hails from Muskego and was spending his first week at Camp American Legion. He served with the Army Engineers in the southwest Pacific during World War II, in British and Dutch New Guinea. “I got here at noon last Saturday,” said Bertram. “The first thing we did was eat. We uncover when we eat. It’s a military tradition to take off the lid when we squat and gobble.”

The translation for all you civilians is that the men and women take off their hats when they eat. “We had SOS for breakfast,” said Bertram. “The food’s excellent.”

Bertram and two other gentlemen were waiting to go fishing. They enjoy playing cards as well, sheepshead or schafkopf. Gerald Frievalt, Jerry, was a Sergeant in the Army and served in Korea, where he was an M.P. It was his first time at the camp.

“I’m waiting for surgery,” said Frievalt. “They’re putting up with me. They even gave me a golf cart to get around. The way they cater to you is something. I even have a massage therapist.”

Tom Kies likes to watch the birds. He served in both the Army and Marines. Kies was a supply control officer and pharmacist at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. “I’m here for the rest and relaxation,” said Kies. “And the fellowship. We trade war stories and other stories. The fishing is great, we have fun on the boat and on the shore. I think of the people that care for you here. It’s a no strain, one week vacation.

You come up on a Saturday and get in low gear in a hurry. You’ve got to be on time for the meals though. We’ve got a Marine in the kitchen. If you’re going to miss lunch, they’ll pack you one.”

Both the guests and staff are military. John Cemirys is celebrating 54 years of volunteering. He’s been the physical therapist since 1955. Cemirys worked as a therapist at the veteran’s hospital in Milwaukee. “Whatever the patient needs,” said Cemirys. “We work on the physical and psychological problems of each individual.

We try for physical activity and encourage them to live a balanced lifestyle. They get re-energized by being close to nature. There’s good food, recreation and therapy. I get my satisfaction when a patient improves.”

The camp is not just for men anymore. Jill VandeHei was a corporal in the Army. She has been coming to Camp American Legion for four years and now attends with her mom and dad. “I started coming by myself,” said VandeHei. “It was nice and quiet. You get away from the real world. I like fishing and the paddleboat. My mom and dad are here too. My dad was in Korea. Everything is free, all you have to bring is clothes and a towel.”

Walking back to the main lodge Youngquist talked about the camp and changes in the works, “We’re expanding to include more families. The men and women in service now are more likely to have families, they’re older. A week here is small payback for what they’ve done.

Camp American Legion is the only place in the country that is free of charge. We all volunteer our services. Over 130 guys helped to open the camp this spring. It’s veterans helping veterans, healthy helping the disabled.”

For more information call Camp American Legion at 715-277-2510 or e-mail the camp at
Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Roland "Rollie" Weber, 92, Wisconsin Dells, WI cmyr Obituaries Updates 0 08-24-2008 05:19 PM
Guitars for Vets cmyr Marines Only 0 04-13-2008 05:58 AM
WI Korean War Vets Exhibit-WI Rapids cmyr Marines Only 0 01-12-2008 08:51 AM
LCpl Alan Dinh Lam, 19, Snow Camp, NC (Iraq) cmyr Obituaries Updates 0 04-01-2007 01:12 PM
Wisconsin Dept. of VA works hard for vets cmyr Marines Only 1 01-03-2007 06:09 AM

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 01:20 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright & Copy 2006-2019, Yellow Foot Prints, All Rights Reserved