Dreier recognized for preservation efforts
Portage County Historical Society presents Winn Rothman History Award
By Kris Leonhardt
The Portage County woman who helped bring Portage County Pearl Harbor survivor Will Lehner’s life story to print is being recognized by the Portage County Historical Society (PCHS.)
PCHS awards two honors – the Pine and Iron Award and the Winn Rothman History Award.
The Pine and Iron Award recognizes individuals who have done something to preserve history. The Winn Rothman History Award is awarded for “significant contributions to the preservation of the county’s history.” This year, the Rothman award was given to Patty Dreier.
“Both awards recognize significant contributions to preserving the unique history of this county,” said Tim Siebert, PCHS president. “The awards recognize a variety of ways to achieve this. Books (as in Ms. Dreier’s case) research, or an involvement in the preservation of the county’s history in some other, significant fashion.
“The Pine and Iron Award was set up by the historical society some 40 years ago. The name comes from the primary industries that helped create Stevens Point. Pine for the logging, saw mills, and, later, paper mills. The iron for the railroads that came in the 1870s allowing the city to expand. Both are given annually.
“The Winn Rothman Award was set up by Mr. Rothman some 50 years ago and has a financial award associated with it from the endowment set up by Mr. Rothman.
“The Rothman family have been prominent citizens of the community since the late 19th Century. Philip Rothman was a mayor in the early 20th century and the family became business people with a well known store called the C.O.D. Store.”
Dreier assisted in bringing, Will Lehner’s book, “Legacy of a Pearl Harbor Survivor: Will Lehner Remembers” to reality.
Lehner served aboard the USS Ward, which fired the first U.S. shots during World War II.
He died in January, at the age of 98, shortly after the book was released. Lehner served on the Whiting Village Board and worked at the Worth Company as a linotype printer operator for three decades. Lehner was a longtime member of the Plover VFW, American Legion Post No. 6.
Dreier is the former Portage County executive and has written “Empowered: One Planet at a Time.”
“Patty was selected because of her work with Will Lehner and his role in the Pearl Harbor attack,” Siebert explained. “We felt that without Patty’s work on his unique story it would have soon been forgotten. Again, this story is a piece of this county’s history that makes us more aware of who we are and place we have in the state and wider world.”