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It took Thomas three months to convince Fritz Boda to donate his uniform.
Legion Curator Donna Wilhelms is in charge of caring for the uniforms and the mannequins.
Thomas comes from a long line of men who served in the military. He was 17 years old when he joined the Navy, and he spent 19 months in Brazil as an aviation radioman second class.
Showing respect for the uniform
helps me give service to our veterans it's a way to give back to them," Blake said.
The mannequins are decked out in full uniform, donated by veterans from the Fond du Lac community. Terry Blake, Thomas' stepdaughter, puts together documents explaining Nike Ladies Tracksuit Bottoms what each medal and patch on the uniform represents (Purple Heart, service medals, infantry badge, etc.)
To World War II veteran Jerry Thomas, military uniforms are as sacred as the American flag.
In total about $3,000 is enough to purchase 10 additional mannequins. An addition was built onto the hall to store each mannequin in its own stall. Some uniforms are on display in the foyer.
fighting the German wolf pack submarines torpedoing our ships and convoys," he said.
"What kind of education do the kids get about the life of a soldier? They don't get it in history books at school. How can they learn what a veteran really goes through and experiences," he said.
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"The next day, I went to Brauer's clothing store and talked them into selling me two mannequins, and I got my uniforms out and put them out there at the club. That's how it started," Thomas said.
One day a few years back, he was discussing the subject with his pals around the bar at the American Legion Post in Fond du Lac.
He told the guys both his Army and Navy uniforms were stored in a cedar closet, in pristine condition.
"I never knew he had served in the Army for 30 years he never talked about it. He has rows and rows of ribbons and decorations. He was a master sergeant a top dog. We have his dress blue uniform. It's the kind you wear to a general's cocktail party invitation only," Thomas said.
"I wondered what happened to uniforms after men and women come home from the military. Do they end up in the garbage? As shoe shine rags?" the 85 year old Thomas said.
Upon discharge, he turned around and enlisted in the Army Air Force and served another 2 years.
This past school year, 100 students came in to view original equipment from World War II and to talk with veterans. Thomas said the kids were thrilled.
That was in 2008. 11.
Then a light bulb went off in his head.
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The green beret uniform of his brother in law, Marty Leidolf, is among those on display. Leidolf served in Africa with General George Patton and was awarded the Silver Star for heroism.
This year she and her stepfather have been working on putting together stories of the individuals and their service.
"I dress them and undress them, and get them ready for special events. I keep the inventory, keep them clean and take in the donations," she said.
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