Civil Air Patrol

Wisconsin Squadron Lends Hand to Rotary Club Holiday Tradition

Photo by Major Todd Mandel, Wis. Wing – Cadet Airman Tyler Henson and Cadet Senior Airman Andrew Ackerman hang lights in the warming igloo.

La Crosse, Wis. – Christmas lights from the Rotary Club of La Crosse provides holiday season entertainment to more than 200,000 visitors each year in Riverside Park located in downtown La Crosse.  Civil Air Patrol members from the La Crosse Composite Squadron recently lent their skills and labor to a Coulee Region holiday tradition by helping set up the displays.

With more than one million holiday lights, the display attracts visitors who donate food for local food pantries.  Last year the event collected more than 1.6 million food items and distributed more than $350,000 to local non-profit organizations.

Putting up more than one million holiday lights is no small feat.  The Rotary Club must rely on the help of local non-profit organizations to get the park ready.

Twelve members of the La Crosse squadron spent more than four hours to help prepare the park.  Members were responsible for erecting a 20’ tall snowman, helping to put together a 15’ tall lighthouse, moving three tons of steel for the light tunnel, and hanging lights in the igloo warming house.

Event organizers were extremely grateful for the hard work and organized approach of the squadron members.  However their work is not done as they will also be decorating a tree.  Each non-profit organization that participates in the event is provided a tree to represent their organization.

Members who participating in this event were:  Senior Member Alice Ackerman; Major Todd Mandel, public affair officer;  Major Dave Snyder, aerospace education officer; Cadet Captain Michael Ebert, Cadet Master Sergeant Patrick Robbins, Cadet Senior Airman Andrew Ackerman; Cadets Airman Ahna Geiwitz, Brian Gabrielson, Rafael Valest, and Tyler Henson and Cadet Airman Basic Will Allen.

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