30 Runs to Remember in honor of the West Bend Veterans Honor Guard. Logo from American Companies. There's a background with stars.

30 Runs to Remember – Day 1

December 2, 2023

Saturday December 2nd is the kickoff of 30 Runs to Remember. We will remember local heroes for the next 30 days ending with our December 31st run at the Kewaskum 911 Memorial which will mark 30 years of not missing a day of running. I have been blessed greatly for health and luck over the past 30 years and am very proud that the Run has become a major fundraiser for the Kewaskum Remembers 911 Memorial.

Longtime Rettler Run Sponsor, American Companies is honoring the West Bend Veterans Honor Guard. The Honor Guard is made up of veterans from the VFW, Vietnam Vets of America, American Legion, Disabled American Veterans and Korean War.  The Honor Guard is recognized as a Veterans Service Organization which means among other services, they provide Military Funeral Protocol services to around 70 funerals per year. By law, military units are required to provide, at a minimum, a two-person uniformed detail to present the core elements of a funeral honors ceremony. This includes the playing of Taps and the folding and presentation of the U.S. flag. A uniformed representative from the veteran’s service will present the flag.

I recently sat down with John Kleinmaus to talk about the Honor Guard and the services they provide. John is the Quartermaster for the VFW Fred A. Schaefer Post 1393. John is very proud of his fellow Honor Guard members and told me he has no problem covering an average of 70 funerals per year. The members are very proud to provide the services at funerals and he spoke about some of his more elderly members who may be in the hospital one day and providing military services at a funeral the next day. He talked about not having problems getting volunteers even when weather can be bitterly cold. When I was visiting with John an individual showed up to pick up a flag for her mother’s funeral. John explained that most funeral homes assist with acquiring a flag and securing a Honor Guard but some do not. In this case John helped the individual secure a flag and even offered up his Honor Guards services if the individual needed some help. He offered to follow up with the cemetery to see if another Honor Guard had been secured. This particular funeral was going to be held in Milwaukee. John and the rest of the Honor Guard is passionate about proving the best service possible to any veteran that qualifies for a Military Protocol Funeral.

A group of VFW veterans holding flags and rifles in their honor guard uniforms standing in front of a buliding.

The Honor Guard also presents the flag at various events around Washington County and they also are willing to do presentations in schools. It doesn’t matter the age of the students; the members adjust their presentations to the audience.

John also talked about two essay writing contests that are available to students. Patriots Pen is a program designed for middle schoolers and Voice of Democracy is available to High School students. This past year over 150 students wrote essays. John coordinates both of these efforts locally.

Congratulations to the West Bend Veterans Honor Guard for being the first group recognized as part of the 30 Runs to Remember. The community is grateful for your service.

Today’s sponsor American Companies was founded by United States Army veteran Konstantyn “Kons” Sadownikow in 1980. Kons ran his business with the following motto; Word hard, work honest, what else is there. Kraig Sadownikow joined his father in 1997 as the company’s first full-time hire. His entrepreneurial spirit has led American Companies to add a design and engineering firm, carpentry team, and complete project management staff. In addition to leading the core business, Kraig has worked to develop and coordinate multiple real estate investment groups throughout Wisconsin and the Midwest. He feels investing directly in projects with trusted equity partners has been valuable for all involved.

Kraig Sadownikow added “’American’ is our name for a reason.  We have deep respect for this country and those who have served to protect it. 

Immigrating at the age of eight from Serbia, my father knew the United States as the land opportunity. Those who are willing to work hard can achieve success, however they may choose to define it.  He also knows maintaining this opportunity does not come easy. Great sacrifices have been made so that we may enjoy the freedoms of today. 

American companies is proud to support the West Bend veterans honor guard who know of these sacrifices firsthand. The respect they continue to show their fellow servicemen and women is humbling and serves to remind us all that freedom is not free.”

For more information visit their website at https://www.teamacs.net/