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According to Gov. Tony Evers’ press specialist, the Republicans from the Joint Committee on Finance are solely responsible for rejecting Senate Bill 602, which would bring closure to Wisconsin POW MIA families, who did not bring the bill back to the Senate for a vote.
We need your help.
We, the student veterans of the University of Wisconsin and our support, are bringing awareness through the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Communication Department where our campaign launched.
We are an oratorical workshop creating a social responsibility task force through our POW MIA revitalization movement class project.
We cannot forget what our elected officials have done.
I WILL NOT FORGET LAUNCH 5.5.22
The “I Will NOT Forget” Campaign headquarters is our meeting of the minds for the next leg of the lobby journey. We are profiling the POW MIA through the student veteran experience through corporate and health communication as a second major.
The campaign seeks $2.5 million for funding the UW MIA Recovery and Identification Project, along with the development of a corporate citizen through Outpost 422.
The Senate Bill 602 Rejection Revitalization Movement
The campaign is my capstone for corporate and health communication. We are creating a corporate citizen to fund the University of Wisconsin Missing-in-action Recovery and Identification Project, which includes internships at both UW Whitewater and Madison College through Outpost 422.
Outpost 422 will conduct surveys for reporting to both the university and Veterans Administration about the veteran college experience as a Madison College honors project.
The following video is a virtual press release of my findings for my assignment with the Capstone Press at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Outpost 422 was the backpack journalism freelance multimedia reporting source.
The news feature segment of the video shared my findings and successfully pulled off a 95 percent in the Journalism Public Affairs Capstone 486 course completing the journalism major journey.
We have one class left, Independent Study 498, which is a workshop teaching those who blog how to report and research the POW MIA issue and bring the POW MIA into the arena of diversity, equity and inclusion.
Memorial Day 2022 Reflection
My entire childhood between ages 5-11 visited Highland Memorial Cemetery with my grandma on Memorial Day.
My Uncle Arlin maintained the family plot while grandma wept.
We visited her son Lee’s grave, who was killed in action during World War II. Her guilt and grief were heard in her stories.
She loved her boy.
I always thought Memorial Day belonged to Gold Star Mothers. That was until I met Volk’s niece, who shared his legacy and family ongoing dilemma with DPAA.
Now, I’ve come to understand more reform is required for bringing the POW MIA families ongoing news about the whereabouts of their loved ones. Collaboratively, both Gold Star Mothers and POW MIA families are our priority to tend to on Memorial Day.
As a veteran, I’m asking America to step up to the plate and help.
Continuously call your Wisconsin delegates and remind them of the rejection of Senate Bill 602 by the Joint Committee on Finance.
Tell them how disgusting it is for elected officials to politicize the POW MIA issue.
Slapping families with rejection during election season should be admonished and viewed as unethical.
Call up the American Legion, VFW and DAV and ask how you can volunteer in your community.
You can host POW MIA and Gold Star Highway cleanup efforts.
The sky is the limit.
Let your heart guide you with volunteerism and when you meet these families say to them “I Will NOT Forget” the sacrifice your family member made. You are important to me.
I have been reunited with a dear friend from the Stephen Ministries group. We were commissioned together. He is definitely someone I consider a mentor.
We are helping each other cope through grief dealing with juvenile behavior by our loved ones who feel conflict is better than resolve.
My dear mentor is helping me locate resources through Faith Lutheran Church for those who are lost receive a consultation of available services. We are bringing the information forward through blogs and websites for the next journey with Outpost 422.
Tonight, I leave the field of Service Officer with the American Legion to create a business model for the Mission Act as a corporate capstone senior class project.
The Crisis Chaplain works as a liaison to those who recognize the Longhouse Religion and need VA services in the 11th hour of detox.
I am working with a POW MIA Cherokee shaman and Vietnam Veteran, who is praying for those who are missing so they can be found through the Sacred Warrior Search and Rescue Foundation “I Will Not Forget” and Outpost 422 website.
I suggested this video for dealing with ongoing suffering by selfish addicts who rob us of our essence and make everyone miserable.
Tony Robbins is a great communicator with people dealing with grief. Grief has no limit. I walked out on my abuser in June. She showed me how strong I am.
Setting boundaries led to our falling out.
You see, you cannot be with people who suck the life out of you by lying, cheating and doing illegal things behind your back when you are a long-term recovering VA painkiller statistic.
Honesty is the only policy.
My Stephen Minister training never goes away. I have a spiritual remedy for every abusive situation. Tony Robbins Is my guiding light. He uses words like “son-of-beyotch” and “motherfucker” to grab his audience.
Gov. Evers has long been an advocate for the University of Wisconsin Missing in Action (MIA) Recovery and Identification Project, and that’s why he proposed creating a new, continuing appropriation for this project in state statute and providing $360,000 to support the project in his most recent state budget—nearly eight months before Senate Bill 602 was even introduced.
Unfortunately, Republicans in the Legislature cut this funding from the budget during the Joint Finance Committee process andrejected Legislative Democrats’ amendmentto reintroduce the funding into the budget during the floor vote.
And when the governor’s budget measure was introduced as standalone legislation in the form of Senate Bill 602, Republican leaders again chose to play politics, rather than provide the funds needed for this important project—despite the bill passing unanimously by the Senate Committee on Veterans and Military Affairs and Constitution and Federalism, the Assembly Committee on Colleges and Universities, and by the entire State Senate.
Republican leaders in the Assembly, including Speaker Robin Vos and Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, are solely responsible for blocking this legislation from becoming law as it had widespread support from both Republicans and Democrats in both houses of the Legislature, and the governor had already expressed his support for this initiative.
Regardless of Republicans’ obstruction, the governor has continued to advocate for this project, and at his direction, members of our office have met with the University of Wisconsin System and requested that they identify other funding mechanisms to support this project in absence of direct state funding.
Relatedly, the governor’s support for our nation’s veterans extends beyond the MIA Recovery and Identification Project, and the most recent budget he signed into law included significant investments to support Wisconsin veterans, including increasing funding for Veterans Service Office grants and providing $200,000 toward suicide awareness and prevention and mental health services, especially for veterans in underserved communities and areas.
The governor alsorecently announced he was creating a Blue Ribbon Commission on Veteran Opportunity to develop new, innovative initiatives to support the more than 300,000 veterans who live in Wisconsin.
The Commission will examine the issues facing Wisconsin veterans today, including but not limited to employment and job training, post-service education, housing, stability of the Veterans Trust Fund, long-term care nursing quality and affordability, and mental and behavioral health initiatives.
Last month, the governor announced his appointments to the Commission, including leaders and members of the military and veteran community from around the state. More information can be found at the link below, should this be of interest to you:
As a veteran who witnessed the countless atrocities of walking through the streets of Haiti, riding in the back of wide-open Humvees as an M60 RTO during the invasion without armor, and watching the disgusting shit unfold every night in the guard towers, I am now in a state of mind where I say “Peace” instead of “I love you.”
Peace is the opposite of hypervigilance. Hypervigilance is a beast that will not take a day off. Peace counters the effects found in mindfulness meditation.
You see, peace is something valuable in the mind of a combat veteran. The horror of humanity in the third world never goes away.
This is the price we pay for answering the call of duty despite whatever combat crises we face.
I am sick and tired of campaign discrimination and conflict amongst veterans.
The war at the VFW and Legion wages on while commanders like POST 501 in Madison, Wis. tell combat veterans to “grow some thick skin” instead of working with them.
Veterans are at war with each other at home.
I do not buy into the hype of your war being greater than mine. You do not deserve respect if you create conflict for serving in conflict.
The trials of witnessing the dark psychology of third world behavior only allows for revisiting the scene during night storms. Those who serve in conflicts all have this in common.
This does not warrant you cutting in front of me in line for mental health treatment at the VA because your war is classified as a priority for triage in reflection of mine.
No veteran should deal with the decisions of a bureaucrat-in-chief and their failure as a leader.
Oftentimes, I purposely fall asleep on the couch without my CPAP so I don’t have to hit the third stage of REM. Peace is the quieting of the lower self that only the higher self can provide.
If you are struggling with cultivating peace, and want to check out, don’t. Manifest peace by speaking peace into existence.
War is easy. War is human nature. Peace is a virtue. If you want peace, you have to work for it.
The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater capstone fear and loathing investigation of Senate Bill 602 began Oct. 8, 2021, when the bill was introduced. On Feb. 22, the first interview, obliged by the author of the bill Sen. Roger Roth (R-Appleton), questioned the progress of his bill’s development.
By the end of the interview, Roth indicated “this bill is not going to pass this session and it breaks my heart.” On March 15, the decision by the Wisconsin Joint Committee on Finance, a standing committee consisting of 16 members, formally announced the bill’s rejection.
The rejected bill would have brought advances to the Department of POW MIA Accounting Agency through the University of Wisconsin Missing-in-action Recovery and Identification Project, whose program would receive $360,000 for the 2023-2025 session.
The program brings hope to Roth’s district through testimony shared by one of his 40 family representatives, Jerry Volk-Barry, who expressed her deep convictions to the program during interview.
“As a lifelong Wisconsin resident and UW Madison alumni, I have a very personal connection to the bill Roger Roth authored. I also have a strong connection to the UW MIA Project,” Volk-Barry said at the bill’s public hearing on Dec. 14. “I was named after my uncle, 1st Lt. Jerome A. Volk, who was killed during a low-level bombing mission on Nov. 7, 1951. His remains have never been returned home. My family has not been able to find closure.”
Roth’s bill was rejected without explanation nor did the bill go to the Senate floor for a vote. In retrospect, recalling Roth’s interview, members of the POW MIA community were left without answers.
The Wisconsin Joint Committee on Finance did not publish a press release stating why the bill was rejected only a note on the bill’s history stating “Failed to concur pursuant to Senate Joint Resolution I.”
Requests for interview went out to POW MIA advocacy organization representatives Rolling Thunder Inc. State Liaison Mark Herrmann and Veterans of Foreign Wars Wisconsin State Adjutant David Green, who obliged the request. Interviews were also obliged by Jeri Volk-Barry and University of Wisconsin Missing-in-action Recovery and Identification Project Director Charles Konsitzke regarding the news.
Cold call attempts to the Wisconsin State Capitol sought legislators for comment that ended up being ignored.
Email requests went out to ranking members at the Capitol who had influence with the passage of the bill. A lede led the investigation to a ranking member of the assembly, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Burlington), who ignored the interview email request.
An email extended to Gov. Tony Evers sought his reaction and answers why the bill was rejected. The email request was also ignored.
The bill had bipartisan backing and statewide military community support. Roth as the author received support doubling as a member of the Wisconsin Air National Guard, who spent tours overseas defending his nation.
Still, fear and avoidance turned into silence as the question continues to remain unanswered.
Why did the bill not pass? The primary question the investigation posed. Several trips to the Capitol went without answers. Is the POW MIA issue not an issue?
“With the great advances with science and technology, they have made what was once impossible now possible,” Volk-Barry shared. “Experts today positively identify remains with much less DNA than ever before and this combined with other improvements is a game changer.”
According to Volk-Barry, the game changer is Associate Director Charles Konsitzke at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Biotechnology Center, whose allocation of funds would begin the process of centrally focusing on recovering Wisconsin POW MIA.
His program connects scholars from many fields under one umbrella who travel to crash sites overseas like Volk’s. Volk is located North of the Demilitarized Zone in North Korea where Volk crashed.
Konsitzke’s program can work with foreign leaders bypassing the federal government’s impasse allowing negotiation for the UW MIA Recovery and Identification Project’s program access areas that are off limits.
From a viability standpoint, rejecting the bill comes with a price. Families of the missing rely on a failing program at the federal level who “receives $130 million” according to Roth.
As a collective bargain, the group’s family dynamic connects with research conducted by Konsitzke, legislation brought forward by Roth and advocacy with DPAA as a family member by Volk-Barry.
The group’s Wisconsin Air National guard connect converges through Konsitzke’s dad, who served at Volk Airfield where he grew up. Konsitzke became acquainted with Volk-Barry when his project launched in 2015, who later learned they had crossed paths when he was a child.
Roth brought the POW MIA issue to public hearing as an air guardsman yet, the decision notified him that the POW MIA issue is a federal, not a state issue.
Konsitzke’s research fundamentally provides the University of Wisconsin a chance at developing forensics recovery of ancient DNA and collaboration for student veterans through Konsitzke’s “Boot on the Ground” program.
The UW MIA Recovery and Identification Project focuses its efforts with connecting students with volunteers as one collaborative rescue mission.
With diversity, equity and inclusion at stake, the fundamental decision never took into context the POW MIA are a protected class being represented on all University of Wisconsin campuses.
State legislators failed to recognize funding was not the only item at stake. Inclusion recognizes Konsitzke’s program as a priority for publication and research needs.
“When I talk about these academic backgrounds, the other thing we’re looking at is they’re inspiring families,” Konsitzke shared during interview. “They are giving some type of closure to these individuals so it’s absolutely rewarding. Don’t get me wrong, everything is rewarding in an academic environment.”
Between the fear of public opinion during the upcoming election year and loathing with leaving families on the hook with rejecting of funding, Roth continues raising awareness.
His bill connected a state who supports the POW MIA issue. In conclusion, the investigation recognizes the POW MIA issue is a sensitive issue that will always be priority with Roth wherever his career as a politician leads.
Note: On behalf of the governor’s cabinet, Wisconsin Dept. of Finance Secretary Peter Barca obliged interview. Please click the link below if you are interested in hearing his thoughts.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—5.5.22 is the official launch date for our POW MIA federal lobby.
Team 5.5, founders of the “I Will Not Forget” crowdfund campaign at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, announce we are publishing an expose about the truth regarding rejecting a bill that would bring closure to Wisconsin families of the POW MIA.
Role modeling during the pandemic comes with a price costing veteran organizations time and money needed for investing in new methods of communication.
The swift adjustment to the pandemic derailed community outreach missions. Leaders addressed the needs of membership left without answers during the crisis.
The pandemic forced leaders into developing ways around meeting in person or their organization faced becoming extinct. Uncertainty mixed with unforeseen variables make up the crucible of virtual leadership.
Nonprofit organizations meet the challenges of upgrading their outreach online. Leaders face the frustration of membership shortages with their volunteer labor force. During the pandemic, both the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater shared factors affecting the nonprofit sector resulting from the pandemic.
On page 10, the report shared, “5 percent of nonprofit organizations ceased operations to ‘a great extent,’ 56 percent cancelled major fundraising events, and 53 percent greatly reduced their staff” (2021).
The hardship of being a chapter president and state of Wisconsin liaison for Rolling Thunder Inc. falls on the shoulders of a Vietnam veteran named Mark Herrmann.
Between role modeling crisis leadership and facing the hardship of uncertainty during the pandemic lockdown, statewide senior leaders like Herrmann were forced into confusion while scrambling for resources going into the shutdown.
Organizations went without the means for assembling chapter meetings resulting from a lack of training with upgrading modern technologies and communication methods never used before. Like in combat, communications became a dire need for keeping organizations running for community outreach.
Herrmann collaborated with his local Veterans of Foreign Wars Post with keeping the operation running full speed ahead. Herrmann is the epitome of perseverance, dedication, and guts as a leader during times of crisis.
Besides being a Vietnam veteran who served during the Tet Offensive, Herrmann goes down in history as one of the Wisconsin advocates who brought the POW MIA chair dedication to the Wisconsin State Capitol Rotunda, which originally signed into law in 2020.
The pandemic required the formal dedication ceremony postpone until another date. The Capitol dedicated the chair on Sept. 17, 2021, which was the third Friday of the month honoring POW MIA Recognition Day.
From Vietnam to the pandemic, Herrmann not only helped bring POW MIA legislation forward, but continued acting during a time where Americans stayed at home confined to quarters with COVID-19 no contact orders.
Understanding Herrmann’s leadership role is complex. Being the decision-making authority who doubles as a state of Wisconsin liaison and chapter president requires being on-call all hours of the day as the relay between state chapters and the Rolling Thunder Inc. national organization.
Herrmann’s chapter leads the state of Wisconsin by giving back to the community through cleanup efforts, suicide awareness runs, Memorial Day keynote speaking events, mentoring junior members like Henry Schoepke, while waking up each day with the memories of the Vietnam War and the pandemic aftermath.
Herrmann overcame the impossibility of both Vietnam and the pandemic in his lifetime defining the crucible journey of Herrmann’s legacy. Leading his chapter’s volunteer missions fuels his hope the next generation will step up for those who remain missing.
Herrmann will drop everything for his chapter and will not tolerate the misuse of the Rolling Thunder Inc. brand. Warriors like Herrmann lead with credos, who recently adopted the concept of creating a creed for his chapter’s followership.
The Rolling Thunder Inc. Chapter 5, WI credo states, “Be strong enough to stand alone. Be yourself enough to stand apart. But be wise enough to stand together when the time comes.” An unknown author published the credo.
Unity plays a significant role with Herrmann’s leadership, which began with military service.
Herrmann voluntarily joined the military right out of high school during the toughest times in America when serving received getting spit on at the airport when returning home. Herrmann chose serving in the United States Navy in both blue and brown water, while taking on the danger close mission being a patrol boat river crewmember during Operation Giant Slingshot.
His tours of duty, while recalling his experience, ranged from being the “State Patrol of the Mekong Delta,” where his efforts aided with stopping another Tet Offensive in 1969.
Herrmann indicated he served the operation from Dec. 7, 1968, to April 1969. Remembering the POW MIA is his dedication as a veteran. The POW MIA issue represents the lengths Herrmann will go for those who serve, which is his passion. Herrmann volunteered during the draft and did so with honor despite facing the hardship of returning home.
Herrmann, while sharing his experience during interview, discussed his early years serving as a member of the patrol boat rivers cruising the waters of the Mekong Delta. He shared his passion as a servant-leader while recalling his missions.
His experience with unity described picking up American G.I.s stranded in the jungles in times of duress, which was priority along with dropping off cargo to those serving on the frontlines.
Crisis was his daily diet deployed overseas, which became a part of his second nature entering the pandemic. Role modeling courage for the U.S. Navy in the brown river waters of Vietnam earned sailors like Herrmann the nickname “River Rats.”
The patrol boat river crew consisted of four members ranging from captain to seaman. Communication played a critical role with jamming enemy supply lines and rescuing the lost. From a leadership perspective, Herrmann’s duties required innovation and a quick reaction in times of crisis.
Michael Hackman and Craig Johnson, professors of communication and leadership, authors of Leadership, A Communication Perspective recommend “As a leader, you must fight the tendency to become complacent. Even during periods of relative calm, there are likely to be indications that another crisis is brewing” (2009).
Calm defines Herrmann’s demeanor facing the pandemic during his group’s meeting reports at VFW Post 1318 monthly membership meetings. Herrmann reported the frustrations of the chapter and the issues with bringing forward a POW MIA honorary chair to the Wisconsin State Capitol into legislation. Legislation requires ethical role modeling when approaching legislators.
The Naval Leadership and Ethics Center’s Facilitation Skills Handbook: A Reference Tool for New Facilitators (2017) offers incite regarding the United States Navy’s approach with virtuosity as a leader. The U.S. Navy’s handbook defines decision-making during hardship by reflecting upon toughness stating, “We can take a hit and keep going, tapping all sources of strength and resilience: rigorous training for operations and combat, the fighting spirit of our people, and the steadfast support of our families. We don’t give up the ship” (2017).
Herrmann’s aura upon meeting him demonstrates toughness. As an advocate, his efforts went beyond the call facing the pandemic while seeking legislators for support. He never gave up the ship.
Herrmann, along with his close friend Veterans of Foreign Wars Wisconsin Adjutant David Green, kept the momentum going with bringing the POW MIA chair forward on top of their additional leadership duties. Frustration and fear slowed the process.
Herrmann’s reports at meetings between the state, his chapter, and the VFW Post collaborated and opened lines of communication tasked with meeting with state representatives. Herrmann and Green met with the State of Wisconsin Secretary of the Department of Revenue Peter W. Barca noting he loves wearing purple as his distinguishing attribute.
Barca joined the mission and brought forward the bill that passed. The honorary chair signed into law. Herrmann noted that Barca was a key supporter.
Role models, according to Content Contributor Jennifer V. Miller of People Equation.org, which specializes in developing content strategy, writing, and editing, states “Exemplary leaders know that it’s their behavior that earns them respect.
The real test is whether they do what they say whether their words and deeds are consistent. Leaders set an example and build commitment through simple, daily acts that create progress and build momentum.”
Imagining during interview the 55-year span between the Mekong and the Capitol recalling both the Vietnam rivers and the time spent meeting with state leaders envisioned relentless advocacy, which provided a clear portrait of the work Herrmann invests his time and energy in.
The portrait of Herrmann’s character depicts unwavering dedication, which required guts while facing the momentum of where to turn once America shut businesses down. Guts, along with commitment to perseverance, helped weather the storm of virtual leadership leading Rolling Thunder Inc. of Wisconsin through the crisis.
Commitment takes guts, especially during a time when supply shortages plagued Americans, and legislators had their hands full with crises like horror stories heard from the jungle.
The greatest takeaway from Herrmann’s story was his business sense and strong character. Herrmann keeps cool in times of stress. One could learn the value of facing crisis through a sit-down conversation with a pen and paper about Herrmann’s success.
Upon reflection from our conversation, the two words that come to mind regarding the credo of Herrmann as a role model would be “no sweat.”
Driving away, looking in the review mirror, after leaving the Veterans of Foreign Wars Wisconsin Headquarters, a thought occurred to me. Leaders of the two veteran organizations were groomed in combat.
I will use my combat awareness as a POW MIA advocate recognizing emotional intelligence will help me see through crisis level-headed like Herrmann.
In conclusion, role modeling during hardship are tongue and cheek. Brevity in times of crisis, modeled by Herrmann, demonstrate the role modeling of how one ought to react in the moment.
After witnessing other veteran organizations refuse upgrading their communications online, I watched their treasuries and memberships suffer. Herrmann and I worked together between monthly meetings as staff member and president.
His stories of hardship as a Vietnam veteran shared at meetings, the hope of the POW MIA chair, and the enlightenment of his die-hard attitude contributed to the success of Herrmann’s chapter seeing through one of the most difficult periods in American history.
The Vietnam vet of the Mekong Delta helped navigate combat veterans safely across an entire state like his service on the rivers of Vietnam.
Hackman, Michael Z., and Craig E. Johnson. (2009). Leadership: A Communication Perspective. 5th ed., (pp. 374, 378, 380-406). Waveland Press.
The worker profile was the final paper for COMM 373 Communication Leadership for Dr. Katharine Miller at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. If you are a veteran or student passionate about POW MIA publishing, please fill out the contact form on the Outpost 422 website. We will publish and edit all submissions in a timely manner.