By Joe Bachman
STEVENS POINT — 76 years ago today marks the attack on Pearl Harbor, and Pacelli High School played host to one of the few remaining survivors.
Stevens Point’s own Will Lehner spoke to dozens of Pacelli students today, to remind them of the tragic events that occurred on a fateful morning on Dec. 7, 1941. The event was setup as a “thank you” from American Legion Post 6 of Stevens Point Commander Dave Strelke, who was present for a Veteran’s Day program by Pacelli students, and was so impressed that he wanted to do so in person. While Pacelli Principal Larry Theiss invited Strelke back to thank the students, but he didn’t want to come alone.
“I was just so impressed….but I didn’t just want to come by myself,” said Strelke. “Even though I’m the Commander of American Legion Post 6, we act as a team.”
Joining Strelke was 2nd Vice Commander Stan Kostka, 1st Vice Commander Dennis Kaminski, and of course, Pearl Harbor survivor Will Lehner. Lehner told the story on how it was the crew on his battleship that actually fired the first shots on Pearl Harbor on a Japanese submarine nearby moments before the initial attack.
“It was 62 years later that they finally found the sub that we had sunk,” said the 96-year-old Lehner, who later joked to students: “…I’m glad to be here today, and it looks like a good student body — I haven’t found anyone that has been sleeping, yet.”