Onalaska assisted living facility honors veterans for service

ONALASKA, Wis. (WKBT) — In honor of Veterans Day, an Onalaska assisted living facility is recognizing its veterans for their sacrifices to this country.

This was the first time the American Legion recognized residents who have served in the armed forces, said Janelle Ottens, life enrichment coordinator at SpringBrook Assisted Living.

“It’s very nice to be honored,” Army veteran Orville Larson said.

“I feel very proud to have served,” Army veteran Oscar Carlson.

Carlson and Larson served during the Korean War.

“I was probably never closer than about a half a mile from the fighting,” Carlson said.

“My combat was getting the paperwork done,” Larson said.

These men may not have been on the front lines, but their time overseas contributed to the greater cause.

And now, they and several other veterans at SpringBrook Assisted Living received a certificate and a flag pin.

Also this year, a tribute saluted the veterans who passed away during the pandemic.

“There were a lot of families that weren’t able to do the funeral honors,” Ottens said. “They weren’t able to have funerals for their family members. So, I wanted to really make sure we were able to do that for them…There’s a lot of pride for our veterans in their service…Those are stories they love to share with us.”

Larson says he doesn’t feel like he should be recognized, saying, “I kind of feel like the honor should go to people like Oscar.”

Spoken like a true hero — one of many who made this country a better place.

“Each time you have these ceremonies, they’re a great honor,” Carlson said.

During the Korean War, Larsonwas an intelligence clerk.

Carlson served in the infantry.

Carlson says he was supposed to be on the front lines but was sent to military school instead.

The veterans were also given cupcakes and beer after the ceremony.

Ottens says she would like the American Legion honor its lost veterans every year.

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