• Welcome to Price County Wisconsin!  

  • Phillips Hometown Hero Banner Project

    Supporting Our Local Veterans

    This project allows our community to show our pride and appreciation to all local servicepeople who have served in the armed forces. 

    Hometown Hero Banners are displayed on 17 light poles along Lake Avenue (Highway 13) in Phillips. Each banner is two-sided 24”x48” (2x4) with a photo of the veteran, name and branch of military. Banners will be displayed from Memorial Day through Veterans Day.

    Banner cost is $100.00 for each 24”x48” banner and includes the hardware and hanging of banners by the City of Phillips. Each honoree is be featured on the Phillips Area Chamber of Commerce website under the Hometown Heroes tab with the option of including a statement of service provided by the applicant. Donation/Sponsorship may be available for families wishing to take part in the Hometown Banner Project but cannot afford to pay the cost/full cost of the banner. Banners will be available for pick up by the applicant at the chamber office after they are taken down in November. Banners must be picked up at the office and will not be mailed. The chamber is not responsible for any damage to the banners once they have been displayed.

    Veteran Criteria: Any honorably discharged veteran or ones who gave their life serving in the armed services, including those currently on active duty in the armed services.  They must live or have lived in the Phillips Area (54555) or attended school in the School District of Phillips.

    Applications: Applications will be available at the Phillips Area Chamber of Commerce Office and on the Chamber website.  Applications will be accepted from February 15, 2025, to April 15, 2025, and will be processed in the order received. Each application must include the veteran’s name, military branch and era of service.  Please submit a military photo with application or send a scanned photo to the email address listed below. (Photos will be returned). After the first 17 applications have been accepted the remaining submitted applications will have the option to be saved for use the following banner season.

    2025 Phillips Hometown Hero Application

    Cash, Check or Money Order for $100.00 made out to PACC Hometown Hero Project can be mailed or dropped off at:

                    Phillips Area Chamber of Commerce

                    ATTN: Hometown Hero Project

                    305 S Lake Avenue

                    Phillips, WI 54555


    Signing the application and submitting a photo gives the Phillips Area Chamber of Commerce permission to use the photo.

    Once the information is processed and is available for view in the computerized format a second approval will be required prior to the actual printing of the banner. No banner will be processed without completed information, payment in full and confirmation of information by the April 15, 2025 deadline.

    Thank you for supporting our local hometown heroes. Please contact the Phillips Area Chamber of Commerce at 715-339-4100 or chamber@phillipswisconsin.net with any questions.


    Phillips Hometown Heroes 2024

  • Robert Habel

    United States Army

    Spec 4

    1971 – 1973


    Mark Janko

    United States Army – Desert Storm


    1990 – 2001


    Joseph “Doc” Kucaba

    United States Army Infantry 95th Div.

    TEC4 Medic

    World War II

    Pa, Ma, and the children sat around the battery powered radio to listen to an update on the war raging in Europe.  In May, 1942 Joe Kucaba was drafted to fill Price County’s draft quota.  Joe left the farm in Harmony (Catawba, Wisconsin) to train as a Surgical Technician/Army Medic. As a medic Joe carried different kinds of basic first aid equipment such as sulfa powder, bandages and morphine for pain killer. As told by Joe’s friend, Ernest Link, “Medics did not carry firearms, depending on the enemy to respect the Red Cross on their helmet and arm band. From personal experience, however, this respect was not always accorded”. 1 It is certain that Joe performed his duties selflessly under constant threat of enemy gunfire. Following training, Joe was assigned to the 377th Regimental Medical Detachment, 95th Division, part of General Patton’s Third Army in France.  Joe came home on leave just before he was shipped overseas.  Joe left the United States on August 9, 1944, via troop ship and landed in France a few days later.  

    The 95th Division came to be known as “The Iron Men of In Metz,” a moniker that follows The Division to this day. The liberation of the French City of Metz included an especially fierce battle for a hilltop position known as Chateau Brieux before advancing on the City of Metz proper. Joe undoubtedly witnessed unimaginable carnage during that battle, as the 377th took large numbers of casualties. While resting at a forward position waiting for the assault on Metz, Joe struck up a conversation with the GI lying on a nearby mattress. As they exchanged information, they came to realize that both were from the Town of Harmony, Price County, WI. The GI was Ernest “Ernie” Link, from Phillips, a man whose family farm was about 10 miles from the Kucaba farm.  They each recognized the family names but until that evening, had never met. They talked for hours, as duties permitted, and became best of friends. Ernie prepared a memoir in 1998 which detailed his first assignment to retrieve the fallen American soldiers on the battlefield around the Chateau. His description of those recovered attests to the heroism of medics like Joe, who braved bullets, mortars, and artillery fire while attempting to assist the wounded and dying. It’s no wonder that all medics serving on the battlefield were revered by the infantrymen, because they are the first line of medical treatment when a soldier is injured and may be the last calming voice they hear before dying. On November 20, 1944, a shot grazed Ernie’s knee. Another sniper bullet creased Ernie’s back near the spine.  Joe provided Ernie with medical attention.  Joe told Ernie the bullet that had creased his back was about an inch away from life paralysis or perhaps death. With Joe’s help and despite the close call, Ernie returned to duty. The next day Ernie’s platoon went on a reconnaissance mission.  A sniper bullet struck the “I” Company lieutenant’s arm and another sergeant’s leg.  Both were treated by Joe Kucaba and then evacuated.  “Over a period of two weeks, the company received 175 replacements, indicating an extremely high casualty rate. …”.  2 A “full Company” comprises 200 soldiers. Thus, in two weeks, the casualty rate for “I” Company was 87.5%. The fact that both Joe and Ernie survived the war without serious injury is truly remarkable.

    The European conflict ended May 8, 1945, when Allied troops from the west met up with Russian forces from the east in Berlin.  Joe came home for a 30-day furlough expecting to report back to the Pacific Theatre to help with the war against Japan.  The 95th Division was in training awaiting assignment to the Pacific when victory over Japan was won on August 15, 1945.  On October 6, 1945, in Shelby, Mississippi, Joe was officially discharged from the Army.


  • Robert Hynek

    United States Army

    Staff Sargeant

    1945 – 1947

    Robert joined the Army in 1945 after graduating from Phillips High School that same year.  He trained at Camp Lee, Virginia.



    John Johnson

    United States Army


    Feb. 3, 1954 – Jan. 28, 1956


    Ernest G. Link

    United States Army Infantry 95th Div.

    Staff Sargeant

    World War II

    In 1995, my Dad, Ernest Link, revisited some of the areas where he fought during World War II

    as part of the 50 th Anniversary of the liberation of the French city of Metz. Following that visit,

    he gathered the courage to write down some of his experiences in a memoir entitled “On The

    Line, Memoirs of a GI.” In the opening of the manuscript was this entry: “I wish this to honor

    the men of all combat infantry units who sacrificed their lives for their comrades, their military

    units, and their country. According to the Apostle John, Jesus said ‘Greater love has no man than

    this, that a man lay down his life for his friends…’ Ernest G. Link 1995”

    Ernest G. Link, “Ernie” was born and raised on Link Road in the Town of Harmony, Price

    County. His parents were George E. and Emma M. Link. The road was named for his

    grandfather, G. Nicholas Link, who homesteaded there in 1894. Ernie enlisted in the US Army

    in 1944. His parents were not opposed to the enlistment, but they worried for his safety, as all

    parents of service members do. He trained at various locations prior to being sent to Europe.

    Ernie boarded a troop ship for England on September 16, 1944. The ship weighed anchor on

    September 18, and the journey across the Atlantic lasted about 8 days. Once in England and

    after several intermittent stops, Ernie’s unit was assigned to “I” Company, 3 rd Battalion, 377 th

    Regiment, 95 th Division on November 9, 1944. At that time, the Division was under the

    command of General George S. Patton.

    Many harrowing days and weeks followed, but one of the most memorable came when Ernie was

    slightly wounded by two bullets fired by a German sniper. Someone called for the unit medic to

    “patch up” his wounds. As it would turn out, that medic was none other than Joseph Kucaba Jr.,

    from Catawba. Ernie had heard the Kucaba name, but never met the family, even though they

    grew up less than 10 miles apart. “Doc” (as all medics were called) and Dad became instant

    friends, spending as much time together as possible as the war raged on. Ernie and Doc ended

    up spending over 100 days “on the line,” experiencing horrors that would forever change their

    lives (e.g. although Ernie was raised hunting rabbits, deer, etc., he lost all desire to hunt or kill

    anything ever again). Many of those horrors are recounted in Ernie’s memoir. One positive

    experience of the war was the chance meeting of Doc and Ernie. They became great friends,

    with Doc eventually serving as Best Man at Ernie’s wedding in 1950.

    Unbeknownst to anyone until completion of his memoir, Ernie’s son, John, would end up deer

    hunting with Doc’s nephews, Ron and John Kucaba, along with Doc’s great-nephew, Craig

    Kucaba in the 1990’s. The Kucaba-Link connection remains strong to this day. “Thanks Doc,

    for taking care of Dad during the most difficult time in history. Very Sincerely, John Link.”

    If you are interested, a copy of “On the Line, Memoirs of a GI” is available as a digital file.

    Simply email jelink@netnet.net, and I will forward a copy. There is no charge for the digital file.



  • Ludwig “Laddie” Habel

    United States Navy

    Phamacist Mate 1st Class

    1943 – 1945


    Brian Janko

    United States Marine Corp – Desert Storm


    1988 – 2004


    Eugene Kerner

    United States Army

    Corporal (T)

    January 1962 – December 1963


    Walter “Van” Palka

    United States Army

    Private 1st Class

    World War II 1942 – 1945

    Married in Phillips in 1947 and permanent resident from 1990 to 2009

    Buried in Emery Cemetery

    Drafted in Army in 1942, boot camp in Fort Dix, New Jersey

    served as a Private 1 st class, 788 th Military Police Battalion, Company D

    stationed in Tehran, Iran. One of the main jobs was checking railroad car at ammunition

    depot supply line to Russia

    Discharged December 1945


    Frank Pisca

    United States Navy

    On USS Arkansas – Sept 1942 – Nov 1945

    4 Battle Starts

    Normandy Invasion (D-Day)

    Invasion of Southern France at Toulon

    IWO Jima



    Doug Rasmussen

    United States Army


    Matthew Timmers

    United States Army

    Private First Class

    1954 – 1956 Korean War


    Wallace T. Wyrzykowski

    United States Army

    Tec 5

    1941 – 1945 WWII


  • 2023 Honorees

    Frank Dusek - United States Army

    Thomas W. Farley - United States Army

    John Hertlein - United States Army

    Rudy Hlavacek - United States Army

    John M. "Milt" Neuhauser - United States Army Air Corps

    Charles "Chuck" Ringersma, Jr. - United States Marines

    William "Bill" Ringersma - United States Army

    Cecil S. Russo - United States Army

    John Socha - United States Army

    Frank Strok - United States Army

    Howard Strok - United States Army

    Samuel L. Taylor Jr. - United States Navy


    2022 Honorees

    Louis Benda - United States Army 

    Benjamin Terry Deda - United States Marine Corps

    Joseph F. Foytik - United States Army 

    Raymond Hanoski - United States Army 

    Lawrence Andrew Kalina - United States Army 

    Martin Kalina - United States Army 

    Albert Paul Kalina - United States Army 

    George Joseph Kalina - United States Navy 

    Dale Gordon Meives - United States Army 

    Robert Philippon - United States Marine Corps 

    Richard E. Reese - United States Army 

    Richard H. Schoenborn - United States Army 

    Frank Soul - United States Army / United States National Guard 

    Henry Alan Thomas - United States Army 

    Donn Allen Williams - United States Army 


    2021 Honorees

    Daniel Beck - United States Army 

    Leonard Collins - United States Army 

    Robert L. Cork - United States Navy 

    Robert Dunbar - United States Army 

    Joseph F. Foytek - United States Army 

    Carl E. Gengenbach - United States Navy 

    Ronald Heizler - United States Army 

    Donald O. Johnson - United States Army 

    Nolan Kopecky - United States Marine Corps 

    Edward Kosterman - United States Air Force 

    Daniel Petty - United States Marine Corps 

     James R. Pisca - United States Army 

    Clarence "Clink" Schilling - United States Army 

    John P. Spacek - United States Army 

    Charles Tingo - United States Army 

    Don Veverka - United States Army 

    John Zydzik - United States Marine Corps 


    2020 Honorees

    Raymond W. Bolton - United States Army 

    Allen Brazelton - United States Air Force 

    Jon Brumet - United States Navy 

    Robert Foster - United States Army 

    Charles Golden - United States Army 

    Merton E.  Gronlund - United States Army 

    Owen Hainy - United States Army 

    Lorry John Hanish - United States Air Force 

    Laddie W. Holoubek - United States Army 

    James Janak - United States Army 

    Roger Meier - United States Army 

    Craig A. Moore - United States Army 

    Karl T.A. Moravek - United States Air Force 

    Collin Precour - United States Navy 

    Kurth Prochnow - United States Navy / United States National Guard 

    Jerry Schmeiser - United States Marine Corps 

    Edwin M. Trzecinski - United States Marine Corps 

    Frank Zydzik Jr.  - United States Army