High School honors veterans for their service

Ozaukee County’s incoming first female sheriff delivers keynote address

DURING FRIDAY’S VETERANS DAY CEREMONY (clockwise from top left) Cedar Grove-Belgium High School’s choir sang while director Linda Ruona played the piano at last Friday’s Veterans Day ceremony at the school. Sheriff-elect Christy Knowles was the keynote speaker. Navy veteran Bill Bowles saluted during the event. From left, Coast Guard veteran Dana Smith, Air Force veteran Dave Wieberdink, veteran Ed Ruchalski and student Davis Wieberdink, Dave’s grandson, stood during the playing of taps. Band director Alanna Ford, who led the band during the ceremony, was named the Melvin Wester Belgium Post 412’s Educator of the Year. Photos by Mitch Maersch


Ozaukee Press staff

Cedar Grove-Belgium High School’s annual Veterans Day ceremony featured someone who isn’t in the military but knows plenty about public service.

Sheriff-elect Christy Knowles, who days before had been elected to become Ozaukee County’s first female sheriff, praised the work of veterans who she said come from all walks of life.

“They come from every corner of our country, every state, territory, every shade of humanity, but are bound by one commitment — to defend America with their life if called upon,” she said.

One in four law enforcement officers has a military background, according to the U.S. Justice Department.

That includes retiring Sheriff Jim Johnson, about who Knowles shared a story of his service in Iraq. In 2013, Johnson was with the Milwaukee National Guard 32nd Military Police Company when he received a generic letter from a fourth-grader at Cedar Grove-Belgium Elementary School that could have been addressed to any member of the military.

Johnson saved the letter and came across it in 2018 when going through keepsakes. He posted it on a bulletin board at the sheriff’s office, and it caught the eye of deputy Chris Uselding.

He was the fourth-grader who wrote the letter.

“Thanking our veterans may seem like a small gesture to some, but it can have a deeper meaning like Sheriff Johnson believes,” Knowles said.

She noted the proximity of Veterans Day to another important American date.

“It is fitting that Veterans Day be observed so close to election day. It is, after all, veterans, who have preserved our Constitutional rights for 246 years,” Knowles said.

“With the recent election over and many more to come, as we search for ways to come together, some of our best examples are the men and women who salute on Veterans Day.”

Knowles said veterans not only defend the nation by fighting in wars, “but it is the imposing presence of our great military that has acted as a deterrent to would-be aggressors. The veterans of the United States military have not only fought wars; they deserve our gratitude for preventing them.”

Knowles mentioned the granddaughter of a World War II veteran and the daughter of a Vietnam veteran and thanked all veterans for their service.

“God bless all those who serve, God bless our veterans, and God bless America,” she said.



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


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