One of the most important duties I have serving as your Governor is to provide you directly with updates related to the operation of our state government. I also frequently provide updates on Facebook (Governor Scott Walker) and Twitter (@govwalker). Please feel free to share this update with your family, friends, and others who may be interested in state government operations.
Honoring our Veterans
Recently, I kicked off the commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War at a ceremony with Vietnam Veterans in the State Capitol.
During the ceremony, I thanked our veterans and their families for their sacrifices and called on all Wisconsinites to remember those who were wounded, those who are unaccounted for, and those who died. The war had a huge impact on our state, as more than 165,000 Wisconsinites served in Vietnam and 1,239 paid the ultimate sacrifice.
In honor of all veterans, I was also proud to announce state agencies and Kwik Trip collected more than 5,200 cell phones for the nonprofit charity, Cell Phones for Soldiers. This collection has paid for more than 13,000 free hours of talk time for our service men and women who are currently away from home. With every donated phone, Cell Phones for Soldiers is able to provide two and a half hours of free talk time to deployed troops.
I encourage all Wisconsinites to remember and honor those who have selflessly served in the armed forces to protect the freedoms we all enjoy today.
Remembering Officer Sebena
Earlier this week, Chairman & CEO of the National Law Enforcement Officer's Memorial Fund, Craig Floyd, called me to let me know about the decision to add Officer Sebena to the memorial wall.
I would like to thank Chairman Floyd and the Board for considering our request and making the decision to add Officer Sebena's name to the memorial wall.
Officer Jennifer Sebena was on duty when she was killed on December 24, 2012. The Board had initially denied adding her name to the wall because her death was viewed as an act of domestic violence. It was then decided to wait until next year for a final decision. I am grateful that support for Officer Sebena's cause grew so quickly that the Board decided to add her name this year. The ceremony will take place on May 13, 2013 during a candlelight vigil. Officer Sebena worked with the Wauwatosa Police Department.
Forestry Tour in Northern Wisconsin
Today, I toured a logging site, a wood yard, a mill, and a wood pellet plant in Springbrook and Hayward, Wisconsin and was able to get a first-hand look at the economic impact of Wisconsin's forests. Wisconsin is the nation's leader in the value of shipments of forest products, totaling nearly $20 billion per year, which doesn't include more than five billion dollars in economic value from forest-based recreation and tourism.
The forest products industry is Wisconsin's second largest manufacturing employer, providing 1 in every 6 manufacturing jobs in the state. Touring forestry facilities and meeting with representatives from this important industry has been helpful as we work to help the private sector create jobs in Wisconsin.
During the visit to northern Wisconsin, I announced the appointment of Gary Zimmer to the Natural Resources Board. By joining the Board, Gary will be able to advocate for good, sustainable ways to manage our forests. Forests are one of Wisconsin's strategic assets and they are a key part of our state's economy.
Gary has spent his career as a wildlife professional. For 18 years, Gary worked with the US Forest Service at the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest and for 12 of those years he was District Biologist. Currently, he is a Senior Regional Wildlife Biologist at the Ruffed Grouse Society. Mr. Zimmer received a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Management and a Master of Science in Natural Resources from the University of Wisconsin -- Stevens Point.
It has been a pleasure communicating with you. It is an honor to serve as your Governor and represent the residents of Wisconsin.
Governor Scott Walker