Lady Bugs raise money for local veterans

By Kelsie Hoitomt

Drinking cups turned into bugs? Although that sounds quite impossible, it has in fact been done by Maurice Nolden and his wife Jackie.

For a few years now the Noldens have been taking old drinking cups out of livestock barns and turning them into Lady Bugs with rebar painted legs and antennas.

The bugs are all specially welded together by Maurice and hand painted by Jackie in the traditional Lady Bug red and black. Custom colors have been done as well for Military branches or football teams.

The Noldens first made about six of them and took them to a local restaurant that they frequented. The waitresses all wanted one and soon they themselves had people interested. Before the Noldens knew it, they had made around $500-600.

Maurice and Jackie did not feel right keeping the money so they decided to give it to disadvantaged veterans.

First they set out to give money to one individual veteran, but soon that became too difficult.

Someone then suggested that they take the money to a Veterans’ office so they can disburse the funds where they are needed.

Maurice and Jackie have since been traveling the state of Wisconsin, going around to Veterans’ offices where they walk in and drop a check off; quite a surprise to those behind the counter.

The bugs, which weigh a solid five pounds or more, have become very popular throughout the state. They can be seen on display at several Veteran offices, including one not too far from here.

Gordie Cronk was at the Veterans’ Office in Menomonie when he first saw one of the bugs. He was told the story by Veterans’ Officer Greg Quinn so he set out to find a bunch of drinking cups and did it online at the Smith Sales Auction site.

Once he had the cups, Gordie contacted the Noldens and they made the trip up here from their home in Prairie Du Sac to pick them up and drop off some bugs.

The bugs have been a big hit in Gordie’s shop with a large number already purchased over the past couple of weeks.

Gordie said he is always looking for cups and if anyone has some they would like to donate, he will go out and remove them himself.

The cups will go to the Noldens and in turn they will create a bug, which they sell for $40.

Gordie said that aside from selling them, he is also taking orders so if anyone is interested they can call his shop at 715-265-4913.

To date, the Noldens have donated over $60,000 to Veterans in need. They have been to at least 60 counties and their goal is to make it to all 72 in the state.