The Highground Veterans Memorial Park

Dedicated to women Air Force service pilots who served in WWII, a statue of a woman pilot looking skyward honors the efforts of the WASPs at The Highground. A World War II memorial can be seen in the background.

A Neillsville park will host a June 29 “Freedom Celebration Day” to honor the 75th anniversary of D-Day, raise money for homeless veterans and bring the community together.

The Highground Veterans Memorial Park, W7031 Ridge Rd., Neillsville is hosting the family-friendly, free event.

Freedom Celebration Day will include a World War II D-Day living history display, raffle, homeless veteran collection drive, food, music and an annual fireworks display at dusk.

The World War II Living History, coordinated for the Highground by Troy Buddenhagen of La Crosse, will focus on D-Day. There will be displays of the type of military items that would have been present on that day 75 years ago, along with uniformed presenters speaking to visitors on the experiences of the 4th Infantry Division at Utah Beach and the 1st Inf. Div. at Omaha Beach.

The living history “camp” and presenters will welcome visitors 10 a.m.-6 p.m. June 29.

The Kokosz family of Illinois have supported the Highground for years, bringing an ever-increasing raffle each fall, with all proceeds going to The Highground. The Kokoszes have selected Freedom Celebration Day for the raffle this year.

There will be 70 raffle baskets, additional silent auction items and a number of grand prizes raffled off. Baskets and prizes include sporting goods, outdoor items, tech baskets, cooking, household décor and more. Grand prizes are a handmade quilt and a six-person tent.

The raffle will be held rain or shine, beginning at 10 a.m. Winning tickets will be drawn and announced at 6:30 p.m.

The Kokosz family will also be serving chili and hot dogs from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

With the help of Trunkel Trailers, The Highground has obtained an enclosed trailer that makes it possible to expand its collection for homeless veterans needs to a year-round effort.

A goal of Freedom Celebration Day is to fill the trailer with donated items. The Highground will be accepting donations of packages of new socks and underwear, small personal toiletries (travel size), sleeping bags, and disposable hand warmers with expiration dates that are after January 2020.

These items will be distributed quickly to homeless veterans and veterans in need in many different local areas.

Hardee’s of Neillsville, Colby and Medford have raised money to fund The Highground fireworks display. In addition, Hardee’s will have a food tent at Freedom Celebration Day 4-9 p.m. with all proceeds going to the Highground.

Red Higgins & Freedom Train, a Northwoods country music band, will be performing at The Highground 5-6:30 p.m. Boogie & the Yo-Yoz will be performing 7-9 p.m.

For more information on The Highground and Freedom Celebration Day, visit www.thehighground.us or call 715-743-4224.

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