Monday, November 9, 2015

Mark Your Calendar for March 14-16, 2016, for the next great A Walk in Their Shoes Presentation:

In March 2016 A Walk in Their Shoes will feature presentations of two stories centered around WWII and the injustice our government bestowed upon the Japanese-Americans after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The stories are the subject of the books, A Diamond in the Desert, by Kathryn Fitzmaurice, and Barbed Wire Baseball, by Marissa Moss. These stories show how determined Japanese Americans kept their dignity and their love for America even though it was not reciprocated. When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7th suddenly Japanese Americans found themselves suspected of spying for the enemy. Over  120,000 people on the West Coast were rounded up and forced to leave their homes and  businesses. Fathers were arrested by the FBI, newspaper headlines throughout the nation warned people not to trust Japanese Americans, and their property and businesses were lost as our government sent them hundreds of miles away to internment camps. Their only crime—they were of Japanese ancestry.

Kerry Yo Nakagawa, Howard Zenimure and Tetsu Kishi will share this piece of American history with community members and the students throughout Marathon County. Kerry Yo Nakagawa is an accomplished writer, director, and the founder and director for the non-profit Nisei Baseball Research Project (NBRP). Accompanying him will be Mr. Zenimure and Mr. Kishi to help with the presentations. Both Mr. Howard Zenimure and Mr. Tetsu Kishi are former camp internees and baseball players for the Gila River camp baseball team. Both men and their families were interned in Arizona on the Gila River Indian Reservation at the Gila River War Relocation Center. Baseball at Gila River gave Japanese Americans a sense of pride, hope, and normalcy; making life bearable during their incarceration. After the war the camps were closed, it was still a decades-long journey for healing, an apology, and recognition that such indignities must never happen again to other groups in America. Through the efforts of Mr. Kerry Yo Nakagawa, his organization, and his countless projects, people throughout America are able to learn, remember, and retell these stories so they are not forgotten.

A Walk in Their Shoes thanks our generous sponsors for bringing this story of American history to life for students and community members in central Wisconsin. Since 2007 A Walk in Their Shoes has created opportunities of living history for thousands of students and community members.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Salute to Veterans Continues

The theme this fall for A Walk in Their Shoes has been Salute to Veterans. Our first event, the Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall visitation in Edgar, was a HUGE success, thanks to all our sponsors, volunteers, the weather, and most importantly our veterans for making this the greatest country on Earth!

Our second Salute to Veterans event is scheduled for Veteran’s Day 2015.
It will feature a story from WWII, called “The Ghost Army.” The Ghost Army was officially known as the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops. From June 1944 to March 1945, it staged 20 battlefield deceptions, beginning in Normandy and ending along the Rhine River. Members of the Ghost Army engaged an array of inflatables (tanks, trucks, jeeps, airplanes), sound trucks, phony radio transmissions and even playacting to fool the enemy.  We will have (if health permits) two members of the Ghost Army, along with a historian coming to Marathon County to share this little-known
story of WWII with the community.  Rick Beyer, the historian, will be sending one of the inflatable tanks to be on display as he and two veterans of The Ghost Army give their presentations to area students, school staff, and community members. The Ghost Army of World War II describes the highly imaginative and daring maneuver that helped open the way for the final drive to Germany.

There will be two free community presentations thanks to our sponsors.

 Tuesday, November 10, 2015 from 6:30pm to 7:30pm in the Edgar High School Auditorium

  Wednesday, November 11, 2015 from 6:30pm to 7:30pm in the Center for Civic Engagement Building at UW Marathon County.

Joining Author and Historian Rick Beyer will be two members of The Ghost Army

John Jarvie served in the 603rd Camouflage Engineers, the visual deception arm of The Ghost Army. An art student who attended Cooper Union before the war, Jarvie spent thirty years as an art director for Fairchild Publications, owner of Women’s Wear Daily, supervising a staff of artists and writers. He is retired and lives in Kearny, New Jersey.

Gazo Nemeth served in the Signal Company Special, the radio deception arm of The Ghost Army. After the war he spent 37 years as a machinist in Ohio and became commander of a local VFW Post.  Nemeth retired to Florida, where he re-invented himself first as a census taker, then as a courier for a furniture store.  He retired (again) at age 87 and lives in Fort Myers.

For more background on our speakers go to:

Rick Beyer (author)

Gazo Nemeth (Veteran)

John Jarvie (Veteran)

For more information about this event, contact Colin Hanson at or call 715-560-8933.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Walk in Their Shoes is excited to bring an incredibly powerful story to Marathon County for Black History Month in February 2015:

A Mighty Long Way

All Carlotta Walls wanted was a good education. To get one she and eight other black high school students volunteered to enroll in an all-white school in Little Rock, Arkansas. They became known as The Little Rock Nine, and what they did changed the face of education in America. Withstanding death threats, acts of violence, and having to be escorted to the doors of the school by federal troops, Carlotta Walls Lanier knows both the sadness and the triumphs of America’s continuing journey toward equality for all. The story of these nine young people rallied people across the country. As she says in her book, A Mighty Long Way, “(In Chicago) Here people called us brave and told us we were heroes and that they had been pulling for us. For the first time it really hit me—the magnitude, the scope, of what the nine of us had done.”

A Walk in Their Shoes will celebrate the historic bravery of the Little Rock Nine as we welcome Carlotta Walls Lanier to Marathon County during Black History Month. Mrs. Lanier will present on:

Monday, February 2, 2015, 10:10 AM student presentation at UWMC's Obey Center for Civic Engagement

Monday, February 2, 2015, daytime Edgar High School—student presentation

Tuesday, February 3, 2015, 12:45 PM Wausau East High School Gymnasium—student presentation (open to the public as well)

Tuesday, February 3, 2015 at 6:30 PM Wausau East High School Auditorium—community presentation with book signing to follow

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Courage Had No Color: The True Story of the Triple Nickles

Celebrate Veteran’s Day with the moving story of the true story of Triple Nickles, America’s first black paratroopers. As WWII began, the U.S. military mirrored our country—it was highly segregated and black soldiers were limited in the roles they could fill. One soldier, Sergeant Walter Morris, decided to help his troops be more than simple supporters of the war effort. Guarding the paratrooper training facility at Fort Benning Georgia, Morris began taking his troops through the same rigorous training as white paratroopers. He instilled pride in his men and soon caught the eye of those in power. The 555th Parachute Infantry Company was commissioned, with Morris as first sergeant.

Join A Walk in Their Shoes as we honor our American Veterans. Triple Nickles member Joe Murchison, president of the 555th Parachute Infantry Association, shares the story of the Triple Nickels, their fight to support our country, and their fight for equality. Mr. Murchison will speak about his and his fellow soldiers’ stories at the following times:

Monday, November 10, 2014 at 6:30 PM Edgar High School—community presentation with book signing to follow
Tuesday, November 11, 2014, daytime Edgar High School—student presentation
Tuesday, November 11, 2014  at 6:30 PM UWMC’s Obey Center for Civic Engagement
Auditorium—community presentation with book signing to follow
Wednesday, November 12, 2014, afternoon Wausau East High School—student presentation
Thursday, November 13, 2014, morning UWMC student presentation

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Long Overdue: William Kamkwamba and Chester Nez Summaries Now Available

Hello, everyone! It has been quite some time since we have updated the website for A Walk in Their Shoes. Be assured that the group has been working hard behind the scenes to keep bringing high-quality stories from around the world to Marathon County. We have changed hands a bit over the past few months as two of our members, Corey and Leslie Jeffers, have moved closer to family in the Fox Valley. We wish them the very best in their new endeavors! We have appreciated their dedication to A Walk in Their Shoes and hope to work with them in some capacity in the future.

Meanwhile, please stay tuned for more updates from A Walk in Their Shoes, and read the summaries from our last two events here: Chester Nez and William Kamkwamba.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

An Evening with National Anti-Bullying Speaker, Kirk Smalley

More information about collaborative projects involving A Walk in Their Shoes coming soon!!


"I Am Somebody" - Anti-Bullying Project

Kirk Smalley will be presenting at Wausau East Auditorium on Tuesday, April 9, 2013 from 7:00-8:30 PM.  Admission is free!

Featured in the award winning documentary, Bully, on The Today Show, and most recently on CNN: The Bully Effect with Anderson Cooper, Kirk Smalley will be coming to Central Wisconsin to share his story and offer education and tools that will prevent his personal tragedy, the suicide of his eleven-year-old son, Ty, from happening to another child and family. 

In response to his unimaginable tragedy he and his wife founded Stand for the Silent, which exits as a platform to allow for change to happen across the nation.  Kirk's mission is to continue to change kids' lives and bring awareness to bullying and the real devastation it causes.  Kirk has traveled to hundreds of schools and spoken to thousands of students.  In May of 2010, The Smalley's were invited to the White House where they met with President Obama and the First Lady in the nations first ever White House conference on bullying.  

Please don't miss this chance to be a part of something that has the power to educate our youth and change our schools.

"Everything starts with one and builds up. One by one, two by two, and eventually we have an Army.  If we all do it together, we will change the world." - Kirk Smalley

Fox News PSA:

Movie Trailer: Bully


President Obama's Anti-Bullying Message:

Testimonies from viewers who have seen Kirk Smalley's presentations:

For more information on this amazing event please contact Sarah Murphy via e-mail at: 

smurphy {at} wausauschools {dot} org

John Halligan will be presenting at Wausau East Auditorium on Monday, November 26th from 7:00-8:30 PM.  Admission is free!

John Halligan shares his son's powerful story
and the deep impact of bullying on his family.
Featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Primetime with Diane Sawyer, and The Today Show among many others, John Halligan is a nationally known speaker coming to Central Wisconsin to present about the need for the education and prevention of bullying, cyber-bullying, and teen suicide. Mr. Halligan lost his son, Ryan, to suicide on October 7, 2003 at the age of 13. At the time of his death, Ryan was a student at a middle school in Vermont. It was revealed in great detail after Ryan’s death that he was ridiculed and humiliated by peers at school and on-line.

In memory of his son and in just a few months after Ryan’s death, Mr. Halligan spearheaded the Vermont Bullying Prevention law in 2004. He also led the passing of a law in 2006 pertaining to suicide prevention education in public schools. Mr. Halligan has been outspoken about the need for more education and prevention of bullying, cyber-bullying and teen suicide throughout the United States, Canada and Latin America.  

On November 26, 2012, John Halligan will be at Wausau East High School from 7 to 8:30pm to share his courageous story of Ryan, to give advice, and to raise awareness about cyber-bullying.

Testimonies from viewers who have seen John Halligan's presentation:

  • "This was the most powerful presentation I have listened to in my 26 years of teaching."
  • "Fabulous and heart wrenching.  This needs to get to ALL schools and communities."
  • John has taken an ink blot and turned it into a butterfly..."
  • Absolutely outstanding!  He captivated the audience and made a lasting impression on everyone present."
  • "Incredible." 

For more information on this amazing event please contact Sarah Murphy via e-mail at: 

smurphy {at} wausauschools {dot} org


Band of Brothers

More on the Band of Brothers coming soon...


More information about WASP coming soon...

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Please Join Us for "An Evening with William Kamkwamba" this Tuesday!

Please join A Walk in Their Shoes for an evening we’ve been eagerly awaiting. On Tuesday, March 19, 2013, William Kamkwamba, author of the New York Times Bestseller The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, will be the featured speaker for 2013 A Walk in Their Shoes event, An Evening with William Kamkwamba. The event will be held in the Auditorium at Wausau East High School beginning at 7:00 PM. The event is free and open to the public.

As a teenager in Malawi, Africa, William, his family, and his country faced the ravages of a horrific drought. Little food and even less family funds meant William could not continue his education. So, inspired to bring electricity to his family home, he tackled his own learning, studying books from a lending library and learning how to construct a working wind turbine from scrap metal and other materials. William never gave up on completing his machine until his homemade windmill produced electricity for his home.

His windmill drew more than electricity as interest in his ingenuity and creativity developed not only from the Malawian government but TEDGlobal (Technology, Entertainment, and Design). In 2007, William Kamkwamba became a TED Fellow, traveling to Tanzania to participate in a TED Conference with scientists and inventors from across the globe. Conference participants were mesmerized by his story. His invention led to his selection as a finalist for the Tech Museum Award and a place at the African Leadership Academy.  In September, 2008, William started as one of 97 inaugural students at the new pan-African prep school based outside of Johannesburg, South Africa. Its mission is to educate the next generation with rigorous academics, ethical leadership training, entrepreneurship and design.

William’s spirit of invention and his search for knowledge led him to enroll as a student at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, where he is currently majoring in Environmental Studies. William minors in Engineering and is set to graduate from Dartmouth in 2014.

Students from across Marathon County will hear William Kamkwamba’s inspiring story at two presentations on Wednesday, March 20, 2013. William will also appear at the Sentry Theater in Stevens Point on Wednesday evening, March 20 at 7:00 PM, and at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point on Thursday morning, March 21.

Don't forget to check out William's books and a few short videos about him below. If you'd like to read a digital copy of the children's version of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, head over to and create an account. It's free!

Pictures provided by

Moving Windmills