Bryce Kelley Jefferson Award Winner - WFXS, MyFoxWausau - News and Weather for Wausau, WI

Bryce Kelley Jefferson Award Winner

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by Melissa Langbehn

WAUSAU(WAOW)--You see gratitude and memories of loved ones lost long ago etched in the faces of people outside the the Wall that Heals.

The traveling replica of the Vietnam veterans memorial stopped in Medford on Veterans Day the culmination of a Medford Middle School project headed by teacher Bryce Kelley.

Bryce Kelley/Jefferson Award Winner:"It turned out way better that we thought a lot of people found a newfound interest, responsibility it was a powerful powerful thing."

Powerful due to the raw emotions people feel seeing the names of the 58 thousand Americans killed in the Vietnam War.. people traveled near and far to see.

Al Leonard/Medford Principal:"We had 15 thousand people come to our small community of 4,000. They came from all over the country.. it was great."

How did this great experience get its start?

Bryce Kelley's father served in Vietnam.

Although he rarely talked about it.. it sparked a curiosity in Bryce which eventually lead to a classroom project called "Put A Face To The Name."

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For the past three years, Bryce and his students have worked to reach their goal of making posters with pictures and stories for every one of the 1,161 Wisconsinites killed in Vietnam.

Monica Strebig/Student:"I did a little research about mine and I learned about how ole they were and what they really did over there."

Hundreds of soldiers now have names, faces and stories.

One of them--the brother of Theoline Ludwig.. he died in 1967.. yet in front of the wall .. and seeing a poster of her long gone brother it seems like yesterday.

Theoline Ludwig/Brother Lost In Vietnam:"You sometimes wonder how one teacher and a bunch of kids can do such things.. this is remarkable."

And it remains as work in progress as students continue in their mission to track down stories of those who never made it home.

As for Bryce, he hopes his students carry the lessons learned in his classroom for a lifetime.

Bryce:This is a perfect example of a wonderful teaching tool how to make a difference and change things for the better."

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