(La Crosse, Wis.) – The La Crosse River Marsh gives a home to abundant wildlife, serves as a critical wetland that prevents flooding, and provides local residents with a variety of recreational opportunities. However, for some folks it also serves as a place to dump garbage and refuse. As part of the La Crosse community’s Earth Day cleanup efforts, 145embers of the La Crosse Composite Squadron joined forces with volunteers from around the community.
This year marked the fifth year the squadron help out in the community effort. One of the sites the unit helped at was Red Cloud Park. The park’s namesake was Corporal Mitchell Red Cloud, Jr. Corporal Red Cloud served in the Korean War, was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Valor, and was a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation.
The squadron divided into teams to cover the more than five acres of parkland. The terrain proved challenging as it included marshland, steep hillsides, and heavily wooded areas. During the event the members also worked on radio communications skills under the guidance of SM Mike Dewitt, the unit’s Communications Officer. “We wanted to be a part of the community effort today, but that doesn’t mean we can’t work on other training as well,” comments Major Todd Mandel, the unit’s commander.
After completing the work the teams took their collected garbage to a central dumping point where the waste was sorted into recycling piles. Overall the teams worked for more than three hours and collected refuse including taking an entire package of hypodermic needles off the street.