Historical display pays tribute to Prairie du Chien VFW

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Proudly standing by the new tribute display to the Prairie du Chien VFW Post 1945 at city hall are (from left) Rich Stovey, city employee; Eugene L. LaPointe, Korean War veteran and former post commander; Dean L. LaPointe, Desert Gulf War veteran and former post quartermaster/adjutant; Dirk Steiner, city employee; and Aaron Kramer, city administrator. Both Stovey and Steiner constructed the case for the post’s flag. (Photo by Correne Martin)

By Correne Martin

Just in time for Memorial Day, a patriotic and historical tribute display of the Prairie du Chien Veterans of Foreign Wars has been assembled in the main hallway at city hall. It salutes the McKinney-Tyler-Portwine Post No. 1945, whose charter was surrendered to the national headquarters in 2011 after the post disbanded due to lack of membership.

“We got the flag back from the state after the charter was surrendered,” explained Dean L. LaPointe, a Desert Gulf War veteran and former post quartermaster/adjutant. “We were able to obtain it on a permanent lending basis.”

The vast navy blue and gold VFW flag is encased in a wooden frame, covered with glass. This presentation was carefully constructed by city employees Dirk Steiner and Rich Stovey. It is intended to secure and preserve the vibrant flag for the future.

“The work that Rich and Dirk did on this project is something we are all so proud of,” City Administrator Aaron Kramer said. “It clearly exhibits the pride we, as the city, have as the curators and custodians of the VFW’s history and legacy.”

Besides the flag, a copy of the original post charter has been framed and hangs among the display. The names listed on it are of the 32, mostly WWI veterans who started the VFW in Prairie du Chien on Feb. 20, 1931. Furthermore, a history of how the post came to bear the McKinney-Tyler-Portwine names is exhibited, along with a description of what the city can and cannot do with the flag it has been loaned. Finally, there is also a document marking the April 24, 2014 dedication of the Post 1945 charter and flag.

LaPointe and his father, Eugene, a Korean War veteran and former post commander, worked hard to bring these items back home to their now permanent display at city hall.

“If we wouldn’t have fought to get the flag back, the VFW may have been forgotten,” LaPointe said. “This is a nice memorial.”

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