DE PERE, Wi. (WBAY) - Rides, good food, and entertainment all help to make a county fair a success. Sunday at the Brown County Fair, there was some added patriotism, too.
Each year the Brown County Fair has a veterans’ appreciation day.
“It’s just our way of saying thank you,” said Brown Co. Supervisor Bernie Erickson.
Erickson says they always try to put a special focus on a particular group. This year, that focus was on non-combat or peacetime veterans. Each receiving special dog tags and certificates for their service.
“They were just as important,” said Erickson. “They may have been in support back in the states or another country. There may not have been any combat going on, but they were ready and able at any time to be called up.”
“Sometimes we’re recognizing the combat veterans, which is very important, and sometimes the non-combat are forgotten maybe,” said Brown Co. Veterans Service Officer Joe Aulik. “I'm a non-combat veteran so it's just a good way of saying we recognize you too.”
Anita Powers served in World War II as a member of WAVES: Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service.
“What made me want to enlist? Patriotism,” said Powers. “Your country was at war.”
Powers knows all too well how some non-combat veterans feel.
“I used to say ‘but I didn’t do anything, I wasn’t in combat,’” said Powers.
Powers says it was also difficult for women in general to be recognized for their service.
“When [female veterans] wanted to join the local American Legion post back in 48’ they said ‘Oh, you can join the auxiliary,’ but we were veterans,” said Powers.
That’s part of the reason the all-women’s Post 593 in Green Bay was formed, which Powers has been a member of for more than six decades.
During all the years since her time in World War II, Powers realized that all veterans deserve recognition.
“Whatever you did you served,” said Powers. “You stood up, you promised, you served in whatever capacity you were needed.”
So for her and other non-combat or peacetime veterans, the fair’s support of their service is special.
“It feels really good,” said Powers.