SLC alum driving force behind park re-dedication

Posted On July 12, 2017

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By Suzanne Weiss/Director of Public Relations

MANITOWOC, Wis. — Silver Lake College alumnus Edgar Hansen, founder and president of Friends of Red Arrow Park Inc., is among those helping to ready the park for its re-dedication celebration from 9 a.m. to noon on July 15.

The morning will include a gathering of 32nd Red Arrow Berlin Crisis veterans and a ceremony at the new memorial brick area starting at 10:30 a.m. 

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Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Hansen of the Wisconsin Army National Guard graduated from Silver Lake College in 1997 with a Master of Science degree in management and organizational behavior and in 1984 with a Bachelor of Arts in business administration-management.

The re-dedication is important to him “because as Command Sergeant Major of the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, I — along with now-retired Col. Steve Bensend — took the team to Iraq in 2009-10, the first time they were deployed since World War II," he said.

"Most importantly, one of the responsibilities of the Command Sergeant Major is to pass on the history of the division and the brigade, to keep and tell the story of those who went before,” said Hansen, who grew up in Manitowoc and recalled playing on the cannons in the park.

During the mid-1950s, the park was renamed in honor of the Red Arrow Division because it was one of the finest infantry divisions in World Wars I and II, and was made up primarily of Wisconsin and Michigan National Guard units, he said.

The history of Red Arrow has been forgotten, Hansen said, but he’s trying to change that.

Guest speakers at the ceremony will include Maj. Gen. Donald P. Dunbar, commander of the Wisconsin Army and Air National Guard, and Manitowoc Major Justin Nickels.

A centerpiece of the park is a mural on the side of the historic Richter Vinegar Plant, 1819 S. 9th St. The mural, a collaborative effort between Silver Lake College art faculty members Erin LaBonte and David Carpenter, and artist Justin Baldwin, was completed in the summer of 2016.

Measuring 30-35 feet in each direction, the mural captures the likeness of Spc. 4th Class D.F. Hirsch of the 32nd Infantry, which became known as the Red Arrow Division during World War I. A line shot through with a red arrow, the emblem of the 32nd Infantry Division, is painted next to the soldier’s image. The arrow signifies the division’s tenacity in piercing every German line during the war.

TOP PHOTO: Debbie Hardy, from left, Chris Isherwood, Edgar Hansen, David Carpenter, Justin Baldwin, Jorge Tello, John Kuehn, Bobby Jagemann, Erin LaBonte, Scott Remaker, Mayor Justin Nickels and Vinny the dog are shown in front of the Red Arrow mural in this 2016 photo. Photo by Amy Hanson