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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Paul Dyer Chosen 2013 Legionnaire Of The Year

The Marinette County Council of American Legion has chosen Paul Dyer of Crivitz as their 2013 Legionnaire of the Year, but the honor in fact recognizes his efforts on behalf of the Legion and the entire community for over six decades.

Dyer recently celebrated his 60th anniversary as a Legionnaire. He joined the Netzel-Zenz Legion Post 213 at Crivitz in February of 1953, shortly after being discharged from active duty with the Army and has been an active and involved member of the post ever since.

Marinette County Commander Claire Bolander said he will present Dyer’s award at the annual County Commander’s Dinner Saturday, April 13 at Lynda’s Sky Harbor Supper Club on County W west of Crivitz. Other special guests will include Wisconsin State Commander Wayne Jensen and his wife, Donna.

Dyer was born on Sept. 6, 1928 on a dairy farm in the Town of Lake, and grew up there. He graduated from Marinette High School in 1946 and shortly after that went into the logging business.

That business came to an end when Dyer was drafted into the Army. In January of 1951 he reported for active duty. The Korean War had started just six months earlier. For 14 months Dyer was stationed at Fort Sheridan, Illinois, with Company A, 174th MP Battalion. He was then sent to Korea with Company B, 519th MP Battalion. He was stationed at Wonju for 10 months with the Military Police. Dyer said Wonju was the place the Americans had stopped the last Communist wave from the north, and there wasn’t much left of it by the time his unit arrived, “just two cement buildings and a few mud huts.”

After being honorably discharged at Camp Carson, Colo. on Jan. 15, 1953, Dyer returned home to Crivitz, where he purchased the John Deere Farm Implement Agency. The business was located at what today is the quonset hut adjacent to Crivitz Lumber. To this day, Dyer remains an avid John Deere fan, and continues to enjoy his collection of antique John Deere Farm equipment. He also spent many years raising and selling Christmas trees on his tree farm off county GG in Loomis.

On June 29, 1957 Dyer married Lois Janick. Just two weeks earlier, on June 15, 1957, he had been appointed Crivitz Postmaster. Both the job and the marriage lasted. Dyer continued to serve as postmaster in Crivitz until he retired in 1990, and he and Lois are enjoying retirement at their home in Crivitz.

They have a son, a daughter and four grandchildren.

Son Scott lives in Wausaukee with his wife, Tina. Their children are Ben and Jackie. Jackie attends Northern Michigan University. Ben, the oldest grandchild, is presently a Cavalry Scout with the Army. He is to be discharged soon after spending 13 months in Afghanistan, and is expected home on Saturday, April 6.

Daughter Christina Zeske lives in Peshtigo. Her children are Katie, a freshman at NWTC, and Matthew, who attends Peshtigo High School.

Throughout the years Dyer has been involved in various community organizations and put in countless hours of public service.

Shortly after joining the Crivitz Legion he reorganized their Honor Guard and continues to be responsible for it to this day, 60 years later. Their main responsibility is providing honor guard ceremonies at veteran’s funerals, and Dyer said he has not even attempted to count the number of funerals and parades they have attended. He said last year their unit provided honors at 18 veteran’s funerals in Crivitz. Once there were two in one day. “I was always fortunate to have a job where I could get away for a few hours during the day,” Dyer commented.

He said paying tribute at a funeral is the last thing anyone can do for a veteran, and he is proud to have had the privilege of doing that for so many years. The Honor Guard also marches in parades regularly, including the state convention parade in Green Bay.

Through his 60 years of membership in Crivitz Legion Post 413 Dyer has handled numerous offices and responsibilities, in addition to the Honor Guard. He served as post commander for three years, reorganized the Legion July 4 parade and picnics, started the post’s birthday dinner celebrations, served on the committee that purchased land and built the club house, helped build two cabins that were sold to raise money for the clubhouse building fund, and helped sell raffle tickets on a regular basis for various Legion projects and fund raisers.

Dyer’s community services sound like they would keep several men busy. In 1962 he was elected to Crivitz School Board and served as a member for 12 years, 10 of them as clerk.

In 1972 he was asked to help incorporate the Village of Crivitz. As a village, rather than just part of the town, community leaders had the authority to make the decisions that affected them. He said villages get better road aids than towns, so they were able to take better care of village streets. Also, at the time there were problems with water and sewer. Those problems threatened the continued existence of Thompson Ski Factory, which at the time was the largest employer in the village. As village president Dyer was instrumental in helping resolve those problems. Under his direction the fledgling village replaced the old lagoon system with a new wastewater treatment plant, drilled wells for a brand new village water system, and renewed and expanded the sewer system. There were some political storms along the way, Dyer said, “But we survived and Crivitz is prospering today. It was a great honor to have the business park and a street named for me.”

He also served on the Marinette County Zoning Board of Appeals and the long range planning committees for both Crivitz and Marinette County. He is a past member of Crivitz Lions Club, 40&8, Crivitz Community Choir, Crivitz Rescue Squad, Loomis Historical Society and the Marinette County Social Services Board.

In addition to his civic and Legion duties, Dyer is a member of St. Mary Catholic Church and sings in the church choir. He is also a member of VFW Post 2063, Loomis Historical Society, National Rifle Association, and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. For 23 years he indulged his love of singing as a member of the Baylander Barbershop Chorus of Green Bay. He was a charter member of the Crivitz Sister Cities organization and he and Lois went to Crivitz Germany as representatives of Crivitz Wisconsin in 2001.

As to being chosen Legionnaire of the Year for 2013, Dyer commented, “It has been an honor and a privilege to be a member of the American Legion, knowing I have helped improve the lives of veterans throughout the nation, as well as contributing to the welfare of our community.”


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