Born in McGregor, Iowa, Denise lived in Elkader, Iowa, until joining the Unites States Army in 1974. Denise’s father was a volunteer Fireman, both parents were volunteer EMTs and very active in their church and community. Learning from their parents Denise and her two sisters have always given back to their church and communities in some way.
Denise has served the American Legion for over 32 years. While Post Commander she established Sons of the American Legion Squadron 333 and chartered Boy Scout Troop 333.
She and her husband are both 2006 graduates of the National American Legion College and 2015 Graduates of the Wisconsin American Legion College - Basic Course. Both have gone on to serve as State and National American Legion College Facilitators.
Denise was employed with the University of Wisconsin Madison as the Assistant Bursar of Student Loans until her retirement in 2012. She managed the University of Wisconsin Madison, University of Wisconsin Green Bay and University of Wisconsin Colleges 120 million dollar loan portfolio made up of approximately 200 different Federal, Institutional and State programs in compliance with all laws, regulations, and policy. She was responsible for the efficiency and design of the computerized student loan accounts receivable system.
Denise currently serves as a volunteer in the 115th Fighter Wing, Wisconsin Air National Guard Airman and Family Readiness Program.
In 2017, Denise was named the National Commander of the American Legion.
2014: Jennifer Sluga Waunakee , WI
Jennifer Sluga served in the United States Army from 2004-2010. Her military awards and decorations include: National Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Kosovo Campaign Medal, NCO Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Armed Forces Reserve Medal w/ M Device, NATO Medal and Driver and Mechanic Badge w/ Driver wheeled clasp.
Mrs. Sluga's accreditations and memberships consist of: Military Order of the Purple Heart, AMVETS, Disabled American Veterans, Vietnam Veterans of America, The Enlisted Association, the VFW and the American Legion. She has assisted with several projects at the William S. Middleton Veterans Memorial Hospital including the Clothesline Project that helps victims of military sexual trauma. She has recently accepted at position at the Madison Vet Center; a community based readjustment counseling center for combat veterans.
2012: Nancy Kaczor Franklin , WI
Nancy Kaczor retired as a Colonel in 2007 after 26.5 years in the Air Force.
Her final assignment was a Senior Official at the Pentagon where she worked for the Air Force Inspector General. Colonel Kaczor investigated allegations of serious misconduct against senior officials as directed by the Secretary of the Air Force, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, and the Air Force Inspector General.
Throughout her career, Colonel Kaczor served in various leadership positions at base, wing, major command, and combatant command-levels. The Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, and Bronze Star are among the awards and decorations she earned.
Nancy is active in a number of organizations including AMVETS (State Women Veterans Representative), the American Legion, Habitat for Humanity, Honor Flight and Fisher House, accumulating over 350 annual volunteer hours.
2011: Holly Hoppe Oconto, WI
Holly enlisted in 1971 to the United States Air Force. Holly was one of the first security Police Female Augmentees who worked at the Pentagon, debriefing prisoners of wars upon their release from Hanoi.
Holly was assigned to HQ AF Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) starting a 20 year adventure with tours in Greece, Italy, Germany, Spain, Korea, and Saudi Arabia. Holly volunteered at the 1988 Olympics in Korea. Holly participated in sports during her AF career including basketball, softball and volleyball. She won numerous awards to include the prestigious European Bowling Champion.
After the military, Holly started out as a clerk, then administrative assistant for the Brown County Veterans Service Office. In 2000 she was hired as the County Veterans Service Officer.
2010: Jessica Maple Mosinee, WI
Jessica has served her country for 14 years in the Air Force and Air National Guard and still serves today. She has supported 3 major deployments and several military training and professional development events in recent years. She has served twice supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. She took time while deployed and volunteered at several base Fallen Warrior ceremonies. She has also been selected as the senior NCO of the Year for the Air National Guard.
Her medals include: Meritorious Unit Award with 1 device, AF Outstanding Unit Award, Combat Readiness Medal, Air Reserve Forces Meritorious Service Medal with 3 devices, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon with Gold Border and 3 devices, AF Longevity Service Ribbon, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with “M” device, USAF NCO PME graduate ribbon with 1 device, AF Training Ribbon, and NATO medal.
2009: Majorie Marshman Madison, WI
Marjorie joined the Service December 1943 and left January 1946. Marjorie was a Clerk Typist and worked at Cherry Point, North Carolina after attending boot camp at Camp LeJeune. She left the Marine Corps with the rank of Corporal.
Marjorie was one of nine children and all four of her brothers joined the service, so she thought she should too.
Marjorie belongs to the Madison Veterans Firing Squad, American Legion, American Legion Auxiliary, Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary, Marine Corp League, Madison Veterans Council, Dane County Veterans Service Commission, AMVETS, VA Hospital Volunteer, Pearl Harbor Association and WIMSA.
Marjorie is very active in all the organizations, especially as Chaplain of the Madison Veterans Firing Squad. She presides over the greatest honor of presenting the final recognition of the eulogy and flag presentation to the families for 125 funerals annually.
2008: Connie Allord Madison, WI
Connie enlisted in the Marine Corps during WWII after her husband Larry enlisted in the Sea Bees. She entered service November 1943 and left November 1945. Under the enlistment rules of the day, Connie and Larry could not belong to the same branch of service.
Connie served as one of the first female Air Traffic Controllers at Cherry Point, North Carolina, attaining the rank of Sergeant. She filed flight plans for well known stars of the day such as actor Tyrone Powers, who she reports was very personable and remembered everyone by their name.
Connie has shown little reason to slow down her community involvement. She is active annually with all levels of Toys for Tots. She has participated in many efforts to memorialize veterans through the WDVA museum archives, wreath laying ceremonies and especially encouraging women veterans to share their stories with WIMSA.
Connie has been a member of the Council for Veterans Programs representing United Women Veterans. She has been a member of Finance, Legislative and Program Review, and Long Term Care committees for the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs Board. She is a member of the American Legion, Marine Corps League, United Women Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary, Women Marines Association, and Women in the Military Service To America (WIMSA).