Contributed Photograph

Diane Schindelholz and the Gold Star banner presented to her and the Rhinelander Home Depot by Judith Peter.
Contributed Photograph

Diane Schindelholz and the Gold Star banner presented to her and the Rhinelander Home Depot by Judith Peter.
In June 1944, a few days after the Allied invasion of France at Normandy, the U.S. Army’s Glenn Ward, with a wife and three-year-old daughter back home in Rhinelander, was seriously wounded.

A few months later, he returned to his unit during the final German offensive on the Western front that became known as “The Battle of The Bulge.”

On Jan. 30, 1945, Army private Glenn Ward was killed in action when he rushed a German machine gun nest in an effort to save others. 

“Your husband was a member of the 508th Parachute Infantry, 82nd ‘All American’ Airborne Division,” Maj. Gen. James M. Gavin, the 82nd’s commander at the time, wrote to Ward’s widow, Evelyn, in a condolence letter from March 1945.

“Putting aside family ties, the admiration, respect, and affection of comrades are a soldier’s most priceless possessions, because collectively, these comrades are unfailing judges,” he wrote. “These possessions I believe your husband had earned in full measure. Death of such a man leaves with each member of the Division a lasting sense of loss, from which comes a deep sense of personal empathy.”



Gold Star banner

Judy Peter of Rhinelander was three years old at the time her father, Glenn Ward, was killed in Belgium during World War II. 

On Veterans Day, 2014, she was at Home Depot and was asked by Diane Schindelholz, an employee there, about a pin Peter was wearing featuring a photo of her father. 

“When I told her I was three years old when he died in the Battle of the Bulge,” Peter wrote in a letter to The Lakeland Times, “she hugged me and I gave her the pin.”

Peter said every time she goes to Home Depot and Schindelholz is there, she’s wearing the pin. 

“People ask her about it, many thinking that’s her father,” Peter said. “So, Diane tells them the story.”

On Oct. 30 of this year, Peter presented Schindelholz with a small Gold Star banner that Schindelholz hung on a display at the Rhinelander Home Depot that honors veterans. 

The Gold Star originated during World War I to signify the loss of a loved one in the war. 

They were, along with Blue Star banners to signify a loved one serving in the U.S. military, displayed in hundreds of thousands of American homes during World War II. 

Glenn Ward was one of approximately 400,000 U.S. military personnel lost during the Second World War.

After that conflict, the Gold Star designation was changed by an act of Congress to signify the loss of any member of the U.S. military still serving. 



Renewed faith

Schindelholz said she does indeed get a lot of questions about the pin Peter gave her. 

“I have photos of when Judy went to Belgium to see where her dad died,” she said. “We met about four years ago at the store and she was with her husband and I saw the pin. She told me the story and I started tearing up and she started tearing up and after the memorial service on Veterans Day, Judy said she wanted me to have her dad’s pin. I’ve been wearing it ever since.”

Peter wrote in her letter to the Times “we say we never forget” people such as her father and others who were killed in combat with the enemy.

“But before long, these brave men are forgotten,” she wrote. “Then, a total stranger and a business remember in such a respectful and ongoing manner, it renews faith that our country and citizens do remember the cost of freedom.”

Brian Jopek may be reached via email at bjopek@lakelandtimes.com.