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Fiddler's Green owners show dedication to veterans: Rhynas-Heath column

1:14 PM, Aug. 27, 2013  |  Comments
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I cannot begin to thank the owners of Fiddler's Green Canteen, Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Banks and Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Polacek, enough for all the support they have given us since the loss of my life partner James' nephew, Staff Sgt. Joseph Altmann.

Placing Joe's photos on the memorial wall is a blessing to us each time we walk through the door.

Providing answers and understanding, at times requiring them to revisit their experiences from your tours of duty, we've appreciated more than we can convey. We know it wasn't always easy. We also know they did this for Joe.

The first Joseph Altmann Memorial Ride they organized raised a $1,318 scholarship for a future military medic from one of our area high schools. This is one example of the many ways Joe lives on. The brotherhood we witnessed on that day and since has given us a deeper understanding of what Joe experienced with his comrades, as well as his desire to defend our country.

It would be wonderful to see additional community support for Joe's second annual memorial ride Sept. 21 at Fiddler's Green, 113 E. Fourth St., Marshfield, and at the honoring ceremony at The Highground Veterans Memorial Park, W7031 Ridge Rd., Neillsville.

It was such good fortune to patronize an establishment where it seemed like virtually all of the bikers we met were veterans. It has been one of our greatest honors. Since Fiddler's Green opened, we have met many veterans who served in various wars from Vietnam to the present. We thank every one of them.

Each member of the Brothers By Choice organization is a proud example of what our military soldiers stand for. BBC has grown throughout the state of Wisconsin. I'd like our community to know it was Banks and Polacek who founded this organization, and for residents to realize the support they both still put forth for our wounded and fallen heroes and their families.

With full-time hours at Mosinee Armory, Fort McCoy and more, their dedication keeps going strong. Their wives also have given amazing support and we are grateful to them as well.

As I write this, both are out in war-simulating fields at Fort McCoy, wearing full gear in this heat and sleeping in woods in preparation for their next deployment.

In Iraq and Afghanistan, the temperatures can reach 117 to 130. The price they pay for our liberty and freedom is a sacrifice they proudly give - and we won't take it for granted.

Thank you Fiddler's Green's owners. They are red, white and blue to the core.

Editor's note: This story has been updated. Due to an editor's error, this column mistakenly identified Linda Rhynas-Heath and James R. Altmann as husband and wife. They are life partners. News-Herald Media regrets the error.

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