BY KATIE MATTESON
I met Pat Adams on Thursday, July 7, 2016 at 8 a.m. Why do I know the exact date and time? Because Carl and I were at Malicki’s Piggly Wiggly to do a story about the Veterans’ Cafe.
Adams, a member of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 767, organizes the weekly gathering of about 50 local veterans. With fresh coffee, juice and bakery provided by store owner Ralph Malicki, the group enjoys a cuppa joe and great fellowship.
Last night when I picked up groceries from Malicki’s, I saw the tables set for this morning’s event and smiled to myself, feeling grateful to know people like Pat and Ralph who make Racine a better place.
I couldn’t remember when we’d done the story on the Veterans’ Cafe, so I looked it up on our website (did you know that the content of all of our magazines is searchable on bellecitymag.com?) and saw that it was just about two years ago.
So it’s serendipitous that Adams is our Racinian to Know for this month. I actually invited her back in April for the May issue, but her schedule and my commitment to alternate male and female honorees delayed her appearance by a couple months.
While I was initially thinking her story would align well with Memorial Day, I love that it appears in the month that we celebrate our country’s independence. Because amid the red, white and blue celebrations, we need to remember that freedom isn’t free.
Adams has dedicated her life to honoring those who have served our country, both the ones who have passed and the ones still with us.
Like many of our Racinians to Know, Adams isn’t a self-promoter. She’s a behind-the-scenes gal.
You’ll find lots of evidence of her work if you know where to look.
We found one of those spots when we asked her where she’d like her picture taken for the feature. She instantly said at the Veterans Memorial at Pritchard Park.
I have to admit that I wasn’t familiar with the place of remembrance established by the VVA Chapter 767 in the 1990s. Adams and other volunteers from the chapter plant and maintain the gardens on the property and work with Racine County for grass cutting and the administration of the commemorative bricks around the flagpole.
Monuments in the park memorize the men and women who died during the Civil War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. The chapter is currently looking for someone to sponsor a monument for the War on Terrorism.
I would encourage you to take some time to visit the Veterans Memorial. It’s located just south of the new SC Johnson Community Aquatic Center on Ohio Street.
Did you notice the two floats in the Fourth Fest parade depicting the men and women who served in the Vietnam War? Adams has been involved with this project of the VVA Chapter 767 since a friend asked her to help with the make-up for the human statues in 1991.
For the past few years, Adams has gotten help from the Patriot Club at Case High School to portray the soldiers as it’s become too strenuous for the chapter members.
Adams is also working hard to bring The Moving Wall, a half-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., back to Racine in 2019. She said that due to the positive experiences during prior visits in 2005 and 2015, the Vietnam Combat Veterans, Ltd. invited Racine to participate in its 35th Anniversary tour.
Plans call for The Moving Wall to be set up on the north side of the Veterans Memorial at Pritchard Park. In addition to the 252-foot long wall, visitors will be able to look up names on a computer inside the welcome tent to find the locations of the names on the wall.
She said that her group still needs to raise another $10,000. Those who would like to contribute may send a check to The Moving Wall 2019, PO Box 081036, Racine, WI 53408.