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Genthe answers call to service
Platteville woman serving as state VFW auxiliary president
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Dorothy Genthe is pictured near the Veterans Honor Roll in City Park in Platteville.

A list of Dorothy Genthe’s Platteville-area community involvements takes several minutes to compile.

Genthe was an alderman for 13 years — elected, defeated and then elected again. She was involved with Platteville Dairy Days for more than 30 years. She has been involved with the Grant County Economic Development Corp. for more than 20 years, and is its Executive Committee secretary. She is the secretary/treasurer of the Southwest Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission’s revolving-loan fund. She was on the board of the Platteville Area Industrial Development Corp., and is involved in Building Platteville.

Genthe’s longest standing involvement, however, has been with the Major Christopher Splinter Memorial Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5274 Ladies Auxiliary in Platteville — 63 years.

Genthe said she feels “a lot of satisfaction that I contributed somewhat to it. I have met a tremendous number of great people, in the Auxiliary and the VFW.”

Genthe’s Post 5274 involvement got her into getting involved with the Department of Wisconsin Ladies Auxiliary. She is now serving as president of the Wisconsin auxiliary.

“The last month and a half I put 3,000 miles on my car,” said Genthe, not including her trip to Louisville for the national VFW convention in late July. “So I get to see a lot of events; I visit auxiliaries.”

The VFW is an organization of veterans who served during wars overseas, including, most recently, in Iraq and Afghanistan. VFW auxiliaries are made up of “wives, sisters, mothers, daughters, granddaughters, grandmothers” of VFW members, said Genthe. Only about one-third of VFW posts have auxiliaries.

Genthe’s two husbands and three of her brothers served overseas. “My mother-in-law got me in, and a couple years later I was president,” she said. “So there you go.”

One of Genthe’s jobs is to promote the VFW to potential members who meet the criteria for membership.

“Younger ones for some reason aren’t joining,” she said. “It’s too bad they aren’t because numbers count when it comes to legislators, so they can keep their benefits. It’d be nice to have an amount of people belong just to maintain those benefits.”

Another goal is to promote the VFW’s student essay contests — the Patriot Pen for fifth- through eighth-graders and Voice of Democracy for high school students.

The VFW and Auxiliary will hold their first concert to aid soldiers, veterans and their families, Jammin’ for Vets, in Viroqua Aug. 22–24. More information is available at

The VFW is also active in raising money to research and fight cancer. The Auxiliary provides cancer grants to members, and funds a two-year $100,000 postdoctoral cancer fellowship.

Genthe’s VFW involvement parallels her involvement in Platteville’s Veterans Honor Roll project, which has statues representing American wars and granite panels with the names of Platteville veterans. The Veterans Honor Roll encircles the original World War I and World War II memorial in City Park.

“It’s been a gathering place,” she said. “That’s why we chose to have the memorial over there, because of the significance of the location.”

The president of the national VFW auxiliary, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, will be in Grant County to visit Genthe Aug. 8. A dinner is planned at Holiday Gardens in Potosi.

Genthe echoes the comments of soldiers who have fought in wars by calling war “a waste of humanity. But in order to protect most of the world, you have to eradicate those cuckoos who want to take over the world and eliminate our freedoms.”