Saturday, November 10, 2012


Although this photo was taken on a Washington Island Memorial Day, a
parade of pipers, Legionnaires and members of the public led
by a color guard, tomorrow's tribute is similar, but to honor all veterans.
Washington Island, Wisconsin -

For the past several weeks I've been collecting photos of Island veterans.  Some of those photos had been in the upstairs of the Legion Hall for years, but most were recently dug from photo albums or taken down from wall frames for image scanning.

Chuck and Jewell Lee Grandy have collaborated with me on this project.  They've contacted many veterans or their families, and they've also sifted through the Island Archives, searching for photos of men and women in uniform.  I think we now have well over 100 individuals represented.

As it happens, many photos were lost or misplaced and can't be found, or there were none taken of an individual to begin with.  If possible, we want photos showing the veteran in their military uniform, posed in dress uniform, or in their work uniform, or both.  They provide an interesting contrast, the young soldier or sailor compared to the image of someone we're currently familiar with now, who may be in their 60s, 70s or 80s.

Despite our best efforts (and an admittedly late start without public announcement), this Power Point project-in-the-works, despite being incomplete, will be shown on screen during this year's Veterans Day program:   Monday morning, 10:30 a.m., at the Trueblood Performing Arts Center.  Because the photos to be seen will represent only a fraction of the many veterans with a Washington Island connection, this project will continue.

As more photos come in - either emailed in digital format or as physical photos that we can scan - we'll add to this file.  Eventually, this file of photos, accompanied by names, branch of service and perhaps key enlistment dates, will be donated to the Island Archives.  Family members and researchers in future generations might find those photos to be a useful connection with their island past.

John Gay, who is a veteran and an Island summer resident, has conducted numerous interviews with island veterans during these past several years. John volunteered to participate in a Library of Congress project designed to capture the stories of as many veterans as possible.   John records his interview with each veteran using a prescribed template of questions, and then the audio record is transcribed by others.  As you can imagine, each interview takes time, including scheduling an appointment with a willing veteran.  Later, there is a follow-up to review the transcribed interview for accuracy.  These photo images recently obtained in our project will add to John's efforts, because for many veterans', especially those persons no longer living, photos might well be the only information available about their military service.  (One completed binder will go to the Library of Congress, and a second binder will go to the Island Archives.)

During the course of this photo project, I had the chance to visit with a number of veterans, and in one meeting in the Ferry Office a week ago I was introduced to Mike Kumnick of Colorado.  Mike is a Viet Nam veteran whose parents, Fred and Lou Kumnick retired to Washington Island in the 1980s.  Fred was an active American Legion member and for a time served as Post Commander.  Although Mike and I might have met briefly, years ago, it was through this blog that Mike kept in touch with the Island.

Published here is a photo of Mike's father, Fred Kumnick, U. S. Army, WWII.

In order to make our file more complete, please consider allowing Chuck Grandy, or myself at the Ferry Line office, to scan your military photo, or one of an Island veteran in your family.  The scanning process takes about five minutes, and you keep the original.

-  Dick Purinton

Note:  About one week ago I had difficulty with my password to access this blog site, and with no clue to overcome this, I waited for help.  Coincidentally, in an unrelated error of movement my irresponsible forefinger, I eliminated my entire photo file in one "Poof."    My hope for help rested in Chris Haertig, who with his expecting wife Megan, had left for Sturgeon Bay in anticipation of their second child.  They have since become parents to Gideon Joseph.  When Chris returned, he restored my photos from the trash and fixed my password problem, which put me happily back in business.

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