|
|
Granite Falls Advocate Tribune - Granite Falls, MN
  • Special Veteran’s Day program

  • An address from a Vietnam POW promises to make this make this Monday’s Veteran’s Day events particularly memorable.

    On Monday, Air Force pilot Col. Don Heiliger will provide the keynote speech at Yellow Medicine East High School’s annual Veteran’s Day Celebration to be held in Espeland Gym at 10:00 a.m.
    • email print
    • About Heiliger
      Wisconsin born Don Heiliger received an Air Force ROTC commission through the University of Wisconsin in 1958 where he earned a degree in accounting. He served as a navigator-instructor and later e...
      » Read more
      X
      About Heiliger
      Wisconsin born Don Heiliger received an Air Force ROTC commission through the University of Wisconsin in 1958 where he earned a degree in accounting. He served as a navigator-instructor and later earned his pilot wings at Webb AFT Texas, Class 65-F, graduating first in his class. Flying the Republic F-105 Thunderchief fighter-bomber out of Korat AB, Thailand, he was shot down on his 43rd mission over North Vietnam on 15 May 1967 and spent nearly six years there as a Prisoner-of-War.



      Repatriated in 1973, Don earned a Masters Degree from George Washington University. He was three times Air Force Attache--first to Uruguay and then to Chile and, lastly, as both Defense and Air Attache, the senior military representative to the State of Israel. Don retired as a Colonel in August 1985 and worked as a vice president of an international marketing firm in Washington, D.C.



      Don and his wife, Cheryl, moved back to Wisconsin in 1987 to raise their three sons, Don, Jr. (32) and twins Dan and Dave (27). Between 1992 and 2004, Don was elected to six two-year terms on the Dane County Board during which he chaired the Public Protection and Judiciary Committee for four years.

      From 1993 to 2000 Don served as the elected Clerk of the Town of Dunkirk and again later served as appointed Clerk of the Township. Don was on the Madison Area Technical College Board of Trustees for ten years and in 1999 was appointed by Governor Tommy Thompson to serve on the State Board for Veterans Affairs, serving as chairman in 2002.



      Don is past-president of Stoughton Rotary and now serves on the Board of Trustees of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod.
  • An address from a Vietnam POW promises to make this make this Monday’s Veteran’s Day events particularly memorable.
     
    On Monday, Air Force pilot Col. Don Heiliger will provide the keynote speech at Yellow Medicine East High School’s annual Veteran’s Day Celebration to be held in Espeland Gym at 10:00 a.m.
    Granite Falls VFW member Ray Pederson became acquainted with Heiliger and his story during a chance encounter at a church convention this past June. Later Pederson would ask Heiliger to provide the address for the local Veteran’s Day program, recognizing an important message within Heiliger courageous story.

    ”What he went through is something that no man should have to experience,” said Pederson. “People need to know the price that was paid. What he went through, the sacrifices that man has made, so that we have the freedoms we do.”
    Heiliger was shot down in North Vietnam on May, 15 1967 and would go on to spend nearly the next six years as a prisoner of war in Hanoi. There, he would undergo incredible physical and mental strain, but also find solace in life-long bonds forged with fellow POWs.
    After his release, Heiliger chose to stay in the Air Force and earned his master’s degree in international relations.
    According to Pederson, Ron Fagen has offered to fly out to Heiliger’s hometown of Madison, Wisconsin  over the weekend to pick him up for Monday’s proceedings. In addition to his Veteran’s Day address that morning, Heiliger will also speak during the evenings Veterans Dinner.

        calendar