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Dedication of Highway 128 as a Veterans Memorial Highway set for Saturday at Fairgrounds

GLENWOOD CITY — Back in June of 2013 Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed a bill, which designates State Highway 128 as the 128th Infantry Memorial Highway to honor the members of that regiment.

At the south end of the St. Croix County Fairgrounds in Glenwood City there is a sign designating Highway 128 as a Veterans Memorial Highway.

On Saturday there will be a 22-mile march, starting at the fairgrounds, by veterans which is scheduled to start at 7 a.m. Veterans, some with back packs, will march eleven miles south on Highway 128 and then return to Glenwood City.

The march will conclude between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. with a dedication of the site by Senator Sheila Harsdorf and other dignitaries.

The idea of Highway 128 becoming a Memorial Highway started in 2011 when a retired Wisconsin National Guard soldier set a goal about the highway.

That was Mike Hanke’s goal when he began this project. A retired sergeant first class from Chippewa Falls, Hanke enlisted in the Wisconsin National Guard’s 32nd Brigade in 1983, served four years before transferring to active duty from 1987 to 1990. Ten years later he rejoined the Wisconsin Army National Guard, deploying twice to Iraq with the 1st Battalion, 128 Infantry.

“Shortly after I returned fro my second deployment, I was driving on I-94 west of Menomonie and passed the Highway 128 exit,” Hanke said. “That highway passes through the heart of where units of the 1st Battalion, 128th Infantry are located. I knew that the 32nd Division was honored with a highway in eastern Wisconsin and felt that the 128th deserved similar recognition.”

“I traveled to Madison to testify before two legislative committees,” Hanke said. “I explained the history of the regiment and where its units were located in relation to the highway.”