News: Jackson - B.R. Falls - Regal-Beloit Honors its Veterans (2011)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: Gundrum, Klubertanz, Johnson, Schaeffner, Chase, Schwoch, Shoemaker, Atkinson, Gunderson, Otterson, Smith, Vancil, Notbusch, Borgwardt, Yuhas, Paar, Miller, Austad, Anason, Grace, Alsterberg, Mecklenberg, Nortman, Jelinek, Jansen, Coblentz, Sanders, Schong, Mueller, Hansen, Lien, Fankhauser, Tande

----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co, WI) 11/16/2011

Regal-Beloit Honors its Veterans (2011)

They are soldiers who served the country they call home. Without hesitation, it is a decision each one of them would make all over again. “We just went in to do a job,” shared Ken Schaeffner. “We did what we did to protect this country.” All of the veterans are employees at Regal-Beloit Corporation (RBC)). RBC hosts a special Veteran’s Day Program each year honoring the 32 veterans employed with the company. Pictured (l-r) are Eugene Schwoch, J – U.S. Army; Dustin Chase – U.S. Army; Duane Johnson – U.S. Army; Bill Klubertanz – U.S. Marine Corp/Navy Reserves; Ken Schaeffner – U.S. Army; and RBC Plant Manager Tom Gundrum. Jodee Brooke/Banner Journal

By JoDee Brooke

Four years ago, Regal-Beloit Corporation (RBC) realized the importance of honoring its veterans. With 275 employees on staff and 33 of them veterans, the company had a special day last Friday set aside for the men and women who dedicated a time in their life to serve in the military.

“We’re very proud of our veterans,” shared RBC Plant Manager Tom Gundrum. “No one can take the good things or the bad things away from you,” Gundrum told the veterans last week. “We just want to provide a special day for you.”

A small group of the veterans sat down last week to share some of what they experienced while serving their country.

Bill Klubertanz, Neillsville, served 21 years in the army. Duane Johnson, Melrose, served two years in the army. Ken Schaeffner served seven years in the army, Dustin Chase, Black River Falls, is currently on active reserve having served missions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait. Eugene Schwoch, Jr., Altoona, served missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

While they served in different war era, each of them enlisted and each of them said they would enlist again if they had it to do all over.

“I enlisted when I was 19 years old,” recalled Klubertanz, “because I just felt it was something I wanted to do. I started working at General Motors in Janesville when I was 18. I had a good job. I was the sole surviving son so I wouldn’t have had to go. When I asked my father if it was OK, he said, ‘No’. The first time I talked to them about enlisting I wasn’t 18, so I needed my father’s signature, and he wouldn’t give it to me. I went back when I turned 18 and enlisted.”

“I enlisted in the reserves when I was 19.” Shared Johnson, “Two weeks after I graduated from high school. There weren’t many jobs. I was a farm boy, and I wanted to see the country.” When asked if he would do it all over again, he replied, “You bet.”

“I enlisted when I was 24,” shared Schaeffner. “My father told me he’d never speak to me if I did, but I had a wife and son and I didn’t know how I was going to take care of them. I got out for the same reason I got in – family.”

“You do a lot of growing up,” said Klubertanz. “It’s what you make of it. You have to keep a positive attitude.”

“It made me a man,” explained Schaeffner. “I spent six weeks where I didn’t sleep during the week, only on weekends. We just had to keep going. I got awards, but I was just doing my job.”

“I drove a truck called a Huskie,” explained Schwoch. “I drove ahead of the convoys who were moving from one location to another. My job was to find the IEDs (improvised explosive device). It’s hard to come home and not be on guard all the time, but I do want to go back.”

Today’s veterans returning from missions are often provided grand welcome home.

“We got nothing,” recalled Klubertanz. “Half the people didn’t know what was going on over there (Vietnam). It was an unpopular war. We got off the plane in California, walked thru the hanger and had to find a way home.”

“I got out in ’84,” shared Schaeffner. “I put on civilian clothes. I didn’t want people to know. It was the Cold War, a quiet time because of Vietnam. I’ve always been proud for doing what I thought was my job.”

“When we came home, we landed at the airport, filled out some forms and we were back home in a few days,” Chase said. “We didn’t think about anything except getting home.”

“Eugene invited me to spend the day with him at For McCoy,” explained Gundrum. “It was a day employers spent with their soldier employees. I was really surprised at how many businesses don’t support their veterans. He showed me the teamwork these men and women are a part of and how they work together to protect a group of people when they are over there serving. I thought my job was important. It’s nothing compared to Eugene’s job.”

“This is a workforce of educated people and talk about team work. I’ve never experienced a day like that in my life. Our goal is to provide a job for Eugene, a job that’s going to be there hen he gets home. I hope other businesses will take the time to recognize their veterans.”

“We do what we do to protect this country,” shared Schaeffner. “This nation is the greatest nation in the world.”

Regal-Beloit Corporation (RBC) in Black River Falls hosted a special day last week honoring its 33 veterans on Veterans Day. Service men and women from RBC – are (not in order) Bill Klubertanz – U.S. Marines ~ 1965-1969 and U.S. Army ~1971-1996; Dan Shoemaker – U.S. Army ~ 1970-1977; David Atkinson – U.S. Army National Guard ~ 1985-1990; David Gunderson – U.S. Army ~ 1983-1992; Dean Otterson – U.S. National Guard ~ 1983-1985 – U.S. Army ~ 1985-1988; Dean Smith – U.S. Air Force ~ 1981-1992; Duane Johnson – U.S. Army ~ 1956-1958; Dustin Chase – U.S. Army ~ 2007- present; Eugene Schwoch – U.S. Army ~ 2005-present; Floyd Vancil – U.S. Army ~ 1969-1971; Gary Notbusch – U.S. Army ~ 1974-1979; Greg Borgwardt – U.S. Marines ~ 1972-1974; Ike Yuhas – U.S. Marines ~ 1974-1978; Joe Paar – U.S. Navy ~ 1988-1995; Ken Schaeffner – U.S. Army ~ 1977-1984; Karl Miller - U.S. Army Reserve ~ 1981-1991; Larry Austad - U.S. Air Force ~ 1975-1979; Lynette Anason – U.S. Army National Guard ~ 1985-1995; Marc Grace – U.S. Army ~ 1987-1989; Margaret Alsterberg – U.S. Air Force ~ 1965-1968; Matt Mecklenberg – U.S. Marines ~ 1993-1997; Melissa Nortman – U.S. National Guard Reserves ~ 1998-2006; Michael Jelinek – U.S. Army ~ 1991-1999; Mike Jansen – U.S. Navy ~ 1978-1981; Milton Smith – U.S. Army ~ 1974-1977; Nathan Coblentz – U.S. Navy ~ 1992-1994; Rex Sanders – U.S. Navy ~ 1974-1976; Rick Schong – U.S. Army ~ 1970-1973; Robert Mueller – U.S. Army ~ 1976-1984; Shari Hansen – U.S. Air Force ~ 1982-1988 and California National Guard ~ 1988-1990; Sheila Lien – U.S. Army ~ 1970-1972; Steve Fankhauser – U.S. Army National Guard ~ 1976-1982 and Wayne Tande – U.S. Army ~ 1975-1981. Contributed photo.



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