By Kris Leonhardt
MARSHFIELD — Four retired members of the American Legion Honor Guard — Lawrence and Matt Pankratz, Jim Jirschele, and Cliff Rogney — were venerated during an event held Sept. 14 at American Legion Post 54.
The Honor Guard provides military honors for local veterans when they pass away.
Lawrence is a 98-year-old veteran of the United States Army. As a member of the National Guard Company C, he served as a rifleman and truck driver during World War II.
The Hewitt native returned to the Marshfield area after the war, joined the Legion, and is now a 59-year member who served for 50 years in the Honor Guard.
“I was a farmer, and I had time during the day,” said Lawrence. “Those that were working had to take off work. It was a firing squad at the time.
“I think that I am the oldest surviving member in Marshfield from Company C. We did five campaigns.”
Matt, Lawrence’s 90-year-old brother, is a veteran of the United States Army, where he served as a Jeep driver.
Matt worked as a farmer in the town of Marshfield before taking a position with the United States Postal Service. After retiring from the post office, Matt joined the American Legion and served 37 years with the Honor Guard.
Jirschele is a veteran of the United States Navy. He was born and raised in Marshfield but moved to Milwaukee to work for Harley-Davidson.
The 77-year-old later returned to Marshfield and has been a member of the American Legion for 18 years and part of the Honor Guard for 16 years.
“I enjoyed it. We helped honor those that died,” said Jirschele.
Rogney was recognized at the ceremony but unable to attend due to health issues.
The Marshfield Legion Honor Guard currently has 18 members. The group averages 50 funerals per year.