Presentation recognizes Gold Star mother

Error message

  • Warning: array_merge(): Expected parameter 1 to be an array, bool given in _simpleads_render_ajax_template() (line 133 of /home/pdccourier/www/www/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/
  • Notice: Trying to get property 'settings' of non-object in _simpleads_adgroup_settings() (line 343 of /home/pdccourier/www/www/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/
  • Warning: array_merge(): Expected parameter 1 to be an array, bool given in _simpleads_render_ajax_template() (line 157 of /home/pdccourier/www/www/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type null in include() (line 24 of /home/pdccourier/www/www/sites/all/modules/simpleads/templates/simpleads_ajax_call.tpl.php).

June Petsche held a photograph of her late son, Gary, upon the Gold Star presentation on Memorial Day at the Prairie du Chien Veterans Memorial.

Gary Walz
By Correne Martin

On Memorial Day, a local Gold Star mother was presented with flowers in memory of her son who died in the Vietnam War.

Lance Corporal Gary Walz was only 21 years old when he was shot on the ground in the province of Quang Nam on May 12, 1969. According to his sister, Melody Igou, Gary was placed on a medical ship, where he later died from his injuries. 

That was 52 years ago. 

In his honor, and to recognize his surviving family, the Joe 2 Go drive-through coffee shop in Prairie du Chien chose to present his mother, June Petsche, with a bouquet of flowers from Bee Kind Floral. June accepted the patriotic tribute on May 31, at the Prairie du Chien Veterans Memorial, during a public ceremony—complete with a local Honor Guard salute.

Though June didn’t have much to say, she stood during the ceremony, holding a framed picture of Gary.

“She was so honored. Every one of [the Honor Guard] shook our hands,” Igou said of her mother. “She said it was uplifting.”

Also on May 31, Joe 2 Go awarded each of the 12 Honor Guard members with a $20 gift certificate to the coffee shop, in appreciation for their service.

According to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund Wall of Faces website (, Gary was a rifleman in the 1st Marine Division 3rd Battalion. He left behind a wife and infant daughter. He was one of Petsche’s nine children, and was a twin to Larry. He also had a cousin, Nicholas Walz, of Steuben, who was killed in Vietnam in 1967.

Though he grew up in Eastman, Gary’s home records listed him from Prairie du Chien, and the only serviceman to die in the Vietnam War. Considering this, Wendy Vanderbilt, a Joe 2 Go employee, and the coffee shop’s owner, Karyl Fritsche, have both had family members serve in the military. 

Fritsche said, “If it wasn’t for those who made the ultimate sacrifice, there would be no freedoms to enjoy.”
Rate this article: 
Average: 5 (6 votes)