Editor’s note: Wausau Pilot & Review gladly publishes commentary from readers, residents and candidates for local offices. The views of readers and columnists are independent of this newspaper and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wausau Pilot & Review. To submit, email editor@wausaupilotandreview.com or mail to 500 N. Third St., Suite 208-8, Wausau, Wis. 54403.

Dear editor,

In response to Kevin Hermening’s comment on a Facebook post in “Parents for Wausau Schools ReOPENING” around September 24th, 2020 …

Kevin Hermening, who is Mosinee School Board President wrote “Tricia Zunker as Wausau School Board President is a waste of physical space on this planet. She is heartless, doesn’t understand science, hasn’t read a single research article about the failure of online schooling in the spring.” (See screenshot, below.) This is a very unprofessional commentary for a school board president. Calling another human being a waste of physical space is “bullying.” What is this man teaching our youths?

Facebook screen grab, Sept. 24, 2020

Mr. Hermening also makes references to Tricia’s Congressional run on November 3rd. To add further insult he states, “Ms. Zunker, I’m sure by now you realize you will lose both your November election (by about 20 points) and in April 2021 your school board election (by about 35 points).  Though I’m guessing you will not be anywhere around Wausau by that time.” Why is Kevin Hermening adding politics to the online schooling equation?

Kevin Hermening where were you on November 4th, 1979? I’ll remind you that you were in Iran. At the time I was a 19-year-old Milwaukee girl horrified by the news of an Oak Creek Marine being held hostage in Iran. It was upsetting to me and others my age. We prayed for your safe return home to Wisconsin and followed your story daily. I worked at Saint Luke’s Hospital and you were often the topic of conversation. We felt sad for your mom and as the public offered words of support to her. The day the Iran hostages were released we all watched for you on the news. We cheered we when saw you walking back to freedom.

Sadly, Mr. Hermening, you forgot those who supported you and why. We supported you, because you are a fellow US citizen. The thought of this country going to war at that time was not an option. The only option was saving the lives of all those being held and bringing them back home.

Ms. Zunker is not a waste of physical space. She is a valued human being just like you were many years ago. Never once did anyone say we should go to war with Iran regardless if the hostages were killed. Today our entire country is being held captive by Covid -19. On April 19th someone said to me that “5% of the population dying is worth saving our economy.” They told me I’d never find others to agree with me. I disagreed. I sat down and started a Facebook group called “We Support Gov. Evers and Safer at Home Order.” At the end of the first week we had over 18,000 members! Today we have over 21,500 members who value human lives. Ms. Zunker is a woman who values human lives.

Tricia Zunker is a very smart articulate compassionate person who cares about the teachers, staff and children of the Wausau School District. She is also passionate about education. During this difficult time she along with other school board members needed to make a choice: education versus health. They have decided to protect the lives of students and staff first while working on ways to better the education of students through virtual learning. Change takes time. If this saves even one life it is worth it, just as we chose many years ago to pray for your life and safe return.

Ms. Zunker does understand the science. She knows that Covid can take the life of a loved in the blink of an eye. She has personally felt this pain. I know many people who are grieving those they lost to Covid-19. This last week Wisconsin became the number one Covid-19 HOT SPOT!

It saddens me Mr. Hermening that you are not a humble man due to the trauma you endured many years ago. What you wrote is the words of a bitter angry man. My advice is … DO NOT mix politics with the education of students.

Mary Hoefs, Abootsford