Saturday, October 31, 2009

Outpatient Status Marks Josh Wege's Continued Recovery

Kay Wege wrote in an email today (10/31/09):

Josh spent his first night on his own with Joe in his new room at the Mologne Hotel. The room has two full-sized beds, a mini-refrigerator, and a microwave. This is where Josh will be considered an outpatient, probably, on Monday when he gets discharged. Joe is the primary care-giver and is in charge of Josh's daily medications. I have tried to write out exactly what Josh needs when and how many. Most of what he has to take is to keep him at a moderate pain level that is comfortable for him. He still sleeps a lot which is good for recovery, but he needs to try to stay awake during the day and get more than five hours at night.

This morning Josh felt a little down. I think it was because it was the first time he was on his own and it may have overwhelmed him a little. He felt better after his shower.

Joe and I helped him change his leg dressings today so he could shower. He has this cool shower chair that helps him get into the shower from his wheelchair. He does very well with the wheelchair. He also has cool gloves to protect his hands while he "drives" himself along.

Josh's new address is:

LCpl Joshua Wege
Mologne House Hotel Room 465
6900 Georgia Ave., Bldg. 20
Washington, DC 20307-5001

Josh's phone number the same as before 920-979-8623.

Joe and Josh will still need your prayers for courage, strength, and perseverance in these coming days. He and all of us appreciate your prayers and support already given, and I hope you can understand how important this spiritual and mental support has been for us. The Lord has given us this challenge that He knows we are able to handle, but we need to remember to take it one step at a time, one day at a time.

Thank you for all of your continued support and prayers; they are greatly appreciated. May God bless you all.

WSMA State Music Conference 2009

Every year I try to attend the WMEA Wisconsin State Music Conference in Madison, WI the last week in October.  It's a conference of music educators, by music educators, and for music educators dedicated (with my apologies to Abraham Lincoln for slaughtering his Gettysburg Address) to the proposition that all students should be taught music so that music education will not perish from the earth.  I always come away from the conference totally pumped to be a music teacher and to keep teaching my high school students more and more about God's marvelous gift of music.  This year was no exception!

My two days looked like this:

Thursday, Oct. 29, 2009
8:00 am - 8:40 am UW River Falls Concert Choir
10:00 am - 11:15 am Dalcroze Eurhrythmics for Choir
Lunch & Exhibits
2:45 pm - 4:00 PM Vocal Jazz Improvisation
8:00 pm WSMA High School State Honors Treble & Mixed Choir Concert

Friday, Oct. 30, 2009
8:30 am - 9:10 am Carthage College Choir
10:00 am - 11:15 am GarageBand not GarbageBand
11:30 am - 12:30 pm WSMA High School State Honors Jazz Ensemble Concert
1:00 pm - 2:15 pm Web 2.0: Let's Communicate with Blogs, Wikis, Ning, Twitter and More
2:45 pm - 4:00 pm Starting a Guitar Class from Scratch

My highlights?

  • Seeing how every motion in Dalcroze has an application to line and phrase and pitch and expression!
  • Seeing so many WELS high school and grade school choir and band directors!
  • Great food, fun, and fellowship with good friends!
  • Feeling professional, like I was a part of all the discussions, and on the right track!
  • Not being afraid to scat or improv in front of about 60 music teachers!
  • Getting countless choral programming ideas from all the concerts!
  • Meeting someone just as excited about music technology as me–Carol Broos!
  • Getting validation that teaching guitar is a necessary lifelong musical activity!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wed/Thurs (10/28-29) Update on Josh Wege

Dave Wege wrote Thursday, Oct. 29, 12:41 PM:

Hey, Dale,

Arrived safe and sound at Reagan National at 1:00 p.m.  After a quick trip over to our lodgings to drop off our luggage, we zipped over to Walter Reed to see Josh.  Of course, Josh and Joe were out and about... for two hours ... when we got to the fifth floor, Ward 57.  When the boys got back to the room, the first to see Josh was his godmother, Kathy Price.  After all of our hellos, we headed off to a family lounge, where we ordered some Chinese food delivered to the ward.  A very tiring day ended early, at about 8:00 p.m.  

This morning we were able to get going to the hospital just in time to find Josh gone to PT- physical therapy.  He came back after a grueling session, in some discomfort, but unwilling to admit it and shorten our "family time."  Finally, though, he decided to take a few more meds and rest.  We all then went to Josh and Joe's new "digs" at the Mologne House, an on-base hotel for out-patients.  Believe it or not, three and a half weeks after after being blown up by an IED, Josh is so far along that he is being given out-patient status on Friday, 10/30!
God certainly promotes healing!    

We brought along 30+ pounds of string cheese, cheese curds, and bricks,  Some was given to us by our good neighbors, the Johnsons, but the rest (10+ pounds) came directly from Baker Cheese and sister #2, Jaime.  The cheese went to the Marine Liaison office and the main desk on 5-East, where Josh spent the first two weeks of his recovery.

More news as it occurs!


Lutheran Church Musician, Paul Manz (1919-2009)

Paul Manz went home to heaven today, October 28, 2009.  In 1941 he served briefly at Winnebago Lutheran Academy as band and choir director.  The following obituary was written by his biographer, Scott M. Hyslop.

In Memoriam Paul Otto Manz, internationally celebrated organist, dean of American church musicians, and composer of the internationally acclaimed motet “E’en So, Lord Jesus, Quickly Come” has died in St. Paul, Minnesota at the age of ninety years. Manz’s life and career were filled with the honors and accolades that many performing musicians strive for yet seldom attain. With a lengthy list of performances at venues like The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., with the National Symphony; Symphony Center in Chicago, with the Chicago Symphony; and Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, with the Minnesota Orchestra, Manz was able to perform the canon of major works for organ and orchestra – a feat that few organists can claim. His charisma at the console made him a favorite of conductors like Leonard Slatkin, Charles Dutoit, and Henry Charles Smith. While his career as a soloist took him around the world to splendid cathedrals and thrilling concert halls, his charisma as a musician and a servant of the church found its fullest expression in the action of leading people in congregational song. Through his work as an organist and composer, Manz reinvented the classic organ chorale of Buxtehude and Bach, giving it a new voice which spoke clearly and unapologetically with a fresh American accent. His work in this genre led him to play thousands of hymn festivals around the world – playing that excited and invigorated countless organists, church musicians and lay people who came to hear him play. Manz’s work in congregational song and liturgy can be viewed as the spark that eventually became a bonfire in which the standards for service playing and church music in this country were recast.

Even with an enviable career as a concert organist, Manz’s heart was deeply rooted in his work as a parish church musician. “Love the people you have been called to serve” was the surprising answer Manz gave when asked what one piece of advice he would offer to an individual starting out in the field of church music today. This seemingly simple response belies a depth of experience, wisdom, and faith which was formed and molded in the crucible of service to God’s people of the church over the course of a life well lived. The only child of Otto Manz and Hulda (nee Jeske) Manz, German-Russian immigrants who had come to America to make a better life for their family, Paul Otto Manz was born on May 10, 1919, in Cleveland Ohio. At age five, Manz began piano lessons. Two years later, upon the advice of his first piano teacher, Emily Dinda, Manz began studying piano and organ with Henry J. Markworth at Trinity Lutheran Church in Cleveland, Ohio. In order to study with Markworth, Manz had to agree to take two lessons at the piano for every lesson at the organ. Upon completion of the eighth grade, Manz entered Concordia High School in River Forest, Illinois, eventually matriculating into their teacher training program. While a student at Concordia, Manz also began private organ studies at the American Conservatory in Chicago with the eminent American organist Edwin Eigenschenk, a student of Bonnet and Vierne. Manz would go on to further study with the eminent Bach scholar Albert Riemenschneider at Baldwin Wallace College in Berea, Ohio, and Edwin Arthur Kraft at Trinity Cathedral in Cleveland. Formal studies at the graduate level were pursued by Manz at the University of Minnesota, where he was a student of Arthur B. Jennings, and in 1952 he received his Master’s degree in organ performance from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. In 1956 Manz received a Fulbright grant for study with Flor Peeters at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Antwerp, Belgium. An extension of the Fulbright provided Manz with the opportunity to work with Helmut Walcha at the Dreikönigskirche in Frankfurt, Germany. Manz would subsequently return to Belgium for three more summers to study with Peeters. The bond between Peeters and Manz grew so close over the ensuing years that the Belgian government invited Manz to be the official United States representative in state ceremonies honoring Flor Peeters on his 80th birthday and his 60th year as titular organist of the Cathedral of Saint Rombaut in Mechelen, Belgium. At that time, Flor Peeters referred to his former student as "my spiritual son."

In 1943, Manz married Ruth Mueller, a union which was blessed with four children: David, who died at birth; Michael, who died unexpectedly in 2006; John, and Peter. Following the deaths of Ruth’s brother, Herbert Mueller, in 1961 and his wife Helene, in 1964, the Manzes took in their four orphaned children, Mary, Anne, Sara, and John, increasing their family number to nine. Through all of life’s vicissitudes Ruth was Paul’s partner in every sense of the word, and he has been quoted as saying, “Without her I would probably be playing piano in a bar somewhere. Ruth has been the cantus firmus in our home and for our children, whom I treasure, while I practiced, taught, played and wrote.” Through the course of their 65 years of marriage, Paul and Ruth shared an exceptionally close relationship until her death in July of 2008. Her influence on his work and career cannot be underestimated. Upon graduation from Concordia in 1941, Manz filled positions as teacher, principal and musician with several parishes in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin and St. Paul, Minnesota. In 1946, Manz received a call to Mt. Olive Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, where he served as full-time director of Christian education and music, an affiliation that would last for 37 years. Over the course of his service at Mt. Olive, Manz’s job description would change several times as the congregation made every effort to nurture and share his gifts with the church-at-large. A man of many sought-after talents, Manz served on the faculties at the University of Minnesota and Macalester College in St. Paul before he accepted a call in 1957 to serve as professor and chair of the Division of Fine Arts at Concordia College in St. Paul. Rather than lose him, Mt. Olive arranged for Paul’s duties to be pared down, allowing him to share his gifts at both institutions.
Manz would serve for many happy years at Concordia. Noteworthy among his numerous accomplishments during his tenure was his establishment of a sound program of music studies with a well-trained and distinguished faculty. His ultimate achievement at Concordia was the fulfillment of the dream that the Fine Arts Division of the school would have its own facility replete with rehearsal rooms, classroom space, and an auditorium complete with a concert pipe organ – designed by Manz, as well as well-designed studios for the art department. Shortly after the realization of this dream, Manz would find himself caught in the whirlwind and cruel chaos that enveloped the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod at that time. His own convictions, coupled with deeply personal connections to the fray, left Manz with little choice but to resign his position at Concordia. He returned to full-time parish service, this time as Cantor at Mt. Olive with a specific mandate from the parish to use his many gifts in the service of the church catholic. In 1983, after 37 years of service at Mt. Olive, Paul and Ruth Manz pulled up stakes and began a new chapter of ministry in Chicago, where Manz received a double call to serve as Christ Seminex Professor of Church Music and Artist in Residence at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, and as Cantor at the Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. Luke. Manz retired from LSTC in September of 1992, but this retirement was merely a change of direction that provided an opportunity for friends and colleagues to encourage him to share his wealth of knowledge through workshops and master classes throughout the country. The dream was formalized with the creation of the Paul Manz Institute of Church Music based at the Church of St. Luke in Chicago. The Institute enabled him to continue to give lavishly and selflessly to others in the church, drawing from his own wealth of education and experience. After a lifetime of faithful service as a church musician, in 1999 Paul Manz retired from the Paul Manz Institute of Church Music and St. Luke Church at age 80. The Manzes moved back to Minneapolis to be closer to family and friends. Although it was Manz’s intent to keep performing from his base in Minneapolis, his life would soon take another direction. In May of 2000, while in North Carolina preparing to dedicate a new organ at an Episcopal Church in Hendersonville, Manz was stricken with sepsis. While Manz’s life was spared, his hearing was greatly compromised. After months of difficult recuperation it became apparent that he would not be able to play again.
The esteem and respect with which Paul Manz was regarded is seen in the numerous honorary doctorates, and honors he received over the course of his career. Northwestern University, his alma mater, presented him with the prestigious "Alumni Merit Award"; Trinity Lutheran Seminary of Columbus, Ohio bestowed the "Joseph Sittler Award for Theological Leadership”; The Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago presented him with the distinguished "Confessor of Christ Award"; The Chicago Bible Society presented him with the "Gutenberg Award"; and the Lutheran Institute of Washington, DC honored him with the first "Wittenberg Arts Award". Paul Manz’s organ and choral works are internationally known and are used extensively in worship services, recitals, and teaching, and by church and college choirs. His motet “E’en So, Lord Jesus, Quickly Come”, having sold over one million copies, is regarded as a classic and has been performed and recorded in the United States and abroad. Manz’s life and work is the subject of a doctoral dissertation, published in 2007 by MorningStar Music Publishers in St. Louis, Missouri as The Journey Was Chosen: The Life and Work of Paul Manz. Composer, recitalist, teacher, minister of the Word, clinician, author, organ consultant, faithful servant -- all facets of Paul Manz’s life shone as sure and faithful reflections of the hope, joy and peace which God has promised to us. Paul is survived by his children, daughter-in-law Patricia Manz (Michael, deceased) of Spokane, John Manz (Ellen Anderson Manz) of Saint Paul, Mary Mueller Bode (Joel, deceased) of Saint Paul, Peter Manz (Stephanie Cram) of Portland, Anne Mueller Klinge (David) of Saint Louis, Sarah Mueller Forsberg (Dale) of Minneapolis, and John Mueller of Spokane. Twelve grandchildren: Erik Manz (Kimberly), David Manz (Caitlin) Rachael M. Manz, Rachel C. Manz, Rebekah Manz, Sarah Bode Selden (Dave), Katherine Edmonds, Erin Klinge Eftink (David), Jessica Klinge Hemmann (Scott), Laura Klinge, Peter Forsberg, Anna Forsberg, and five great grandchildren; many treasured friends, colleagues, former students, and legions of people in the pews. Through the example of his life, through the legacy of his family, and ultimately through the legacy of music that he graced us with to stir our souls, to excite our imaginations, and to enable our prayer and proclamation, we hear Paul Manz say, Thank you for the grace of singing with me across the years in good times and in bad, when our words have stuck in our throats and when our eyes have overflowed with joy. It has ever been a Song of Grace: ‘Love to the loveless shown that we might lovely be.’ I have just been the organist. Thank you for letting me play.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Culvers Benefit for Josh Wege Today!

Hungry for some good comfort food and great custard treats? Visit Culvers in Fond du Lac, WI by Festival Foods in the east side of town (969 E. Johnson St.) any time today and you'll also be helping raise money for Josh Wege and his recovery from a double foot amputation while serving our country as a US Marine in Afghanistan.

Josh Wege is Free!

Kay Wege writes (10-24-09)

Jess is at Bethesda right now and she called this morning (Sat. 10/2) to tell us that the medical team removed all of the drains from both of Josh's legs and the catheter this morning. Yesterday the epidural was removed from his back and this afternoon the IV came out leaving the port only. Josh is able to get into the wheelchair on his own and now feels really FREE. He hopes to go out (of the hospital) to dinner with Sister Jess, Cousin Erik Peterson, Joe, and Hannah Sugars tonight (Sat). To God be the Glory!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

WLA Fall Concert Choral – "Rhythm", 7 PM this Sunday at WLA

On Sunday, October 25, 2009, the choirs of Winnebago Lutheran Academy, under the direction of Mr. Dale Witte, will present their first concert of the school year, "Rhythm" in the WLA Gymnasium (475 E. Merrill Ave., Fond du Lac, WI) at 7:00 PM.  The concert is free and open to the public.

Freshman Choir:
William Tell Overture, Do You Feel the Rhythm?, Fascinating Rhythm

Academy Kids:
Dance Evolution (Medley)

Viking Choir:
Ahrirang, Hip-Hop Deluxe, How Can I Keep from Singing?

Traveling Choir:
Ritmo, Past Life Melodies, Africa

Thursday (10/22) Update on Josh Wege

Kay Wege wrote this update this morning (10/22/09 8:42 AM):

Joe stayed with Josh when all the rest of the family returned to WI last Sunday. Never thought I'd say this, but I see God's hand here even in the fact Joe still didn't have a job.  Now he was free to stay with Josh when no one else could.

Tuesday (10/20), the surgeons were able to close Josh's left leg.  Now this week he will be doing a lot of physical therapy to regain his upper body strength for the rehab phase that is probably going to begin already next week.

Mitch Koepke, buddy since kindergarten, came out to visit on Wednesday.  Cousin Erik Peterson and sister, Jess Grede will arrive on Friday for the weekend.  I hope Josh is able to get some sleep.  Sounds like party-time!!!

Marine visitors are still arriving or calling to check up on him.  He must be one special guy, not only to us, but to his bigger Marine family.  No wonder he worries about the guys still on the "front lines."

We truly appreciate all the prayers, gifts, and donations that have been pouring in.  It really is overwhelming to see such support.  I pray that our community will continue to support all of our military for years down the road. We feel doubly blessed to have such support both spiritually and physically.  Thank you so much.

Dave and I will visit Josh over teachers' conference for another week next week.  I will let you know about his rehab.  I have recently learned about theraputic horse back riding for Wounded Warriors.  Jordyn will be thrilled about that.  Indy might like it, too.  (Indy is Jordyn's horse.  Again, I see that hand of God laying down so many pieces to bring us to today.)  God bless, America and God bless you all.

Love, Kay

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tuesday Update on Josh Wege (Oct. 20, 2009)

Jessi Wege took the following video of her brother, Josh, on Sunday, Oct. 18, 2009 before the Wege family headed back to Wisconsin from visiting him at Bethesda Naval Hospital.

WBAY Channel 2 (Green Bay, WI) ran a fourth (?) story on Josh on the 10 PM news last night and used Jessi's footage and other pictures of Josh. "Marine Sends Message to Hometown"

The Fond du Lac Reporter featured Josh on the front page Monday, Oct. 19, 2009 in the article "Wounded Marine taking it one day at a time"


CULVERS by FESTIVAL FOODS in Fond du Lac (969 E. Johnson St.), will have a benefit for Josh Wege all day on Sunday, Oct. 25th from 10 AM to 10 PM.  A portion of the entire day's sales will be contributed to the fund set up for Josh. A Marine mannequin will be the collection point for cash or check donations for those wishing to give directly to the fund.  Marine recuiters from the local office (same ones that Josh worked with) will be at the doors during the lunch and supper meal periods in dress uniform.

A benefit for Josh Wege will be held Oct. 31 at BRANSON'S BBQ, 525 N. Peters Ave. The event will be held from 4 p.m. to close. Food will be served until 9:30 p.m. Branson’s is donated 25 percent of its total food and drink sales. Persons wearing a Halloween costume will get $5 worth of raffle tickets. Reservations are encouraged but not required by calling (920) 907-0930. Carry-out food also is available. More information about the Josh Wege Benefit at Branson’s is available by contacting Amy Goebel at (920) 960-6834.  Click for a downloadable event flyer to advertise this event: Full Page Color | Half Page B&W | Half Page Color

A fund has been established to help the Wege family with expenses they will face, including travel, as Josh recovers from his wounds. The Josh Wege Fund has been established by friends at Trinity Lutheran Church in Dundee. Checks may be made to Trinity Lutheran (with Wege on the memo line) and sent to Trinity Lutheran, W2011 County Trunk F, Campbellsport, Wis. 53010.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Monday Update on Josh Wege (Oct. 19, 2009)

Kay and Dave are back in Wisconsin. Dave sent this email out this morning (7:10 am)

Grace and peace to you from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

After Josh was injured in Afghanistan by the IED, there was a brief time when I felt that peace would never rule in my heart again. Josh’s injuries were not only serious, they were also life-threatening. As we spoke with another Marine who had been in the LAV (light-armored vehicle) it became clear to us how close Josh had come to leaving us.

The roadside bomb Josh’s vehicle hit was the largest yet used against our forces in Afghanistan. The 14.5 ton vehicle was thrown about 40 feet into the air and 120 feet forward by the blast of 200 pounds of explosives. Because of his injuries, Josh had about 60-90 seconds to live if he didn’t get help. Cory Mathis, a six-year veteran of the Marine Corps, said that he looked down and saw Josh quietly sitting, making no fuss. Cory’s own injuries, multiple fractures in his legs and a ruptured spleen, had him yelling in pain. Josh’s calm might have saved his life, along with quick work by the Marines around him. Cory told the Corpsman to throw his shattered legs out of the way so they could work on Josh. Another Marine and the Corpsman ripped the bent armored door open to get to Josh, crawling on Mathis to reach him.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Late Sat. morning Josh Wege Update #2

I just recieved an email from Kay Wege: (10/17 9:59 am)

Good morning friends,

It has been raining here every day now for three days.  I really need to learn the words to this song, "I'm walking in the rain, just walking in the rain."  Then I get wet and cold. . .  or something like that.

Today, we have tickets to the White House Gardens tour.  I would love to go on a warm sunny day, not while walking in the rain.  It still is not as cold here as I bet it is in Wisconsin though.  I am fine with two sweatshirts outside.  Dave only needs one.  Does that help gauge temp?

Josh, the tough guy, didn't hit his pain med button as often as he should have last night and the pain got a bit ahead of him.  He now knows that he needs to keep up with it, even when it seems tolerable.  He really had great news yesterday.  He had his fourth "wash out" yesterday.  He was unable to go into surgery until mid afternoon due to the fact that the previous patient had some slight complications.  Dave and I went into the prep area called PACU to wait with him until they were ready for him.

His right leg has progressed well and they closed the wound.  The left had to stay open for a while yet--probably next week early.  Last Wednesday, the doctors had found some dead tissue that needed to be removed, but that area looked great on Friday.  If it stays so "pretty," they will close that wound on Monday.

Nathn Gudex showed up on Friday just minutes before Josh returned from his surgery.  He hid in the bathroom, but Josh could smell that there was someone new in his room.  He called it "a different cologne," but Nathan popped his head out of the bathroom and said, "Is it called cigarrettes?"  Witz's hands flew to his head and he exclaimed, "Holy (soemthing)!"  It was awesome!!!!!  Nathan and a friend are here for the weekend, staying in the room right across from Joe.  Great deal, huh?

All Weges and Gredes fly back early tomorrow, except for Joe.  Joe's present job void turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  He will stay until Josh kicks him out.

Jess was able to tour Walter Reed Medical Center yesterday.  She was very impressed and comforted with what she saw.  Her goal is to return next weekend again to be with Josh and Joe.

God is so good.  The family had a chance to meet some more heros yesterday while Josh was gone to surgery.  The New York Fire Department sent two members to the Medical Center to visit wounded warriors. They spent about an hour with us shooting the breeze and telling us about the progress made on the World Trade Centers.  We told them about our Carnegie trips.  Their fire stations is the one directly across from the Trade towers.  It now fronts a bronze plate with pictures and names of those heros on 9/11.  Both people to whom we spoke had been involved in the rescue efforts of 9/11.  The gentleman was from Brooklyn. Loved to hear him speak!  Totally Brooklyn.  It was great.  They left Josh with a T-shirt and two patches of fallen heros of that day.  Inspiring story.  They love America, too.

Josh has been able to speak with his fire team (group of four guys who bunk together) on the phone and some of his officers who have called.  Guys from Lejeune have called and have collected some cash to come visit and buy Josh his PS3!  Unfortunately, Dave and Joe already bought Josh one.  Guess they guys will need to buy more controllers and games.

I see that Josh has touched many lives very personally.  I am so proud of this boy and thank God for giving him to me, to us.  Words cannot express what my heart feels.  All I can say is God is sooo good.

Wear red on Fridays, support our troops, wear your faith on your sleeve, your forehead, your life, and love all those around you.  Know that God truly has a plan for you (Jer. 29:11).  Let go and let God.  Love to all, Kay Wege

Late morning Sat. Josh Wege update #1

Dave Wege wrote to me this morning:

Josh had a really good night. He came back from surgery pumped up like a rock star. Then he went all alert and said, "Someone else is here, someone new." To me, it was evidence of the warrior Marine whose sixth sense picked up a change in the environment. It turns out Josh was right. A few seconds later Nathan Gudex popped out of his hiding place. Andrews Meyers, also a Marine, made his hellos. Uncle Mark came from behind the group. Josh ate, really ate, for the first time. He even chawed down part of a nice steak.

Kay and I return to WI tomorrow. Got a lot to do with end of quarter and grades due. It will be a nice routine to come back to, but then we head out again on the 28th. Josh has made so much progress, I can't wait to see him after ten days away. Drama is staying behind as family "eyes on, hands on" to help however he can.

Cory Mathes is doing well also. I got to see his legs today. Huge zippers from ankle to knee. Awesome young man.

Thurs. (Part 2), Fri., and early Sat. Update on Josh Wege

I meant to finish transcribing a phone call I had with Dave Wege on Thursday night after going to see the WLAVarsity Soccer team beat CWC 2-1, but I had bulletins to finish designing and emailing to the churches Traveling Choir is singing at this weekend.  I got that done yesterday morning, but needed to prep for classes for the day.  After school I talked to the WLA Ladies Auxiliary about Josh's injuries and progress in the past week.  Then I drove to the Wege's house to meet up with Tony Weinberger from Computer Troubleshooters.  More about that in another article when the Weges come home.

Dave's brother, Mark, sent me pictures of Josh this morning.  Earlier this week two Marines dropped off Josh's bag and inside was his camera and pictures from Afghanistan.  Until I get more time to write, enjoy the pictures!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thursday Update on Josh Wege, Part 1

Dave Wege called me this afternoon with an update. I've got the first part of the conversation below. I'll post the 2nd part a little later tonight.

[Today was a better day, but last night was rough.] Two liters is a lot of blood, let me tell you. And apparently it was all over the operating room floor, so they must have hit an artery or something. But he stabilized. Today he was in a chair and was in awfully good spirits for what he's been through, although he didn't get to play much PS3 because they kept interrupting him. You had the nutritionists coming in, you had the cartoonists coming in, you know, the guy who does Mother Goose and Grimm did a caricature. So did Garry Trudeau from Doonesbury. [Bill] Keene from Family Circus/Circle. The one guy absolutely nailed Josh, a guy named Richard Kirkland, and there's all kind of these guys here once a month. The one guy drew a picture of Josh with a t-shirt on and the t-shirt said "Boom!" The guy asked, "can you remember what happened to you?" and Josh said, "Yeah, 'boom! and I looked down and said 'Oh crap! My feet are gone!'" They are completely amazed that he is taking it so calmly.

He's angry too. Angry that he can't get up and get moving. He was in a chair today for a while, but a half hour is all they allowed him. At night, Jessi may come back with Jeff and they may get him [out] for a little tour "around town", around the upper floor here. Interesting that he's been through a real rough time here and his PT (physical therapist?) said he's the easiest transfer she's had. Most of these guys are limp as a dish rag. I've also heard that they don't hear a lot of buzzards buzzing from Marines' rooms. They are as quiet as can be. They take it. They use their medication, sparingly. Josh got yelled at for not using his pain medication enough. His biggest complaint was that he was all itchy from shaving. So I went down to the Marine liaison and said, "Hey, they said they were going to shave him for the last eight hours, but they haven't. The gunny sergeant looks around and said, "I've got two electric razors locked up in my drawer. I've saved them for guys who really deserve them."

One of the gunnies down there is a guy named "Strong" from New London. He's from Emmanuel, New London. He looks to be about 25 or so, so he probably knows som of the guys were know, so I asked is he knew Dan Aswege, but he didn't know him, and I don't know how long Dan's been there. Krause was his principal and Krause is still there. It's a small world!

(watch for Part 2 later tonight)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wednesday update on Josh Wege

Kay Wege called me this afternoon with this update as she and her daughters walked around Washington DC during a much needed morning out...

[Kay and the girls (Jessie, Jaime, & Jordyn) got out for a while this morning to Washington DC, toured the capitol building, and stopped in Rep. Petri's office. The Marines gave them a ride (half hour by car) from the hospital to the Capitol. They went to the] "Native American Smithsonian Museum for lunch, and it was very expensive, $65 for four of us. (They were Walking back to the Rayburn Building, the Capitol right in front of them as she talked to me on the phone).

Josh was in surgery this morning. There's a possibility they would be closing his wounds today. That would be pretty exciting! I don't know that for a fact, though. The surgery today is the flushing of the wounds. Every couple of days they open the packed wounds on his legs and flush them out. They want him to bleed [through the open wounds], I'm sure, to rejuvenate new blood cells and to clean out the wounds. They look for infection. They heal better that way. Technically there's no air in [the wounds] and they can get at it and keep checking it and checking it. If there is any other dead tissue in there they can eliminate it so it doesn't cause any infection. Either today is his last surgery, or there might be one more. They do call it surgery because they have to put him out to do this. He may have one more on Friday and then they'll close him up next week. It's been every other day since we've been here. I assume that's how it will continue. Once they've closed his wounds then he can start healing.

They got a back brace for him so he should be out of bed today, so he should be much happier. He's got little stretchy bands [in the bed] that he can pull on [to work out his arms]. He has a slight fracture in the middle lumbar region of his back. It's nothing the doctors are overly concerned with because of his strength and his youth. They think it will heal fine, but he's got a back brace to keep it stable while they are doing physical therapy with him, which he'll be starting possibly today. Usually on a surgery day they don't want to do too much with him just because it takes so much out of him. But if he's up to it, they'll get him up in a wheelchair and get him out of the room.

They are taking us to dinner tonight down to a fancy dining room and giving us a fancy spaghetti supper, so we should all be together, so that should be fun. They are taking us out to a fancy restaurant on Friday night so that's kind of exciting too!

Maybe we'll see Dave's brother tonight for supper (Kay's brother-in-law who lives in Arlington). Dave's talked to him a couple times [since we've been out here]. He works in the basement of the Pentagon for a company that works for the government. We hope to see him soon.

Dave has been able to get to Facebook routinely, but not his Gmail, which has been frustrating for him. Dave wants to get ahold of Channel 2 and the paper [The Fond du Lac Reporter]. Jessie wants to make sure Josh's story gets out."

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tuesday Update on Josh Wege

Kay Wege wrote in an email today:

Weges arrived in Bethesda, MD, on Sunday evening and were able to see Josh for a few hours.  He was tired from the meds and ordeal, but looked like Josh.  Each day he gets fiestier (however one spells it).  That is a good sign.

Monday was a holiday and we didn't see many of his doctors, but the staff here is phenomenal.  We are treated like royalty.  I feel a little foolish at times.  I am used to being the servant.

Josh was traveling on a random LAV (light armored vehicle) on a routine patrol.  He was on a LAV with guys not in his unit.  It seems that someone else was supposed to be there, but Josh's words are, "If it wasn't me, then it would have been someone else.  Maybe he wouldn't have been as strong as I."  He knows that God is guiding and directing his life still.

He recalls hearing the "kah-pow" explosion and flying into the air inside the vehicle.  It turns out the bomb was twice the normal power.  Sgt. Corey Mathies, also here and wounded explained to us, "The taliban is testing our equipment.  They buried this bomb--two hundred pounder--about four feet down, below the range of the scan, piled loose dirt over it, wet the top dirt so the sun baked it dry making it look hard as all the rest.  When the first two LAV's drove over it, they helped pack down the dirt, closer and closer to the activation pressure point. Our vehicle brought the packed dirt to the right level to explode it.  We flew 40 feet into the air and 45 meters (120 feet) forward."

Mathies says that when the vehicle landed, it was  crushed.  He said he was screaming in pain and knew that both of his legs were broken.  The front two passengers, one Sgt. Killingsworth and the Corpsman (a medic), were able to get out of the vehicle, unhurt, and the other Marine riding in the back with Josh was Justin Howard who was probably blown out of vehicle when it landed.  He lost his hearing and was pretty bruised all over, but able to walk.  Sgt. Mathies said Josh was under his command in this vehicle so he looked back to find Josh.  He said that Josh lay there looking around not making a sound.  Mathies pulled himself up on the edge of the vehicle to allow Killingsworth and the Corpsman to get to Josh who, as Mathies said, "was bleeding out."  Mathies, not caring for his own pain, told these men to throw his legx out of the way since he could not move them.  They kneeled on them while applying tourniquets to both of Josh's legs.  This brave act, Dave and I believed, saved our son's life.  When we thanked him personally here, he replied, "No thanks needed.  I was doing my job.  My job is to take care of my men."

Mathies will be here at least three months for rehab to get his busted up legs back to working order.  He will be in a wheel chair for quite a while to heal and then a long road of physical therapy to remember how to make them walk again.  The doctors tell him, he won't run again.  His reply, "Oh yeah?  Just watch me!"  We have met his family.  They are wonderful people.

Josh has a lot of bone below the knee--at least eight inches which excellent for prostectics.  He also has the "perfect" body for this type of rehab, strong and athletic, said the orthopedic doctor. Next week the plan is to get the wounds closed and healed so that they may begin the fitting prcedures for his new feet and ankles.  He starts some physical therapy today if the back brace comes in to support his back.  He has a small fracture in a vertebrae that is minor enough that the doctors are not worried about it to DO anything for it other than support it and let it heal on its own.

In two weeks, Josh will be up working with his new feet.  Over the weekend, another amputee has just returned from white water rafting with one of the Marines here.  He received his new leg last week, after being here only three weeks.  That is the same time frame Josh has.  Witz will be going out of here, for sure, on weekends to movies or sports events so he is not bored and his morale gets pumnped up.   Josh will be walking before Sgt. Mathies.

This is a wonderful facility and I feel very proud to be a part of it.  Once a Marine, the whole family is included and also treated well.  It is a great, great family, too.  To God be the glory.  AMEN!

Thank you so much for the prayers, gifts, thank-yous, and wishes.  Please take time to see the wonderful rainbow after the storm has passed.

Please continue to pray for all of our military men and women still fighting to protect our right to live here in this country.  Take time to thank a veteran for the sacrifices that he was willing to make for you:  the right to pray, worship, speak freely, shop, criticize whatever, vote,and even choose what you will eat, wear, and think each day.  This selfless duty of all our military knows the gain brought by their sacrifices is worth every pain.  They know that there is Someone above, greater than they, guiding them onward and helping them be strong. The Marines say Semper Fi, short for semper fidelis--always faithful.  Remember the greatest sacrifice of all to give us eternal life from one who is ALWAYS faithful to us.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Phone call from Kay Wege (Monday morning)

The following is a transcription of a phone conversation I had with Kay Wege, Monday, Oct. 12, 10:30 AM:

When we finally got there he looked really tired but looked like Josh. His hair was a little longer and it was sticking up it’s a little long again. It was sticking straight up and hard as a rock. He (Josh) was joking and said “it’s about time you got here.” We did a lot of laughing and heard more of the bomb story.

Josh isn’t sure if [the bomb went off] directly under it or really close. He first said he was sure it blew up right under him, [but] we also found out he was sitting right over the gas tank. It was a 200 lb bomb, double what the normal bombs are. They were in a LAV (light armored vehicle) so it wasn’t a humvee, he probably wouldn’t be here if it were a humvee, since a LAV has better protection. [A] humvee [is] more like car/van. Also, the LAV blew 40 ft. in the air 50 ft. forward. (later Kay told me that she heard wrong: it flew 45m, 120 ft!) Pretty much smooshed. Nobody said it flipped or landed on its head. Josh said he remembers ka-boom and thinking, “oh crap, that was a bomb.” He remembers being in the air and going “oh crap, I have no feet.” He was probably knocked out when it landed.

The other two gentlemen that were behind him are here [at Bethesda Naval Hospital] too. One of them has his legs busted up. He was in a position where he could crawl out of the vehicle by grabbing whatever he could to get out of the way. He told the sergeant to throw his legs out the way cause she couldn’t move him herself. She said he knows they were leaning on his legs but he said get Wege out of there. The Sergeant got tourniquets on his legs right away and then pulled him out and got Josh out and got him help right away. We haven’t talked to those two yet, but we hope to talk to them soon.

As far as his other wounds, we were told he has a cracked vertebrate in his back; he doesn’t seem to know that. Nobody was that concerned about it, so we didn’t think we needed to tell him that. His head is fine. He’s thinking and talking. He’s just really tired. He was in a lot of pain. I think he wouldn’t tell us and he wouldn’t show it. He said yeah I got pain and he wouldn’t say it’s horrible. It’s tolerable. He was only using his morphine 8 times in 6 hours and the nurse told him he could use it six times in one hour. He seemed relieved to know that, because he can control it with a little clicker.

This morning [Monday, Oct. 12] Dave and I got there and he was going in for that flush again. He was very livid. He really looked like Josh this morning. He was awake at 3 because he couldn’t sleep. He was supposed to go in for the flush at 7 am but Dave and I got there at 9 and he was still there. As soon as we got there they came to get him, so we had to leave, but at least we said good morning. He was mad because he had to wait so long. Mad is a good mad though. Hopefully he’ll feel good in a couple of hours and we’ll go back and check it out.

We’re going to save the video for a little bit later until he gets stronger he’s still dealing with all of this. We told him Joe was going to stay another week longer and he kind of softly said “I don’t want to be here that long”. He didn’t say it real loud. We’re going to have a family meeting with the doctors tomorrow [Tuesday, Oct. 13] and so on and we basically get to decide where his care will be as a family, Josh included. We can move him closer to home but really Walter Reed [Army Medical Center] is number one, top-notch rehab facility and we want him there until he’s ready for outpatient. Then [sister] Jessie will be sure he gets closer to home and can work with him at Back in Action. She actually has worked with amputees for clinical before she got her doctorate. She’s had some help with that.

God is always in control and puts everything where it needs to be, always. It’s just so apparent in this case. I just said to Dave, “How can people not believe in God? How can you not see someone is controlling all of this?” He knew, it was like they were loading people in this car this patrol and it was by random and they needed one more in this car so “you go”, so Josh said, “Ok, that’s where they told me, that’s where I went.” So initially he wasn’t supposed to be in this car. Again it’s the hand of God guiding and directing all of this and good things are going to come out of this. He was talking about how he was a good dancer he was and how he’s got the moves. Joe stayed later then the rest of us and then called Mitchell and Nathan and talked to them.

The nurse said “He’s going to work with this. You guys are here and that’s going to make a big difference. and we’ll see improvement every day. Jessie already being a good little medical person and was asking questions that we didn’t know what to ask and scoping out his legs and observing what she could without looking under the sheet.

Dave and I are well. I slept well last night. We went for a walk this morning and there are little shops (similar to Bagelmeister, Subway, and Dunkin Donuts) connected to the hospital. Everything is within walking distance. Phenomenal accommodations here, a little kitchen if we need to buy groceries and eat in we can. Even a phenomenal cafeteria.

We got a discount for when we come back, should be about $80 for the room. We can fit about four people in a room so it’s alright. This time is free. We have the trust fund for us to use when we want to come back.

We’ll be home on Sunday the 18th. Joe is going to stay. He thinks he’s staying for 3 more weeks. The room is booked until the 10th of November. It’s the Naval Lodge. We couldn’t get into the Fischer house, which is ok. The Lodge is like a hotel. There’s not a ton of people, which is good. We’re meeting people all the time. We met people from St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin. All the lodging is provided for this time. We’re not sure about the next time. We may need to dig into the trust fund for when we come back.

They can bring him anything from home anything he wants. Don’t know the address yet, will get it to us as soon as they know.

We don’t need anything yet, just prayers that Josh keeps up with a good attitude.
Joe is jumping on beds, which is a good thing. Joe is Joe again! Jordan is doing fine, crabbing from hairspray from homecoming, but good. Jaime is reading Twilight and doesn’t say anything. Jessie and Jeff are doing well. They got a lot of support from the resort they were at. There was a Marine there who asked how Josh was doing. They made a new camaraderie of friends!

Josh is going to be ok. Family will be here for a long time, nephew will be here next weekend. Joe will be here for a while.

We love you all.

Kay Wege

Address where the Weges are staying:

Navy Lodge
National Naval Medical Center
8901 Wisconsin Ave. 
Bldg. 52
Bethesda, MD 20889-5000

Address to send Josh Wege cards, etc.

Bethesda Naval Hospital
℅ Lance Corporal Josh Wege
8901 Wisconsin Ave. 
Bldg. 10 Room E515
Wait till next week to send stuff.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

WBAY Interview: "Family Headed to See Wounded Marine"

Read the Oct. 12 story by reporter Jason Zimmerman on the WBAY website or watch the video clip below.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Josh Wege Won Charlie Sykes Award

Josh Wege was featured in the last 5 minutes of the Charlie Sykes Show Fri 10/9/09. He won "The Right Stuff Award" Podcast available on Charlie Sykes Podcast page or subscribe to his podcasts on iTunes.

2nd Update on Josh Wege

(from David Wege) UPDATE 2: Josh will be coming to the States TODAY. Heavily sedated, he woke when Kay talked to him on the phone and smiled. He will have an Ipod full of music to listen to on the plane home thanks to a most wonderful new friend, S.Sgt Rebecca Caves. =) =) =) =) =)22 hours ago

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Update on Josh Wege (10/8/09)

Update on Lance Corporal Joshua Wege (pictured with his sister, Jaime), 2008 graduate of WLA, from his mother, Kay Wege, instructor at WLA:

Josh arrived at Landstuhl Medical Center in Germany on Wednesday, October 7.  On the morning of October 8, he was taken into surgery to reevaluate the healing of the amputations, and then later he underwent various routine tests to check his stamina and overall health.  His wounds are healing well and his stamina is good enough that Landstuhl would like to send Josh back to Bethesda, Maryland, on Friday, October 9.  (Originally, I was told that this type of surgery generally requires seven to ten days of recuperation before a soldier is allowed to return to the States.) Praise the Lord; to God be the glory.

The Wege family is so grateful for all the prayers and the spiritual support of friends, acquaintances, and other brothers and sisters in Christ from across the continents.  “The peace that passes all understanding.” I now literally feel.  What an awesome support group!!! Knowing that so many people care and that God will do what is best for us and His Kingdom is such a comfort and provides so much strength.  Josh has the best care possible, humanly and spiritually.

May God truly bless you all as richly as you have blessed our lives.

Kay Wege

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

USMC Lance Corp. Josh Wege Injured in Afghanistan

One of my former students, Josh Wege, was severely injured in Afghanistan this past weekend.  The Fond du Lac Reporter wrote an article about Josh on Oct. 6, 2009.  WBAY ABC 2 from Green Bay interviewed Dave Wege, Josh's dad and teacher at Waucousta Lutheran Grade School.  They aired two news reports about Josh yesterday.

A fund has been established to help the Wege family with expenses they will face as Josh recovers from his injuries.

Expenses are sure to include travel. Josh’s parents and siblings (Jessica, Jaime, Joe and Jordyn) are planning to visit him when he arrives in the United States.

The Josh Wege Fund has been established by friends at Trinity Lutheran Church in Dundee.

Checks may be made to Trinity Lutheran (with Wege in the memo line) and sent to Trinity Lutheran, W2011 County Trunk F, Campbellsport, Wis. 53010. Please keep Josh and the entire Wege family in your prayers.

Overtone Singing Workshop

I just finished uploading a series of eight video segments from a workshop I attended back in 2002 in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN as a part of the 6th World Choral Symposium. The workshop was led by internationally known performer, presenter, educator, and musician Tran Quang Hai. Each of the video segments captures the succession of his teaching to an enthusiastic, albeit very American "eared", audience how to perform a very non-American singing technique: singing two notes at once! The first segment is shown here. The other segments are listed below.

Segment 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 |

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sing with Eric Whitacre (for free!)

Here's a chance to be a part of choral history, to be in a YouTube virtual choir, to sing under a world-renown composer/arranger, and get a huge head start on a piece we will be singing for Christmas 2009. Read Eric Whitacre's post, Virtual Choir: The Lux Aurumque Project and listen to and watch his YouTube conductor's track.  Then start learning your part and, if you are brave, upload yourself singing your part for a chance to be a part of Eric's incredible choral project.

Not sure what the end result will be like?  He did this earlier this year on this piece Sleep.

Human Beatboxing

Listen to lessons on the three basic sounds: Kick drum, snare, and hit hat at  Click on the picture for Tyte's complete beatboxing workshop.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

WLA Sundays – A "New" Idea

October 4, 2009 marks the beginning of a new idea in WLA Traveling Choir (TC) Sunday performances – the "WLA Sunday". For the past 16 years I have prepared the Traveling Choir to sing six songs in each association congregation service: three before the sermon in place of the Hymn of the Day and three at the end of the service in place of the final hymn. Frankly, there was nothing wrong with that format. I believe everyone enjoyed it. But after meeting this summer with 14 other WELS high school choir directors, I realized that I was not structuring my service like most of the other directors were structuring theirs.

Most of the other WELS Area Lutheran High Schools (ALHS) run a recruitment Sunday when their choir goes out to sing in their association congregations. The congregations see it as a Christian Education Sunday with a specific emphasis on their ALHS. So, after so many years of doing the same thing, I decided it was time to change. Sometimes change is hard but sometimes change is necessary.

So, I bit the bullet and wrote an order of service centered around WLA's 2009-2010 theme passage, Rev. 22:17 "Whoever is thirsty, let him take the free gift of the water of life." The choir's function in the service is not just to present anthems related to the readings, but also to introduce new songs of the liturgy and lead the singing of hymns with descants and varied stanza harmonizations.

Will this be successful? Only time will tell. My biggest challenge was to select all the components of the service and make them fit to one passage, Rev. 22:17. Other challenges are for the choir to not sing as many anthems and to spread out their singing throughout the service where it was liturgically appropriate. Will congregation members be edified by God's Word and song? Will area pastors and organists appreciate having a Sunday off? Will TC get bored by doing the same service 18 times?  Probably!  I'm sure there will be changes to the service almost every time we go out.

If you click on the poster above you will download a PDF file of the bulletin for Oct. 4, 2009 at St. John's, Markesan.  If the pages seem out of order, they are set up in booklet format to be printed back-to-back to make a three page bulletin.  Since this is the first Sunday we are doing this, association pastors are encouraged to look at the service, but don't print it for your congregations until I contact you with the specific bulletin for your congregation's weekend.