A Patriot Day awards ceremony was held by the Wausau American Legion Post 10 at Bunkers in Wausau on September 11, 2021. The post annually recognizes individuals and businesses that have demonstrated a commitment to serving either the public or veteran organizations throughout the year. This year’s recipients are:

Youth of the Year – Brookelynn Yunk

Brookelynn paints and decorates rocks with military service symbols on them for veterans   and recently added police and fire personal to her list of recipients. She recently was nominated and received the Disabled American Veterans Youth Service Award for her efforts. 

Business of the Year- Brickners of Wausau- Jerry Brickner

For several years, Jerry Brickner of Brickner’s of Wausau has supported our post. Most notably he worked with us on our biggest projects. The purchase of a plow truck for the Camp American Legion and a truck for our Honor Guard. This partnership provided significant savings allowing the post to increase support of other veteran programs. 

Citizen of the Year- Thom Passow

Thom Passow is active on many post committees and is a volunteer that provides exceptional service to our community.  He is involved with and organizes events, services and projects that benefit those in need of assistance in our area.  One of his most notable projects was delivering meals to veterans during the COVID pandemic. When it was all said and done, the post delivered over 2500 meals to our veterans and their families so they could stay safe at home. 

Protective Services of the Year- Lt. Mark Wagers

Our Protective Services Award recognizes an individual that has gone above and beyond in a public services career.  Mark Wagers is a Patrol Lieutenant at the Marathon County Sheriff’s Office.  He has had a very active career at the sheriff’s office. In addition to supervising dayshift patrol deputies, he is the Dive Team Commander and had previously served as the Crisis Negotiations Team Leader. Mark has had many more duties in the department as well as being a criminal justice instructor.  Lt. Wager’s leadership and passion to serve our citizens is evident to all of those he works with.  He is a great example of what this award stands for

Legionnaire of the Year- Mike Heilmann

One of the best things about being in organization like the American Legion is the great things we can do for our fellow veterans, our community and our service members.  Mike Heilmann recently came to Post 10 after a long career in the Media.  He has a detailed understanding of publicity and marketing and how to apply it to our post. Something we have been missing for a long time. In a short time, he has done an incredible job of increasing our visibility and promoting the good work we do.  His contact with our local media outlets has grown our public awareness unbelievably.  One of the first things Mike took over was our social media. In a short time, Mike has increased our view ship from a handful of people to over 700 followers. He does this for other veteran organizations as well and is able to share information on a much larger platform. 

Story and photo’s courtesy of Mike Heilmann