Introducing Walter A. Breu
On August 27, 2020, Wally became the first person to be interviewed in our new Post 522 recognition project. This is our first introduction and peek into the background of our members. Mark Rostagno has begun this program with videotape machine and tape recorder in hand, and has set out to capture and record important life facts on all of our Post 522 members. We are trying to draw out and record the irreplaceable facts and stories about their military past, civilian and family past, their history with and about Post 522, and an update on their current daily life and family.
We are proud to say that Wally is one of our most senior Post 522 members. We are extremely proud to call him a member and friend.
Walter (Wally) was born on June 3, 1930, and grew up as a farm boy in Hewitt, WI (Marshfield area). One of 7 children, Wally knew at an early age what he didn’t like. And what he didn’t like was milking cows. So, he somehow was able to finagle his parents into giving him the easy job of doing dishes instead of the milking chores.
He went to St. Michaels Catholic school in the Hewitt and to one year of high school at Auburndale. He tried his hand at cheese making for awhile, and then took a vacation, traveling out to the Colorado area. He also took a little side trip to Cuba. (one of his best memories). “With three young friends from Wisconsin we drove down to Florida. We took a boat to Cuba (and later) flew back to Florida. We just looked around. Went to a the pool area where they made whiskey and stuff. I remember most that some other couples from Milwaukee were there and we were all drinking pretty good. And there’s one woman who told me that if they can drink. So can I.” Today we call this Spring Break.
When he returned home from Cuba he enlisted into the Air Force at the age of 18. He did 3 years, starting with boot camp in San Antonio, and Crash and Rescue training in Colorado. He was then permanently stationed in the Washington DC area at Bolling Air Force Base. His feelings upon going into the service were “ (when) I went into the Air Force I had no idea what the hell I was going to be doing. No one does.” He was fortunate to avoid the Korean conflict which was just starting up during his service. He thought “when I was in I would probably end up in that little country North and South, what the hell was its name? Korea, that’s right.”
After his Service Walter came home and was a baker, then a roofer, a sider, and a carpenter.
Wally and Joan were married in 1954, and they built their house in Hubertus shortly thereafter. They have 7 children (Connie, Beverly, Jerry, Mike, Russ, Keith, and Mark) and lots of grandchildren. “ I don’t know how many. It’s got to be close to 20, and 15 great grand kids.”
Wally and Joan are proud of the excellent and skillful work they have done in building their beautiful house, and then 30 years ago building on the front porch and adding the garage.
As a baker at Omar Bakery in 1951, Wally worked as Lead Baker. He was in charge of the baking of bread, cakes, everything. “The baker’s put the stuff in the pans and I put it into the ovens and stuff”. When asked how much they paid him in the early 1950’s, he said “oh, sh**, I don’t think it was two dollars an hour. It was a while ago.” Later, some friends who were builders and siding guys talked him into coming to work with them for a lot more money.
Wally has always enjoyed fishing, hunting, and bowling. He has enjoyed a long bowling and personal friendship with Dan Goetz, dating back to before Dan opened the Pioneer Bowl. He said he often thinks of Pat Farley and of others from Post 522.
Does Wally have any old pictures of himself in uniform? “ Yeah, but I don’t know were the hell they are.” He will ask his wife and daughter to look for them for us.
Wally was presented with his 60-year Legion Continuous Membership award 2 years ago, and he displays it proudly at the entrance to his house. We were lucky enough to snap a photo of Wally and Joan holding that award. Although he is going through some physical difficulties, we found Wally Breu to be a smart, friendly, personable, good-natured guy. He has accomplished much, created a great family, and is still making some good friends along the way. We are proud that he considers Post 522 to be a friend. Our post considers itself blessed to have a gentleman like Wally Breu as a member.