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Schouten is VFW Veteran of the Year

May 21, 2019 GMT

WAUPUN -- Merle Schouten, the Waupun VFW Post 6709 Veteran of the Year, will be honored at the Memorial Day ceremonies at Shaler Park May 27.

Schouten graduated from Brandon High School in 1962 and went to work at National Rivet.

In 1965 he was drafted into the Army, given artillery training, and spent a year in in Cuchi, Vietnam with the 3rd Battalion, 13th Artillery, 25th Infantry Division.

“Cuchi was called ‘Hells half acre,’ because it had the largest Viet Cong tunnel network around. It was so large, it even had a hospital underground,” said Schouten.

In 1967, then Corporal Schouten was given an honorable discharge, and returned to work at National Rivet, and married Dorothy Tobak whom he met when she was a nurses aid in 1 965.


“We wrote letters for two years, and when I returned we got married in 1967,” said Schouten.

Schouten worked his way up to tool and die maker and retired after 44 years.

The Schouten’s have been married 52 years.

Fifteen years ago Schouten joined the VFW, and now serves as chaplin.

VFW Commander Frank Mesa said, “Merle is our chaplain and been doing that for over eight years. He is always there when there is extra work to be done, and he is a member of our Honor Guard.”

The couple are active at the First Christian Reformed church, and are volunteers at Marsh Haven Nature Center.

The couple have three children, Lori, Brad and Todd, and four grandchildren.

Schouten enjoys reading mysteries, and wood carving.

“Getting this award makes me feel special. I don’t know if I’m deserving of it,” he said.